Congenital and inherited neurologic diseases in dogs and cats: Legislation and its effect on purchase in Italy

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Many of the congenital neurologic diseases can result in incapacity or death of the animal. Some of them, such as idiopathic epilepsy and hydrocephalus, exhibit breed or familial predisposition and a genetic basis was proved or suggested. Some diseases can be presumptively diagnosed after a detailed signalment (breed predisposition), history (e.g. family history because many of these defects have familial tendencies), and through physical exam; other diagnostic methods (radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, electrophysiologic tests, etc.) can provide supportive evidence for the congenital defect and help to confirm the diagnosis. Some cases can lead to civil law-suits when the lesions are congenital, but not easily recognizable, or when the lesions are hereditary but tend to became manifest only after some time (more than 12 months after the date of purchase, e.g., after the vice-free guarantee period has expired). Moreover, quite frequently an early diagnosis is not made because there are delays in consulting the veterinarian or the general practitioner veterinarian does not perceive subtle signs. This study was designed to focus on the medico-legal aspects concerning the buying and selling in Italy of dogs and cats affected by congenital and hereditary neurologic diseases that could constitute vice in these animals. While adequate provisions to regulate in detail the various aspects of pet sale have still to be drawn up by legislators, it may be helpful to involve breeders, by obliging them by contract to extend guarantees in the case of hereditary lesions, including neurologic diseases.




Passantino, A., & Masucci, M. (2016). Congenital and inherited neurologic diseases in dogs and cats: Legislation and its effect on purchase in Italy. Veterinary World, 9(5), 437–443.

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