CTCV Health Watch Committee Report                                                      23/1/2007

The Committee’s previous Report (printed in the April 2006 Bulletin) did not include specific (non-identifying) information, so all the information received to date is included in this current Report.

Download Health Watch Committee Report Form


All Health Watch Reports are treated as confidential unless the owner/breeder of the dog agrees that the information may be shared. This has come about because some members have stated that they were happy to share information regarding their reports.  In future the Report Form will have a section for the owner/breeder to complete indicating if they require confidentiality.  Much criticism has been received regarding the secrecy of reporting.  However, if the owner/breeder requests the reported information is to remain confidential, then the Committee must respect this request.

It is still extremely important to Report all medical conditions to the Committee (even if confidentiality is required) because the dog can then be included in a non-identifying format in the yearly report.  Also, an owner/breeder may change their mind about sharing information at a later date if there were more reports of a similar type.

Number of Reports Received       

We have received a total of 25 Reports, broken down as follows:-

10   Medical Reports  (2 of these from litter test reports)

15   Litter Reports (Bile Acid Testing)

Of the 10 Medical Reports, 7 concern Portal Shunt, (2 with more than one pup in the same litter), and 3 are other conditions.  (Details of these appear later in this Report.)

Number of Breeders/Owners Reporting

The above reports have been submitted by 10 people.  Of these ten, six have agreed to be identified.  They are as follows:

Robert Bartram     Jude Costello
  Fiona Ward      Lyn Barclay
   Liz Jewell        Jill Saulbrey

Medical Reports Received

Portal Shunt:

9 Diagnosed Cases of Portal Shunt have been reported.  As follows:

Two male puppies (from a litter of 4 males and 2 females), approximately 6 mths of age, returned to breeder were subsequently euthanased when diagnosed with PSS.  Post prandial scores in excess of 300.

Two female puppies, aged 7 weeks, (from a litter of 1 male and 6 females), were considered likely to have PSS and  after re-testing were euthanased. 

Scores were:   Puppy 1 -    Fasting – 53        Post Prandial – 138

                                     Puppy 2 -     Fasting – 59       Post Prandial – 305

Cairn bitch aged 2 was diagnosed with PSS and underwent surgery to implant a

Constrictor Ring.  Surgery was unsuccessful, bitch died aged 3.

Bile acid scores at time of diagnosis were:   Fasting – 81     Post Prandial – 134

Cairn bitch aged 18 months was diagnosed with PSS.  Surgery was recommended, but owner decided to manage condition with diet.  Unfortunately neurological damage followed and bitch was euthanased approx 1 year later.

Bile acid scores at time of diagnosis were:   Fasting – 80     Post Prandial – 416

Cairn bitch aged 12 months was diagnosed with PSS.  Surgery to implant

Constrictor Ring was performed and has been very successful.  The bitch is now nearly 3 years old and enjoys a normal life.

Bile acid scores at time of diagnosis were:    Fasting – 117    Post Prandial – 273

Bile acid scores 12 mths after surgery were:  Fasting -     5            Post Prandial -       3

Cairn dog aged 3 months with inconclusive diagnosis of PSS (but highly suspected).   Dog continues to be managed by diet.

Bile Acid scores at first test were:                    Fasting – 232   Post Prandial – 350

Bile Acid scores at approx 6 mths were:             Fasting – 99     Post Prandial – 445

Cairn bitch aged 6 months was diagnosed with PSS and is being managed by diet. 

Bile acid scores at time of diagnosis were:             Fasting – 106             Post Prandial - 160

Legge Perthes Disease

One report received of a Cairn Bitch diagnosed at eleven months of age.  Surgery is planned in the near future.  (Bitch is now placed in pet home and produced no litters.)

Luxating Patella

One report received of a Cairn Dog first noticed when under 12 months of age, diagnosed later.

Lack of Motor Control

One report received of a Cairn Dog aged 6 months with motor skill problems. Puppy has been DNA tested for Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy but results were found to be normal.  Puppy ’s condition is worsening and he remains undiagnosed.

Unsubstantiated Reports

Because we wish to be completely transparent in reporting an overall view of all the information passed onto the Committee, we wish to advise that we have received other unsubstantiated reports.   Most of these were reported verbally, (i.e. via the phone) and information was provided regarding the symptoms, diagnosis and outcome.  Although there is no reason to doubt these reports, because in most cases the owners were very upset and distressed , unfortunately they did not follow through by sending in the paperwork and therefore these dogs cannot be included in the official register of reports.  However, we list below these unsubstantiated reports for your information:

4 Cases of Portal Shunt (2 living and being managed by diet.  2 deceased.)

2 Cases of stomach cancer (both recently deceased.  Males aged 3 and 7)

2 Cases of Juvenile Cataracts (1 female aged 12 months, 1 male aged 3)




Bile Acid Test Scores -  (where there are 2 scores, 1st is Fasting, 2nd is Post Prandial)

Scores considered high or requiring follow up by Laboratory concerned

Re-testing result



2 Puppies (from litter of 6) showing symptoms were tested

Over 300

Too ill to re-test.

Two male puppies euthanased


53-138, 1-11, 4-40, 1-37, 1-13, 59-305, 1-30

53-138, 59-305

53-138, 59-305 (same)

Two female puppies euthanased


1-8, 2-3, 1-9, 1-6.



All clear


7, 6, 1, 6, 4.



All clear





All clear


1, 7, 7, 12, 1. (Fasting scores.)



All clear


21-30, 1-37, 11-28, 20-35, 1-42, 1-24

1-37, 1-42

18, 28

All clear


0, 2, 3.



All clear


13, 10, 26, 38, 13. (post prandial)

26, 38.

38 retested as 11

All clear


47, 6, 0, 21, 4. (post prandial)



All clear


13, 3, 15, 19, 6



All clear


7, 11, 9, 6, 8.



All clear


3-22, 1-18, 1-9, 0-9.



All clear


8, 7



All clear


0-17, 3-16, 1-17



All clear

Research Grant

Dr Linda Abraham, BSc BVet Med PhD(Lond) MRCFS MACVSC, who most of you know is a registrar at the Werribee Clinic of Melbourne University’s Veterinary Hospital has applied for a Research Grant to fund the bile acid testing of Cairn Terrier puppies.  If successful the money will be used to test pure bred litters in order to ascertain the most beneficial age to gain accurate results.  At present we are finding that some pups show lower scores when re-tested at 10 days to several weeks later.  There would be no charge to breeders for testing, or for further testing (such as scintigraphy) if the application is successful.  The results of the tests would be anonymously reported in a statistical way and no individual dogs or breeders would be named.  This data would be invaluable in helping to diagnose Portal Shunt in our puppies.

Thankyou to the breeders who have indicated they are willing to take part in this program.  Once we know if the Grant application is successful, we will be asking everyone again to consider being involved, and we will be providing further information regarding participation in the testing.   Dr Abraham has indicated that it will be during the first half of this year (2007) when the ANKC’s decisions on funding are released.  In the meantime, Dr Abraham is on maternity leave.


From the reports received, it is apparent that Portal Shunt remains the biggest health problem at present facing breeders.  With this in mind we urge all breeders to consider testing their litters and sending the results to us.  This is the only way we can build up a complete picture of the depth of the problem.  Please continue to post reports to:  Lyn Barclay, 20 Outawood Rise, Gisborne, Vic 3437 or fax to (03) 5428 4179.

Download Health Watch Committee Report Form

REPORT 23/01/2007

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