UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures


Neonatal encephalopathy with seizures (NEWS) is an inherited progressive brain disease of Standard Poodles caused by a mutation in the activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) gene. NEWS is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion thus both sexes are equally affected.  Two copies of the defective gene must be present to cause the disease. Effects of the disease can be observed in newborn pups which typically appear significantly weaker than littermates. If they survive the first week, mobility issues and seizures may be observed. Affected pups do not survive beyond seven weeks of age. The NEWS mutation is widespread across Standard Poodle lineages and colors. Dog breeds developed with Standard Poodle breeding stock are at risk of NEWS. Dogs with one normal and one mutated ATF2 gene (carriers) are unaffected but breeding two carriers together would be predicted to produce 25% affected offspring and 50% carriers.

Genetic testing for NEWS is recommended for Standard Poodle, Labradoodle and Goldendoodle breeds.

The VGL offers a test for NEWS to assist owners and breeders in identifying affected and carrier dogs. The test uses DNA collected from buccal (cheek) swabs, thus avoiding blood sample collection. Breeders can use results from the test as a tool for selection of mating pairs to avoid producing affected dogs.

Allow 3-6 business days for results.

Results reported as:

N/N Normal - no copies of the NEWS mutation
N/ES Carrier - 1 copy of the NEWS mutation; dog is normal
ES/ES Affected - 2 copies of the NEWS mutation; dog is affected.


Chen X, GS Johnson, RD Schnabel, JF Taylor, GC Johnson, HG Parker, EE Patterson, ML Katz, T Awano, S Khan, DP O’Brien. 2008. A neonatal encephalopathy with seizures in standard poodle dogs with a missense mutation in the canine ortholog of ATF2. Neurogenetics 9:41-49.

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL