Accurate diagnosis and robust reporting is essential if proper measurement and recording of hereditary diseases is to be made. It would be useful if all countries which have Wheaten populations
could use similar reporting systems, but this is not the case. The following is a summary of how the breed clubs in different counties report hereditary diseases.
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Clubs of Great Britain, Sweden, and Finland are the only three Clubs which publish lists of producers of Renal Dysplasia, Renal Failure and PLE and PLN.
However an 'Open Registry' is produced by the Clubs of America and Canada (see below).
Before a dog is listed, each Club has Veterinary advisors to establish that the affected dog meets the criteria set for these diseases.
1. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Great Britain published, in 2006 and annually after that in its Year Book and Winter Bulletin, an ‘A’ and ‘B’ list
of: 'Wheatens diagnosed as Losing Protein by a recognised Veterinary Specialist'.
A ‘C’ list has been produced, mostly comprising ‘historical cases’ of parents of dogs which had Renal Failure, but a few more recent cases have been added to this list.
This list can be found in the Autumn/Christmas 2000 Bulletin (no. 117) on pages 10 and 11. Additions were made in the Summer 2000 Bulletin (no. 119) page 24. The list also appears in the 2001 Year Book, pages 52 and 53.
2. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Sweden publishes the lists in its Year Book and also on: www.swtk.se/swtk (pdf file)
3. The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Finland lists are published only in its Year Book.
The Protein Losing syndromes, PLE and PLN were first noted in the USA and Canada in the 1980’s. As a result, research began
into all hereditary diseases and an ‘Open Registry’ of affected dogs was initiated. This Registry is updated annually.
This O.R. is the only list which is totally managed by a professional Veterinary Scientist who has a stringent set of criterion
and does not list an affected dog until these are met. Dr Meryl Littman VDM, DACVIM, oversees the O.R. on behalf of the Clubs of America and Canada respectively.
The names of affected or deceased dogs and the parents are published for RD, RF, PL diseases, Addison Disease and IBD.
The Registry is available to all for a payment of $15(US) per household. This gives life membership and updated lists are notified
when they are available to view on-line: www.scwtca.org/openregistry, or sent by post.
All the above mentioned Health Lists and the Open Registry are dependent upon correct diagnoses by Veterinarians and the reporting of affected and producer dogs by breeders and owners.
As there are intrinsic problems with each of these disciplines, such lists cannot be thought of as definitive.
Because of the global mix of many breeding lines, health information is vital, especially if breeding is being considered or if a dog is to be used at stud.
There is, of course, a relationship from the early Irish dogs, to the dogs owned today. In comparison to some of the more popular breeds, the Wheaten gene pool is not large.
To obtain a full picture of any possible health issues, it is important to consider the lists of those Countries where a dog's ancestors originated.
Being aware of health issues is as important as carrying out health related tests. Therefore awarenes of ancestors and close relatives who appear on the published lists is an important factor in the process. A Wheaten living in the UK (or USA, Ireland,
Scandinavia or Europe) could be connected to any Wheaten globally. Therefore a Wheaten which appears on any of the lists and which lives or was born in another country, could very well be related to the dog which is being considered for breeding.
Breeders, or those with greater experience of the breed, should be contacted to gain a better understanding of health issues when considering breeding.
Health lists and the Open Registry are a valuable aid to owners and breeders to provide important information about the progress of diseases through ancestral lines.