Cairn Health

  CTC Victoria current Health Watch Committee Report can be viewed here.  

The following motion was passed at the Club meeting of 2 June following consultation with members. 

The Committee wishes to make it perfectly clear that this is NOT intended in anyway to be mandatory. The Puppy Sales Officer will continue to recommend members’ puppies when she is advised of them but will tell the enquirer of the Club’s position. Those members who don’t test can then discuss the matter with the purchaser and if they decide to proceed with the purchase then that is a matter entirely for them. 
“The Cairn Terrier Club of NSW recommends that all puppies be tested for liver function.  
The Club further recommends that buyers only purchase puppies that have tested clear using an accepted testing method. Such advice should be given to any prospective buyer when they approach the Club as to puppy availability.”
Download Health Form here.
The Cairn Terrier Club of Victoria Inc formed a Health Watch Committee in July 2005 as a result of a small number of Cairns being reported to the Club as having been diagnosed with Porto Systemic Shunt.

The Cairn Terrier Club of NSW Inc gave the matter considerable thought but decided that it would encourage its members to lodge appropriate information with the Victorian Club’s Committee rather than set up one of its own. It was felt that it was more appropriate to have a central body collecting and collating information on the breed in Australia.


Reports are accepted from all over Australia and the owners need not be a member of either breed club. Breeders/owners are encouraged to report to the Committee all health issues affecting the breed but most specifically those which may have a genetic component. Owners may choose to allow for identifying information to be released or they may opt for confidentiality.


The Committee produces an annual report which is freely available to those in the breed interested setting out the health issues reported to the Committee during the year and any outcomes known and to date two have been issued.


A list of PSS tests including actual scores is included in the report. It is the Committee’s hope that, in time, the data base will build in to an important record which may assist in further research. We believe that it is too early to form any opinions at this stage, particularly when researchers here and overseas are still undecided as to the mode of inheritance and at present our sample of tested puppies remains small. Each year more breeders are sending in their litter reports and it is hoped this trend continues to grow to build up a more accurate picture of the nature of the problem in Australia. It must be stressed that the Cairn is a remarkably healthy breed and results from the first two reports would indicate that the vast majority will lead long, healthy, happy lives. In being proactive the two breed clubs are determined to play their part in ensuring that remains true. 





Von Willebrand’s Disease in Dogs


Most people are familiar with hemophilia, an inherited blood clotting defect in humans affecting only males. Von Willebrand's disease, like hemophelia, is an inherited blood clotting defect which affects some breed of dogs.


When there is something wrong with a body's von Willebrand's factor, platelets to do not stick together properly and inappropriate, prolonged wound bleeding occurs.  Bleeding can be noted in association with minor injury or surgery but can also manifest as spontaneous bleeding, especially recurring nose bleeds, bloody urine, and/or black tarry diarrhea.


There are three types of von Willebrand's disease.

Type I
In Type I von Willebrand's disease, all the proteins making up von Willebrand's factor are present but only in very small amounts. This is the type common in the Doberman Pinscher, the Shetland Sheepdog, the German Shepherd Dog, and the Standard Poodle. A few cases have been detected in Cairn Terriers here in Australia.


Type II
In Type II, the larger proteins making up von Willebrand's factor are completely absent, leaving only the smaller proteins to do the job. This creates more severe bleeding episodes and represents the type of von Willebrand's disease usually seen in German Short-Haired and German Wire-Haired Pointers.


Type III
In Type III, there is simply no von Willebrand's factor at all. This is the most severe form and is usually seen in Scottish Terriers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and Shetland Sheepdogs. Von Willebrand's disease is not limited to the breeds listed here; forms of it have been found in over 50 breeds, as well as in cats and humans. Unlike the genetics of Hemophilia both males and females are equally affected in dogs and the inheritance seems to be recessive but complicated.


Knowing a dog's von Willebrand's status is important clinically when there is concern about a patient's ability to clot, and it’s also important before breeding.  With breeding, it is important to identify genetic carriers of von Willebrand's. A carrier of von Willebrand's should under no circumstances be bred to another carrier as this is likely to create affected dogs, so members of the classically affected breeds should be screened.


There are two considerations with von Willebrand’s disease: screening breeding animals so that this genetic disorder is not passed on and identifying and treating affected animals.


Registered breeder of Cairns here in Australia have been asked to test their dogs prior to breeding so that we can eliminate this disease before it becomes prevalent in the breed.