Wheaten Terrier Post Mortem (UK)

Dear Owner

No one likes to think of the time when we might lose our Wheaten companion. The moment we lose them is very emotional and sensitive and a time when the pain of grief can cloud our better judgement.

At a time like this, suggestions of a post mortem are almost unthinkable, but the last loving act could be to allow your Wheaten to provide valuable medical information, that may benefit the breed in future. Therefore, if your dog is suspected as having or has died of an hereditary disease, please inform your breeder and the SCWT Club of GB.

We appreciate that this is a difficult task to take on board so soon after death, but it could help and reassure you that it may not be necessary for a ‘full body’ post mortem to be carried out. Often, all that may be required, unless there are serious concerns over the cause of death, is to take the kidneys and/or intestine.

If you would like your Wheaten to make this valuable contribution, it may help to discuss the possibility with your Veterinary Practice, so that they are aware of your wishes in advance.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this matter.

Wheaten Health Initiative

Information for Owners and Veterinarians in UK

The request for pathological examination should be made through your veterinary surgeon, to a suitable veterinary facility with experience in performing Post Mortems on Wheaten Terriers. The Club of Great Britain has arrangements with The University of Cambridge (details below) to undertake post mortems.

They will charge for their services, as will your Vet and the cost of the process will depend on whether a whole body or tissue samples are required.

The SCWT Club of GB Health Fund is available to help with post mortem costs in cases where inheritable disease may be present. The Club in return requires a copy of the post mortem report.

For more information contact the SCWT Club of GB Health Team on: health@wheaten.org.uk

Your post mortem report will go back to the referring veterinarian, who would then relay the report to you.

Important - Please give your Vet all this information so he/she knows the correct storage procedure and who to contact – this is very important.

Ideally the post mortem needs to take place:

  • Within 48 hours of death or euthanasia.  However, in the case of samples of the intestine, it is important that these are taken as soon as possible after death
  • The body should be refrigerated (not frozen)
  • If death occurs over a weekend, please do not send to Cambridge until Monday morning
  • Please include a summary of the clinical history leading up to death, or euthanasia, with the body/tissue samples
  • If a whole body post mortem is not necessary, advice regarding the appropriate tissues required for collection can be obtained by contacting one of the pathologists at the RVC or other suitable Veterinary facility
  • Veterinary facilities are able to give advice to the referring veterinary surgeon, on a case by case basis, submission of the whole body or parts thereof and the cost of the procedure

Post Mortem Requirements


Renal Dysplasia (RD)

The tissue sample required is: -

Two kidneys, cut in half, and preserved in 10x volume of 10% buffered formalin.

The following should be collected before euthanasia and sent with the other items:

Blood: 5ml serum AND a maximum of 5ml in EDTA (anticoagulant).

Urine: A sample of at least 5ml from the bladder should be included.

Please note: If there has been a presence of GI disease previous to clinically evident PLN, this could be a sign of both conditions (PLE and PLN). In this case intestinal samples should be included.


Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN) and Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE):

The tissue samples required are: -

Two kidneys, cut in half, and preserved in 10x volume of 10% buffered formalin.

Half-inch (12.5mm) long sections of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum preserved in neutral buffered formalin solution.

Please Note : these samples should be taken within an hour or two after death due to rapid deterioration of the gut.

The following should be collected before euthanasia and sent with the other items:

Blood: 5ml serum AND a maximum of 5ml in EDTA (anticoagulant).

If possible, the following should be included:

Urine: A sample of at least 5ml.

The following details should accompany all post mortem samples:

  • Name of dog (pet name and pedigree name)
  • Date of birth
  • Owner’s name and address
  • 5 generation pedigree (contact the SCWT Club of GB Health Team if you require a copy)
  • Daily fluid intake and diet fed
  • Dog’s approximate weight
  • Copies of any tests undertaken (blood, urine etc.) undertaken on the dog during its recent illness
  • Any other information the owner/vet may think appropriate

All samples should be carefully packed and sent first class post to:

The University of Cambridge

Central Diagnostic Services

Department of Veterinary Medicine

Madingley Road



Tel: 01223 337625   email: clinpath@vetcam.ac.uk

It is advisable that your veterinarian notifies Cambridge that a sample is being sent for post mortem. But, as this is a new service arranged following the closure of the AHT, we also ask that you email:

Kate Watkins, OR Tracy Hammond who are members of the Health Team and will alert Cambridge Diagnostic Services that a Wheaten sample will be arriving.

April 2021

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