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Trance-like syndrome in bull terriers
  1. M. Lowrie, MA VetMB MVM DipECVN MRCVS, RCVS & European Veterinary Specialist in Neurology1,
  2. P. M. Smith, BSc BVM&S PhD DipECVN MRCVS, RCVS & European Veterinary Specialist in Neurology1,
  3. T. De Keuster, DVM Dipl ECAWBM2 and
  4. L. Garosi, DVM DipECVN MRCVS, RCVS & European Veterinary Specialist in Neurology1
  1. 1Davies Veterinary Specialists, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobion, Hitchin SG5 3HR, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
  1. E-mail for correspondence mll{at}

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TRANCE-like syndrome (TLS) in bull terriers (BTs) has long been recognised by breeders and owners, with many considering them typical of the breed. Episodes consist of a hypokinetic gait with compulsive pacing of variable duration, during which the dog remains aware of its surroundings. Our purpose was to establish the phenotype of TLS in dogs exhibiting an episodic hypokinetic gait and to report results of diagnostic procedures in affected dogs.

Purebred BTs were recruited via the veterinary media, internet (BT forums and Facebook) and using the UK Kennel Club's Bio-Acquisition Research Collaboration scheme. Diagnosis was confirmed by owner interview and video footage demonstrating a hypokinetic gait (see online supplementary video), following which owners completed a questionnaire. Dogs were required to have exhibited TLS for at least one year. A second cohort of unaffected BTs was also recruited, with owners completing a questionnaire with specific questions regarding TLS omitted. Categorical variables were described as fractions. Comparisons were performed using chi-squared test with a P value of <0.05 considered significant.

Details of 281 BTs were collected, comprising 84 dogs with TLS and 197 control dogs. The median age of the 84 BTs at trance onset was four years three months (range 6 months–8 years 3 months); 41 were female (26/41 neutered) and 43 were male (23/43 neutered). All dogs exhibited a slow-motion gait with aimless pacing that was repetitive, topographically invariant (i.e. not relating to a specific region of the nervous system) and apparently purposeless. In 51 of …

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  • Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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