Health Report 2017


April 2017


The collection has grown by 30 samples since the previous report. The Animal Health Trust (AHT) confirms that the collection now holds 569 samples (including 13 re-samples). Only 28 dogs were KC registered last year and some, registered in the first quarter of the year, will have been included in the collection figure in the 2016 report. There are however still breeder samples not yet received. Maybe posting has been forgotten so, please, send them in, if they are still ‘lurking’. The number of samples noted as having some clinical issue listed below.

12 Skye Terrier Hepatitis (STH)/ hepatic failure/ acute onset ascites

9 Renal dysplasia (RD)

4 Haemangiosarcoma

3 Skye limp

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

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

Sincere Thanks to the owners and breeders, in UK and abroad, who have either submitted new DNA samples or reported change in health status for dogs with DNA already in the collection. Your cooperation is vital to the continued health work for our beloved breed!


The project is going forward steadily with sequencing finished and much analysis done. Nine possible candidate genes have now been found, so it is starting to look hopeful that a DNA test could be within reach. This would be a most welcome tool for all breeders, so they can actively safeguard against this serious condition.



The degree of inbreeding is calculated by the Kennel Club for each breed every year. This measure is called the inbreeding coefficient, COI, and shows the degree of inbreeding/level of diversity. A high figure shows lack of diversity, so the dogs are more closely related. The COI for our breed has been as high as 17% (for illustration: mother/son mating is 25%) but has in recent times gone down to 5.5%, which is quite good. This is the result of imports from abroad adding some new ‘blood’ to the existing genepool. 17 dogs have been imported, plus also semen used from abroad, in less than a decade. COI going down with new ‘blood’ coming in must surely have increased diversity/widened the genepool? No, not quite. For that to happen, more steps have to follow: First, the Import has to be bred from (now it is incorporated in the genepool, but rather loosely). Then, the offspring from such matings must also be bred on from. It is not until at least the 2nd generation that the goal of increased diversity/widening of the genepool has been reached. It is therefore most important, that those wishing to help keeping the genepool as wide as possible, keep this in mind, when looking for Skyes to breed from.

Quick example from ‘real life’. I welcomed an Australian bred Champion into my life almost a dozen years ago. He had some new ‘blood’, so his arrival must have lowered the COI and potentially added diversity. I had one litter from him, so now one could say that he had slightly widened the genepool…BUT he only sired that litter AND none of his offspring were bred from. This imported dog may as well not have been here as regards to increasing diversity, because he left no trace in the genepool. I am glad to say, that he is still here, chewing a bone at present.


The Health Committee hosted a Question & Answer Seminar the day after our Club Show on Skye. It was well attended by both UK members and visitors from abroad. Talks were given on both liver- and kidney disease and the Finnish elbow evaluation program was introduced. The panel of Health Committee members did then take questions from the audience, followed by an overview of the Breeders Assistance Scheme (BAS) by Dr Sarah Downes.


Many Thanks for your 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 troubled here, so please ‘phone in case of urgency)