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Click on the symptom to view more about a possible sickness or choose to view Scottish terrier health
information by topic.
Absence of appetite /
refusing favorite food
Bleeding Scottish terrier
Bloody feces / Scottish
terrier blood stool
Bloody or strange color
Coughing Scottish terrier
Diarrhea / vomiting
Excessively runny nose
Irritated or itching a lot
Lethargic Scottish terrier
Limping Scottish terrier
Parasites (worms, fleas,
Poisoned Scottish terrier
Shortness of breath /
serious health conditions in Scottish terrier breed:
Von Willebrand's Disease is a serious, often fatal, hereditary bleeding
disorder, similar to haemophilia in humans. For many years a major concern
in the breed, research has found a genetic marker for the condition and
conscientious breeders are testing their dogs and working hard to
eradicate the disease from the breed. Please test your Scottish terrier
for VWD before breeding it.
Cushing's Syndrome is a condition caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol and manifests itself in the dog's considerable increase in
consumption of water and a corresponding increase in the amount and
frequency of urine production. The affected dog gradually gains weight and
looses coat, combined with a darkening and thickening of the skin. Caused
usually by a tumor on the pituitary gland, it is treatable with drugs
and, in the rare case, surgery.
Cancer. Scotties are at high risk for some cancers, particularly lymphosarcoma, bladder and urinary tract cancers, malignant melanoma and
gastric carcinoma. Research into cancers is ongoing and early detection is
critical in affecting a cure.
Scottish Terrier Cramp is a widespread but fortunately benign neurological disorder
which affects the dog's ability to coordinate movement. Not apparent under
normal conditions, an affected dog, when stimulated by exercise, fear or
prey will show a stiffening or cramping of the hind legs, an arching of
the spine, a goose-stepping gait and an eventual fall. The dog is not in
pain as the "cramping" appearance of the disorder is really an inability
of the dog to coordinate his movements. As the dog calms down, the
symptoms disappear completely. As mentioned, the condition is benign and
affected dogs live long and happy lives with the disorder. Sometimes
apparent as early as 6-8 weeks old, dogs learn rapidly to adjust to the
condition and some affected dogs never exhibit the disorder. Treatment can
serve to lessen the severity of the episodes but there is no cure, nor has
research yet discovered a genetic marker to assist breeders eradicate the
Craniomandibular Osteopathy is a disorder of the mouth which usually sees
an abnormal growth of the lower jaw in the puppy. It usually appears in
puppies around four months of age and is a painful condition which,
fortunately, is both treatable in the young and is one which the pup
"grows out of" with little or no effect on the adult dog.
Hypothyroidism is an underproduction of the hormones of the thyroid gland.
Symptoms include poor coat condition, loss of coat and fading color,
chronic skin conditions, weight gain, fatigue and lethargy. Causes may
range from failures in the endocrine system to liver malfunction to
inadequate diet. Treatment of the condition is effective but determining
the exact cause of the problem is critical to the type of treatment.
Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures, which involve excessive
salivation, dilation of the pupils, stiffening of the limbs and arching of
the back and sometimes the loss of consciousness. The seizures may be
caused by a number of conditions ranging from brain tumors to low blood
sugar and heatstroke. Diagnosis and treatment of seizures is complicated
and the dog should be taken to vet immediately.
Skin Problems. There are many conditions which affect the skin and coats
of dogs, ranging from true hereditary conditions to diet to parasites to
symptoms of more serious underlying medical conditions. Diagnosis and
treatment of parasites such as fleas, demodetic and sarcoptic mange are
fairly simple but some skin conditions are chronic and require careful
attention by your vet. Diet is a big factor in the health of the skin and
coat and many problems are caused by improper feeding.
Eye Problems. As Scotties age they are susceptible to many of the eye
problems associated with growing age. They can be affected with cataracts,
glaucoma, PPM (persistent papillary membranes), and PRA (progressive
retinal atrophy) and all of these conditions can be treated through your
Portosystemic Shunt. This condition, also known as liver shunt, occurs
when the blood cannot enter the liver in sufficient quantities for the
liver to perform it's cleansing. Present at birth, the condition becomes
apparent between 8-10 weeks of age when the pup appears lethargic, the
coat becomes dull and there are periodic staggering episodes. Difficult to
diagnose at this early stage, the condition requires extensive blood
testing for confirmation and is difficult and expensive to treat, usually
requiring a number of surgeries with little guarantee of success.
Fortunately, this serious condition is still quite rare in the Scottish
There is a wealth of information on dogs in general and the Scottie in
particular available both in book form and on the internet. The references
and websites used to prepare this article, and some additional sites which
are related, are shown below.
The Canadian Kennel Club www.ckc.ca
The American Kennel Club www.akc.org
The Canadian Scottish Terrier Club www.canadianscottishterrierclub.org
The Scottish Terrier Club of America http://clubs.akc.org/stca/
Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) www.vmdb.org/cerf.html
Healthgene Corporation www.healthgene.com
The New Scottish Terrier, Cindy Cooke, Howell Book House, 1996.
The Kennelgarth Scottish Terrier Book, 2nd Ed, Betty Penn-Bull, Axxent
Control of Canine Genetic Diseases, George A Padgett, Howell Book House,