Chinook Puppy
University of Missouri Chinook Seizure Study

The AKC Canine Health Foundation website report (see below) provides some details on a 2008-2009 seizure study on Chinooks by Dr. Gary Johnson and the University of Missouri.  This study was in part financed by an acorn grant by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and partnered by Chinook owners' contributions. Though stalled due to lack of funding and not having enough affected Chinooks participating, continued research into Chinook seizures hopefully will continue. 
Reference:   J Vet Intern Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;24(6):1305-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0629.x.
"Characterization and mode of inheritance of a paroxysmal dyskinesia in Chinook dogs."
Packer RA, Patterson EE, Taylor JF, Coates JR, Schnabel RD, O'Brien DP.
Source Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA. 
Chinook Seizures:
Some Chinooks have an unusual form of seizure disorder described as a movement disorder rather than a true seizure.  Videos showing this type of episode in Chinooks can be found on my YouTube site:   In addition to these Chinook dyskinesia or dystonia type episodes, there are also some Chinooks who have grand mal seizures.
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The Chinook Breed is  generally healthy and robust  but there are health issues that concern owners and breeders.  Some of these are being investigated by veterinary researchers.  Ask your breeder if they participate in Chinook genetic studies!
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 Valium Protocol for seizure treatment:  Just in case.  Check with your Vet!
 Chinook breeders should support the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC).  Click on one of these organizations to search for Chinooks by kennel name.
What health issues do Chinook dogs have?
The following list of diseases, disorders, conditions and traits have been reported
 by Chinook owners and breeders as primary health and genetic concerns: 
Cancer: There are currently no specific cancer trends identified in the Chinook breed though Hemangiosarcoma has been reported and also other different types of cancers.  More information is needed through veterinary diagnoses and pathology reporting.  Biopsies and sometimes necropsies have to be done to identify the type of cancer and this is never easy when a special canine is very ill and may be dying, or has passed on to the rainbow bridge and the owner is grieving.  This link tells the story of Kali's valiant battle with cancer.  Chinooks & Cancer
  • Allergies:  Drug, Environmental, Food, Inhalant, Seasonal
  • Anasarca, also called Fetal Edema or Fetal Hydrops
  • Cancers
  • Cataracts
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Dwarfism 
  • Gastro-intestinal Disease:  chronic diarrhea, irritiable bowel disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Seizures:  Epileptic, Non-Epileptic, Chinook-type, Vaccine-induced
  • Shyness
  • Vaccine reactions
  • Lack of Pedigree Diversity
  • MDR 1 (Multidrug Resistance Mutation 1)
Caregiving Tips for a Chinook Seizure
How can you help if your Chinook is having a seizure?
Longevity:   How long does the Chinook dog live?  There have been no comprehensive longevity studies on the Chinook dog.  Looking at Chinook longevity over the last 25 or so years, it has not been unusual to find Chinooks who live to be 13, 14 and 15.  Some Chinooks even live to be 16 or 17 years old!  There is a subpopulation of Chinooks who are not living as long, and deaths at 11 and 12 (and earlier) do occur.  Some of these Chinooks have a diagnosed cause of death such as cancer where others have what appears to be some type of unidentified neuropathy that affects their ability to walk, rise from lying down, and getting around without pain and difficulty. 

Symptoms may include vocal cord paralysis, fecal incontinence, noticeable arch to the spine, and cognitive dysfunction.  Genetic testing for degenerative myelopathy (DM) has been negative on those Chinooks tested through the University of Missouri research study into DM and more recently by Optimal Selection and Embark.  The Chinook condition does not appear to be an orthopedic condition but neurological and these symptoms can even affect Chinooks rated OFA Excellent for hips.
Updated on: July 27, 2022
OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and the Chinook

What is canine hip dysplasia? 

OFA Disease Statistics by Breed :  Look for Chinooks here:

Shyness:  The Chinook temperament runs the gamut from extreme shyness to over the top boldness with shyness in the Chinook ranging from slightly reserved, to a Chinook who will hide from people.  It is not always easy to identify a shy Chinook in a litter as this trait often begins to appear later than 12 weeks of age.  Many Chinooks will outgrow signs of shyness and mature into stable, confident individuals.  .  

00847-A: Mapping and Identification of the Mutation Responsible for Epilepsy in the Chinook

Grant Status: Closed 

Grant Amount: $12,960

Dr. Gary S. Johnson, DVM PhD, University of Missouri, Columbia

January 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009

Sponsor(s): Versatility in Poodles, Inc.

Breed(s): Chinook

Research Program Area: Prevention

Project Summary
Diskinesia is a medical term to describe a movement disorder characterized by episodes in which there appears to be both involuntary movements and a decreased capacity for voluntary movements. Diskinesia is difficult to distinguish from a partial seizure. We have collected DNA and clinical information from an extended family of Chinooks, many of which exhibit repeated episodes of what appears to be diskinesia (or partial seizures). Other relatives exhibited only classic generalzed seizures and still others exhibited both types of episodes at different times. Our goal was to develop a DNA test that could be used by breeders of Chinook dogs to help them avoid matings that could produce new generations of dogs exhibiting diskinesia/seizure episodes. Before this could be accomplished, we needed to identify the chromosomal location of the causative mutation and to examine the DNA structure of the genes in this chromosomal region to identify the mutation. We attempted to determine the chromosomal location of the causative mutation with state-of-art technology known as whole-genome association analysis with so called "SNPchips" that can simultaneously analyze DNA at tens of thousands of markers at known positions scattered throughout all of the chromosomes. DNA from both cases (affected dogs) and controls (normal dogs) are analyzed and when the results from the cases and the controls are compared, markers near the causative mutation are expected to give different results than those from the controls. Our whole-genome association analysis made use of DNA from 22 cases and 19 controls analyzed with 44,147 markers. We analyzed the data with multiple statistical methods but were unable to demonstrate a convincing association at any chromosomal position. Multiple weak associations were found which are likely attributable to background variation. Then strongest of these weak associations involved markers from canine chromosome 8 where there was a gene assocated with seizures in mice; however, we were unable to find a mutation in this gene. Our failure to establish the chromosomal region responsible for Chinook diskinesia/seizure is most likely explained if there is more than one disease in the extended family or if the disease is caused by a combination of genes.
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The Chinook Breed is generally healthy and robust but there are certain health issues
 that concern owners and breeders.

2021 News:  Are Seresto collars causing seizures in some Chinooks?  Read on and also do a Google search for Serresto.