In 2016/17 we were approached by the Royal Veterinary College for support with their study on Border Collie brain health and behaviour, they were in the early stages of applying for funds from BBSRC, the funding body. We are pleased to learn that they have since been awarded the funding, and we are now able to offer further support by sharing promotional materials for their study.

RVC understand that Border Collies are a popular breed across the world, famed for their working abilities, with many others finding success as companion dogs or in competitive dog sports.

Studies indicate that Border Collies are predisposed to epilepsy, a brain disorder characterised by recurrent seizures, while others show abnormal behaviours including fly-catching, tail and shadow chasing.

RVC are interested in Border Collies brain development and how seizures and behavioural abnormalities arise in this breed. They are conducting a series of studies focusing on brain health and behaviour in the Border Collie.

Epilepsy is a complex brain disease that is often difficult to treat in Border Collies. The RVC want to learn how Border Collie brains work to improve their knowledge and ability to treat epilepsy and behavioural problems.


There are 2 parts to the study:

Part 1 is an online survey for all Border Collie owners, and is a relatively extensive survey of health and behaviour and open to all Border Collie owners internationally. Dogs can be of any age, sex, or neuter status, both with and without epilepsy diagnosis. Completing the survey is estimated to take 25-30 minutes and will explore your dog's day-to-day behaviour and health. The RVC invite interested owners to complete the screening survey by clicking the following link  www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bordercolliebrains


Part 2 is a practical clinical study that involves travel to RVC in Hertfordshire. The RVC want to learn more about how Border Collie brains work to improve their knowledge and ability to treat epilepsy and behavioural problems. They will be recruiting dogs for this part of the study for at least 12 months, and study costs are covered. A 1-2 day visit to the Royal Veterinary College Queen Mother Hospital for animals in Hertfordshire, this will invlove an MRI, EEG, behaviour tests, samples and activity monitoring, these costs will be covered as part of the study. 

For this part of the study the RVC require both epileptic and non-epileptic dogs. Eplipetic Border Collies must be between 1 and 8 years of age, experienced 2+ seizures at least 24 hours apart, normal blood and urine tests, and the first seizure to have taken place aged 6 months to 6 years. Non-Epileptic dogs must be between 1 and 8 years of age; with no diagnosed neurological or orthopaedic diseases.


The RVC has a webpage dedicated to the study, which provides further information about the study and epilepsy, and has downloadable information sheets.

To register interest and find out more, please contact Dr Rowena Packer via email [email protected]