Health Report 2011

It is now five years since the Health Committee was formed, quickly followed by the establishment of a Skye Terrier DNA bank at the Animal Health Trust (AHT).  Much progress has been made with a steady increase in reporting of cases.  Many owners are now also informing us when their dogs sadly die. Case histories from the past are also being added to the archive. We are therefore gradually building up the picture of health status and life expectancy in the breed.  Many thanks to those, who so far have contributed information and please continue to help and keep us up to date!

One case each of prolapsed disc, carcinoma of the thyroid gland and Pyometra has occurred. Causes of death include heart failure in an elderly dog, renal abnormalities and cancer of the higher intestine. The ages of reported deaths range from three and a half (two cases) to a dog well on the way towards its 14th birthday.  Cases of Puppy Limp have yet again been reported.

DNA Collection and Renal Disease

Eight litters with a total of 36 puppies were born 2010.  DNA has been sent to AHT by the breeders apart for all but two of the litters.  The number of DNA samples has increased substantially this year with both the addition from the collection made in Finland, in connection with the Skye Terrier Club of Finland’s 40th anniversary show, and from samples sent from other countries.  The total number of samples held in store is now a very encouraging 251. Amongst the new samples are one each noted as affected for haemangiosarcoma; malignant melanoma; CMO; Renal Dysplasia (RD) and suspected Renal Dysplasia.  There were already two samples for RD held in store, plus DNA from relatives of dogs, which have died from the renal disease without themselves having contributed samples.

The STC Code of Ethics states, since 2007, that all puppies should have their DNA taken by swabbing and for these swabs to be sent to the Animal Health Trust by the breeders.  This practice is really important to the future health of our wonderful breed.  It is equally important that it is reported if any significant disease occurs so that the information can be added to the relevant sample.

The kidney scanning program is progressing well with over 30 new scans having been submitted.  The majority of these have thankfully been clear but two did show slight abnormalities and a third suggests RD.

A cheque for £100 pounds has been sent to the AHT as donation; other donations have also been sent to AHT from breeders abroad. The Skye Terrier Health Research Fund has received generous donations amounting to £620, some of this from owners, who have had the sad experience of losing beloved Skyes to RD. Warmest thanks to all who have given contributions.

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!