Health Report 2014

The DNA collection, and health work, was started with the aim to help secure the future health of this unique and endangered breed. The goal was, and is, to try and aid the development of reliable methods and DNA tests to help future breeding of Skyes, who are free from life threatening hereditary disease. Renal dysplasia (RD) and Skye Terrier Hepatitis (sometimes wrongly called Copper toxicosis) are two major conditions of concern. Both have occurred in the breed for very many years and the disease causing, deleterious mutations can be seen as being distributed throughout the breed at a hitherto fairly low level. The genepool is however continuously diminishing, which increases the risk for a greater number of cases. Nobody can be ‘blamed’ when cases do happen, but one could rather ‘blame’ breeders for not caring much about the breed, if they withhold important information from research. It is a fact that, no breeder can be secure not to be next to have the misfortune to breed affected puppies.

In depth Hepatitis research, partly funded by the Skye Terrier Health Research Fund, is ongoing and making progress. This condition, and other health issues, will be discussed at the forthcoming Skye Terrier World Symposium in Helsinki next August.

The numbers of DNA samples, including for both RD and Skye Terrier Hepatitis, are increasing, as can be seen below. It is however very disappointing to find that, so many of the requested swab kits are never used and returned to the Animal Health Trust (AHT)…


The DNA collection has continued to grow with yet more cases being reported and valuable case histories added. The AHT confirms that the sample contribution now stands at 379 submissions (inc re-samples) with 31 dogs reported as having some kind of clinical problem:

7 cases of RD
4 Skye Terrier Hepatitis
2 Epilepsy
2 Hepatic failure
2 Kinked tail
2 Lymphoma
2 Skye limp
1 Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO)
1 Congestive heart failure
1 Ectopic ureter
1 Haemangiosarcoma
1 Malignant oral melanoma
1 Mammary cancer
1 Mandibular osteosarcoma
1 Pancreatic disease
1 Perineal hernia
1 Thyroid carcinoma

It yet again has to be stressed how important it is, that owners report any significant change in health status for dogs with DNA held in store, so the information can be added to the sample ! This year, a few young dogs under the age of 1 year sadly died from serious health conditions. There was however also a number of very senior dogs who passed away, the oldest at 15 ½. The DNA from elderly dogs, who have lived a healthy life until old age did catch up, can actually be very valuable for research, so please forward such information too!


The Skye Terrier Health Research Fund has again received generous donations (see the Treasurer’s Report). During a visit to the USA, kind donations of $255 were received towards the work undertaken at the AHT. Many Thanks to all who support and care about the future health of our wonderful breed!

Maud Hawkes BSc(Hons) Animal Science

Please do not hesitate to contact me via email:          Telephone: 01623 812856, if you wish to discuss or report any health matters in confidentiality, or if you require swab kits!