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Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures

Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEWS) is a disorder that affects the development of the balance and movement center of the brain.

Key Signs

Ataxia, Muscle weakness, Difficulties nursing, Generalized seizures, Death

Age of Onset

At birth

Present at birth


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, dogs with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Dogs with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their puppies if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk dogs are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a dog with NEWS

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your dog’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about NEWS

Puppies suffering from NEWS are smaller and weaker at birth than their littermates and they often have difficulties nursing. Most of the affected puppies won't make it through the first week of their life. Puppies that survive past the first week suffer from ataxia (uncoordinated movements), whole-body tremor and weakness progressing to severe generalized clonic-tonic seizures by 4 to 6 weeks of age. No affected puppies have survived past 7 weeks of age and they are often euthanized earlier.

Treatment is supportive care, however, affected puppies usually die or are euthanized on welfare grounds within the first few weeks of life because of the severity of the condition.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a dog with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding dogs. Regardless of test results it is important that your dog is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the puppies if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most kennel club websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to occur. A carrier dog with one copy of the NEWS mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the NEWS mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the NEWS mutation. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the NEWS mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene ATF2
Variant T>G
Chromosome 36
Coordinate 19,078,954

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Chen, X., Johnson, G. S., Schnabel, R. D., Taylor, J. F., Johnson, G. C., Parker, H. G., … O’Brien, D. P. (2008). A neonatal encephalopathy with seizures in standard poodle dogs with a missense mutation in the canine ortholog of ATF2. Neurogenetics, 9(1), 41–49. View the article