Health Report 2010

Year 2009 was a good year from the breeding point of view with 11 litters of Skye Terriers puppies registered in this country.  It has also been a very busy year for the Health Committee.  It has been hugely encouraging to find an increase in reporting overall but especially that the pet owners have ‘found’ us to search advice and discuss any worries they may have. Better reporting obviously means more case histories and it has been found that the elderly Skye typically passes away from the same causes as one would expect in the general dog population such as cancer.  Causes of sad deaths in the not so old include: Lymphoma (two cases), Splenic sarcoma/haemangiosarcoma (one case), Epilepsy (one case), Liver disease (one case) and Pyometra.  One dog suffered from a prolapsed disc but was thankfully quite quickly restored to health after treatment.  Cases of kidney disease have also been reported and will be dealt with below.

Puppy Limp

Many babies around inevitably also means that there will be some with puppy limp.  It is a condition that always worries the pet owners a great deal.  Quite a lot of time has subsequently been spent on the telephone giving advice on the management of this, especially if there has been a Vet insisting that the puppy desperately needs an operation.  It has therefore been rewarding to get the reports back from owners saying that they now have a limp free puppy without having had it subjected to unnecessary surgery.

DNA Collection and Kidney Disease

74 puppies were born in 2009 but some breeders have acted against the Club’s Code of Ethics so DNA was only submitted from 39 of them.  This is very disappointing and also worrying in view of the following events during the year. Two adult dogs sadly died from Renal Dysplasia (DNA sample has only been submitted from one of them) and polycystic kidneys were diagnosed in a number of dogs: one adult, plus seven puppies (the latter from two different litters; all related).  A research link has therefore been established with a prestigious veterinary scientist in the field.  Continuous monitoring and examination of clinical and histological features has already started.  Initial diagnosis is made using ultrasound scan, followed by blood tests on affected dogs.  The STC Health Committee must urge all breeders to, as a precautionary measure, have scans done on all their Skye Terriers intended for breeding and not to breed from animals found to be affected.

A cheque for £150 has been sent to the Animal Health Trust (AHT) as a donation, much of the sum gifted from the distribution of swab kits.  The total number of DNA samples held in store by AHT has now risen to 132.

Generous donations have increased the total size of the Health Research Fund to £1491.28.  Warmest thanks to all those who have given contributions.

We, the owners and breeders, have a limited span when we are here to enjoy living with this extraordinary & wonderful breed.  Our aim should therefore be, if we truly love our breed, to try and secure its healthy future in its country of origin.


Maud Hawkes BSc (Hons) Animal Science

Please do not hesitate to contact me via email:,

Tel: 01623 812856, if you want to discuss or report any health matters in confidentiality, or if you require swab kits!