Health Report 2016



The collection is steadily growing and 98 samples have been added since the latest report. The Animal Health Trust (AHT) confirms that 539 samples (including 13 re-samples) are now archived with 50 noted as having some clinical issue, as per below.

10 Skye Terrier Hepatitis (STH)/hepatic failure

9 Renal Dysplasia (RD)

3 Haemangiosarcoma

2 each for: Epilepsy, Kinked tail, Lymphoma, Mammary cancer, Premature elbow closure, Skye limp

1 each for: Congenital ventricle septum defect, Congestive heart failure, Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO), Ectopic ureter, Elbow dysplasia, Heart murmur, Heart disease (details unknown), Luxating patella, Malignant oral melanoma, Mandibular osteosarcoma, Pancreatic disease, Parathyroid adenoma, Perineal hernia, Squamous cell carcinoma, Thyroid carcinoma, Tumour on the sciatic nerve

Many Thanks to the owners and breeders, here in UK and abroad, who have either submitted new DNA samples or reported significant change in health status for dogs with DNA already in the collection!


This project, funded by The Skye Terrier Club Health Research Fund, has now progressed from investigation into the pathology to genetic research and the whole genome sequence for a STH case has been analysed. Sequencing of a second case is currently being done and data should be with AHT in the coming weeks. Further analysis and comparison will hopefully enable verification of genes to explore, so that a DNA test can be developed. Such a test would be invaluable to future breeding programmes and help prevent more Skyes from being born with this serious disease.


The latest KC Breed Health Coordinators Symposium did have two interesting talks, worth reporting on:

Dr Tom Lewis, KC Quantitative Geneticist, introduced recently finished research on Trends in Genetic Diversity and Effective Population Sizes. This is an extensive study covering all KC registered breeds. Statistics are calculated for the period 1980 – 2014. The rate of inbreeding for Skyes was at its highest in the 1980s and 1990s, with a genetic bottleneck and loss of genetic variation. The rate of inbreeding has, since the early 2000s, fluctuated with a little less use of popular sires. Those wishing to read more about the issue can find the information at

Dr Mike Starkey, head of Molecular Oncology at AHT, gave a presentation on Canine Cancers. He confirmed, as other oncologists have also stated, that the incidence of cancer (benign and malign together) is somewhere between 1in3 and 1in4. This is actually roughly the same risk as for human beings, so one should not be too surprised if ones dog becomes ill with such a disease. It is also the No 1 cause of deaths in dogs over the age of 2 years old. Most cancers are due to sporadic mutations and not to inherited gene mutations.

It is however known that certain cancers are more common in some breeds than in others. The Skye Terrier does unfortunately belong to a number of breeds, where Haemangiosarcoma appears to have a higher incidence. Other types of cancers, not yet reflected in the relatively recently started health reporting, may also occur at higher frequency than expected. Specific data collection has therefore just started with the Global Skye Terrier Cancer Survey in collaboration with Skye Terrier Club, Skye Terrier Club of America and Skye Terrier Club of Finland. This is an on-line survey (link available on the Skye Terrier Club’s website) but paper copies will be available at club events or can be posted out from me on request.

Many Thanks for continued support and donations to the Skye Terrier Club Health Research Fund!

Maud Hawkes BSc (Hons) Animal Science; Tel: 01623 812856 (internet connection can be rather patchy here, so please ‘phone if it is a case of urgency)