British Utonagan Association

Click here to edit subtitle

Firstly we would like to thank Mr Malcolm Davidson BVMS CertVOphthal MRCVS (Opthamologist), Mr A McKenzie  BVMS CertVOphthal MRCVS (Opthamologist), Geoff Culshaw BVMS, DVC, MRCVS  (Cardiopulmonary Medicine) and The Roslyn Institute (The Royal School of Veterinary Studies) the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and finally our own vets, breeders and owners for their invaluable guidance and support.

We are fully aware that there are some hereditary and non hereditary conditions that may affect our founder breeds but as we are a fairly young breed and still in the beginnings we will be closely monitoring our own lines, founders and future founders lines. With accurate record keeping and thorough health testing we will cover every aspect of our breed. Hopefully any issue arising can and will be swiftly dealt with.

As part of our breeding prgramme, along with temperament and conformation, it is compulsory that all breeding dogs are tested for Hip/Elbow Dysplasia are Eye Sceened and DM tested as standard.
   Mika - White Caledonian Wolfalike

Illnesses seen in the Founder Breeds - Hereditary and non Hereditary

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is associated with abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. As joint laxity develops, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint is called a subluxation, and this causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces. Most dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips but due to their genetic make-up (and possibly other factors) the soft tissues that surround the joint develop abnormally causing the subluxation. It is this subluxation and the remodeling of the hip that leads to the symptoms we associate with this disease. Hip dysplasia may or may not be bilateral; affecting both the right and/or left hip.

Elbow Dysplasia - The consequence of this abnormal development is that the three bones of the joint (the humerus, radius and ulna) do not fit together perfectly leading to areas of abnormally high contact pressure. This in turn leads to one of a number of different problems (more than one of which may occur in the same joint at the same time):
1. Fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP)
2. Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
3. Ununited anconeal process (UAP)
4. Medial compartment disease

“Elbow dysplasia” is really an umbrella term for a number of different conditions of this joint. BVA Hip and Elbow testing is mandatory for our breeding dogs with only dogs well below the breed mean average (17) being considered. A reputable breeder will always be happy to show you their BVA stamped health results.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. The clinical course can range from 6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually weakness will develop in the front limbs. Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease.

Canine epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent (repeated) seizures (convulsions, fits). An epileptic seizure is the clinical manifestation of abnormal brain activity in the cerebral cortex. Epilepsy requires lifelong care.

Primary epilepsy is more common in large-breed dogs from 1 to 5 years old. The incidence is slightly more common in males. All breeds, including mixed breeds, are susceptible. Some breeds (beagles, dachshunds, keeshonden, German shepherds, Belgian Tervurens, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, collies, and others) have higher incidence due to genetic predisposition.

Clinical signs (primary, most to least frequent, scientific term, synonyms)
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal, full body) most common.

Status epilepticus is a condition when a seizure lasts for more than five minutes or a series of multiple seizures occurs over a short period of time, but the dog never completely regains consciousness.

Cluster seizure refers to multiple seizures within a short period of time with only brief periods of consciousness between.

Clinical signs (secondary, most to least frequent, scientific term, synonyms)
Salivation, vomiting, urination, defecation, Tiredness (lethargy), disorientation, blindness.

Monorchidism & Cryptorchidism
Monorchidism literally means only one descended testicle.
Cryptorchidism is the retention of one or both of the testes, usually in the abdomen. Cryptorchid testes can also be outside the body wall under the skin. The danger with cryptorchidism is that if the testis is in the abdomen, it is being exposed to a higher body temperature and is at great risk for Sertoli Cell Tumor (13 times more often than dogs with descended testes). Affected animals should be castrated (neutered). It is suspected to be a hereditary condition. Dogs which are unilateral cryptorchid (one testis is descended, one is not) can still be fertile and can pass the trait on to offspring. Cryptorchidism occurs most frequently in purebred dogs, in certain breeds, and within certain families of a breed. 

Bloat or Gastric Torsion
This is a real emergency and a life threatening condition, which has become more common in deep chested dogs over the years. Experts are divided but good tips for reducing the risk are that it is best to feed 2 small meals rather than one large meal a day and to avoid feeding your dog before strenuous exercise.
Symptoms and Types

Symptoms of GDV include anxious behavior, depression, abdominal pain and distention, collapse, excessive drooling, and vomiting to the point of unproductive dry heaving. Further physical examination may also reveal an extremely rapid heart beat (known as tachycardia), labored breathing (known as dyspnea), a weak pulse, and pale mucus membrane (the moist tissues lining the body’s orifices, such as the nose and mouth).

The exact causes of GDV are unknown. A variety of factors, including genetics, anatomy, and environment, are most likely to blame. For example, dogs that have a first relative with a history of GDV have been shown to be at higher risk. Additionally, large and giant-breed dogs may be at higher risk, especially deep-chested breeds such as great Danes, German shepherds, and standard poodles. Although GDV has been reported in puppies, risk does increase with age.


Some factors that are believed to contribute to the development of GDV include ingestion of excessive amounts of food or water, delayed emptying of the gastrointestinal system, and too much activity after eating. In some cases, dogs affected by GDV have a history of gastrointestinal tract problems. It should be noted, however, that these characteristics do not necessarily occur with all cases.

MRD - Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia

MRD can be a serious hereditary eye disease, as listed on the BVA schedule, and may lead to blindness in the affected dog; therefore TUS are not taking it lightly and neither do KC breed clubs. Some dogs may have no visual impairment and others may be severely visually impaired. There are three differing types of the disease in the following range:

1. Type 1 - The mildest form. Retinal folds or rosettes (lesions including rosette formations, linear folding of the sensory retina and vermiform linear streaks). In very mild cases the folds/rosettes may disappear with age, but may also increase. Thus, with so many of our dogs related, type one is still to be considered deleterous to our remaining gene pool.

2. Type 2 - Geographical changes, i.e. disorganisation of the retina, thinning and irregularly shaped areas of retinal dysplasia, often with an associated limited region of retinal detachment. This will cause some visual impairment or blindness throughout the dogs life

3. Type 3 - Retinal Detachment. Severe disorganisation of the retina where the retinal layers actually detach. The affected dog will be blind. This can happen very suddenly, which is obviously very distressing for dog and owner. The BVA advise all affected dogs are re-tested annually.

For breed specific tests please log onto the KC website for more details.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.