Skye Terrier Health Reports

2019 2023
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The Skye terrier is a generally robust and healthy breed, but dogs, like humans, do inevitably sometimes suffer from ill health. The Skye Terrier Health Committee (STHC) monitors the wellbeing of the breed by collecting and storing information on any diagnosed cases of disease that occur throughout the full life of Skye Terriers in the UK.  This is the only way to try and ensure the future health of our wonderful breed.  It is therefore very important that owners report any health issues to our data collection.  All given information is treated in strictest confidence.

Conditions  currently being monitored by the Skye Terrier Health Committee are:

  • Puppy limp
  • Renal Dysplasia
  • Hepatitis
  • Occurrences of Cancer (in association with the Skye Terrier Club of Finland and the Skye Terrier Club of America)

There is information on each of these conditions, along with the Renal Dysplasia Breed Health Initiative below, and further advice can always be sought from the Health Committee.

The Skye Terrier Health Committee also oversee the Skye Terrier Health Research Fund. Kind donations from members, supporters and enthusiasts of the Skye Terrier Breed have so far helped the STHC to create a data bank of DNA samples and case histories stored at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and, most recently, to fund important research into Skye Terrier Hepatitis. If you would like to contribute to the Skye Terrier Health Research Fund, you can do so via Paypal using the button below. The STHC would like to thank everyone for their generous donations and ongoing support.

Puppy Limp

If your new Skye is still a puppy you should be aware of a condition called Skye Limp or Puppy Limp that can affect some puppies as they are growing up. The Skye Terrier is an chondrodystrophic breed and the long bones in the leg can grow at a different rate. It is a typically pain-free condition that results in the puppy limping. The condition usually corrects itself over time but there are measures one can take to aid the process including: limiting boisterous play, ensuring your puppy does not jump up and down into cars, onto furniture and so forth, and taking shorter but more frequent walks.

Many veterinarians are unfamiliar with this type of breed and may therefore suggest unnecessary treatment and possibly surgery. If your puppy starts to limp please consult the breeder and/or the Skye Terrier Health Committee before consulting your vet.

Renal Dysplasia

This disease is not common in Skyes, however, The Skye Terrier Club is currently collecting information about this condition and its prevalence, both past and present, in Skyes across the globe. 

Renal Dysplasia Breed Health Initiative

Under a Breed Health Initiative the Skye Terrier Club currently recommends the following:

It is strongly recommended that breeding stock are microchipped and undergo an ultrasound scan of both kidneys prior to mating.  A letter may then be produced from the vet who has undertaken the procedure stating the dogs microchip number, Kennel Club name and date and result of the scan.  It is recommended that a copy of this letter be sent to the Health Committee. It is further recommended that owners of stud dogs or breeding bitches enquire with the owner of the prospective mate to check whether a scan has been performed on that dog as well.

For further information regarding pertaining to the Breed Health Initiative please see the following articles:

Renal Disease and Scanning Techniques
Renal Disease and DNA Swabbing

Advice from the STHC is always at hand, either via e-mail or telephone, but don’t forget to also contact the breeder of your Skye – he or she will no doubt want to be informed and offer support. The Skye Terrier Health Committee wishes you many happy and healthy years with your new friend and please don’t forget to keep us informed!

There is an ultrasound scan results form available to assist your vet in accurately recording the results of kidney ultrasound scans. Please email Sarah Downes for a copy.


Hepatitis is a condition that is present in Skye Terriers and the Health Committee are working with a selection of partners to identify genetic markers and hopefully develop a screening test. The Animal Health Trust are currently sequencing DNA from affected and non-affected dogs to locate genetic markers.

The project, which has been fully funded by the Skye Terrier Club Health Research Fund, has now progressed to the second stage.

“Now we have to keep fingers firmly crossed for a successful outcome, because a DNA test would be of enormous benefit to the Skye Terrier population worldwide!”

– Maud Hawkes, STC Health Committee Chair

This research has been fully funded by generous donations to the Skye Terrier Health Research Fund from owners, breeders and enthusiasts of Skye Terriers.

The Finnish ‘Skye Elbow project’

This research is undertaken by Dr Anu Lappalainen at Helsinki University. Elbow x-rays are taken, then examined and graded for degree of incongruency from 0 to 3 with 0 being the best. The scores are then combined from both elbows, so dogs may be given, for example, 0/0, 0/1 or 1/2 and so on as measure of degree of incongruency. The elbow results are now public (those that owners gave permission to publish) and can be viewed at – the link is at top of page. The radiographic procedure for taking images of elbows for grading can be downloaded here.

Other Research

The Skye Terrier Club, Skye Terrier Club of America and Skye Terrier Club of Finland are working together to investigate the incidence of different types of cancer among the Skye Terrier population. Representatives from the Clubs’ Health committees have put together a short survey to help gather information on cases of cancer around the globe.

If you have, or had, a Skye Terrier that was diagnosed with cancer please complete the online survey. All information is submitted anonymously and you are able to send case histories for dogs that are now deceased. The survey is on-going and will remain open for the foreseeable future, however, please submit your cases as soon as possible.

You can access the survey by clicking the following link: Skye Terrier Global Cancer Survey

If you have any questions about the survey or would like further information about any health condition, please contact Sarah Downes, Health Committee Secretary

Dr Sarah Downes

Secretary Skye Terrier Health Committee

Tel:- 01773 448162


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