CTCV Health Watch Committee Report                                                   24/10/2008

The Health Watch Committee is pleased to present the yearly report of all medical conditions and bile acid testing of litters received since last year’s report.  We would like to thank all those who have sent in their Reports this year and hope that more will be received in the future.


All Health Watch Reports are treated as confidential unless the owner/breeder of the dog agrees that the information may be shared.  Please remember to tick the box on the Report Form to indicate whether anonymity is required.  All litter scores reported are recorded in an anonymous format.


Number of Reports Received      

We have received a total of 21 Reports, broken down as follows:-

           6   Medical Reports  (However, 3 of these are bile acid screenings only)

           16 Litter Reports (Bile Acid Testing)

The other 3 medical reports concern:

1 case of Addisons Disease in a male cairn

1 case of Liver Cysts

1 case of Dry Eye

Litter Reports

Sixteen Litter Reports, were received since the last Health Watch Committee Report.  In total 71 puppies were bile acid tested.  Five of these pups were retested at the recommendation of the laboratories concerned due to their above average postprandial scores.  Two of the puppies scored within the normal range and were cleared.  We have not included a list of scores this year, but if anyone would like a copy of them, please do not hesitate to ask.

Portal Shunt

Unfortunately the other 3 puppies retested at extremely high postprandial scores and after further testing and scanning were diagnosed with Portal Shunt and were later euthanized.  Two of the pups concerned were passed on to Prof. Linda Abraham, (BSc BVet Med PhD(Lond) MRCFS MACVSC) at the Werribee Clinic for her assessment and research.

The Health Watch Committee, as well as the owners/breeders of the affected puppies wish to express their sincere gratitude to Linda for all her help, advice and support throughout the year.  Her professional expertise and interest in our breed has certainly made the difficult times much easier to cope with.  

The post prandial scores of the affected puppies were 171, 187 and 40 at 6 weeks.  It cannot be stressed firmly enough that any puppy who scores above the laboratory’s reference level must be retested to ensure that a shunt is not present.  One of the affected puppy’s first bile acid tests showed a post prandial score of only 40 at 6 weeks of age.  However at 8 weeks it was 213 and at 12 weeks it was 347. This proves how much credence we need to place on the laboratories recommendations for retesting.  If the breeder of this particular litter had not insisted on retesting the puppy then there would have been dire consequences for the new puppy buyer.  It should be noted that all three of the above puppies were post mortemed and liver shunts were confirmed in all three cases.

It is also important to note that if only one test is being done then it is the post prandial test which is a more reliable indicator of liver function.  The other important point is to ensure that the puppies eat enough food to give an accurate assessment.  If your vet is unsure about the post prandial testing procedure please ask them to make a quick call to Dr. Abraham at Werribee who will set them straight. (All vets know the Werribee phone number.)

Dr. Abraham is happy to test any cairn litters at Werribee at an extremely low cost per puppy.  Just telephone the clinic and ask for her personally to arrange a test.  Hopefully testing will be free of charge later this year if the Grant is successful.  Linda is also testing adult cairns and collecting DNA from any cairns who are Sires or Dams of portal shunt puppies.  The DNA is being stored for future research, but unfortunately, still no marker has been found.  

Research Grant

As reported last year and for the benefit of any new members

“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.”

We hope to hear from Linda very soon regarding this Grant and she has indicated that she is very optimistic that it will be funded.  We will advise breeders in the Bulletin and on the website when the outcome is known.


Please continue to send in your reports as soon as they are available. We would especially like to have more information on other ailments in cairns of which we hear much talk anecdotally but receive no actual documentation or evidence.  If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to phone Lyn at the number below.  Post reports to:  Lyn Barclay, 20 Outawood Rise, Gisborne, Vic 3437 or fax to (03) 5428 4179 or 0409 424 668.  (Alternatively email to lkbarclay@bigpond.com.au )

Download Health Watch Committee Report Form


REPORT 23/01/2007

REPORT 11/10/2008

REPORT 24/10/2008

REPORT 30/01/2009

REPORT 30/01/2010

REPORT 30/01/2011

REPORT 30/01/2012

REPORT 30/01/2013

REPORT 30/01/2014

REPORT 30/01/2015

REPORT 30/01/2016

REPORT 30/01/2017

REPORT 30/01/2018

REPORT 30/01/2019

REPORT 30/01/2020











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