Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers (SCWT) have a predisposition to certain hereditary diseases.
The Key Veterinary Researchers recommend that owners test their SCWT's annually for evidence of:
Annual Health Testing for healthy dogs - pdf (opens
in new page)
Remind owners that their dog should be ‘fasted’ (ie not
eat eight hours before the blood test), otherwise spurious
results may occur, but drinking water should be available at
Biochemical Profile to include:
- Complete Blood Count to include Cytopenias and Eosinophilia.
- Routine Urinalysis is very important for Wheaten Terriers and often shows protein loss associated with PLN years prior to the disease showing in blood results.
It is imperative that the disease is caught in the early stages to ensure a longer life.
- Specific gravity
- Urinary sediment
Urine Protein/Creatinine Ratio (UPC) or a Microalbuminuria (MA
Test). These are add on Tests to the Urinalysis and need to be requested
If there is an indication of Protein loss, a pooled urine test should be undertaken as follows:
Owners - as UPC varies daily, owners should collect three samples:
First thing in the morning for three consecutive days.
If this is not possible, then the sample should be taken about the same time each day for three
The samples should be saved separately in a refrigerator.
Take the three samples to the Vet (do not pool them in one jar).
Vet - Take 1ml from each sample, gently mix the result and send this one (3ml) sample to your Lab. for one UPC determination. This will provide an average
result for the 3 days.
Note: UPC on urine samples collected at the clinic are often higher than those collected at home, probably because of anxiety/stress and increased blood pressure at the clinic.
In tick or heartworm endemic areas, a SNAP-4DxPlus or AccuPlex4 test.
If you are concerned about finicky appetite, Gulpies, occasional GastroIntestinal
signs, IBD or PLE in the dog or its relatives, it is suggested that additional
testing, such as fecal examinations, could take place.
Please note that the following tests are only available in USA.
- GI Panel plus - (B12/folate/TLI/PLI with resting cortisol
added) From Texas A & M
- TAMU Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor (A1-PI) Fecal Test is available
on this link to order your kit to detect GI protein loss.
- Antech CE-IBD Assay test is available through Antech
Blood Pressure Measurement (BPM):
Ideally. the dog's BPM should be taken during each healthy visit (starting at one year of age), in order to get a base line and to get the dog used to
having the procedure done.
*The PLN-Associated Variant Alleles DNA test is recommended for each Wheaten Terrier (this is only a once in a dog’s lifetime test) The
test is available from PennGen or Laboklin in UK and Europe. Go to the PLN
Research page for further information.
Renal Dysplasia (RD)
*Check with the owner that they
have not already undertaken this test.
Final confirmation of RD, kidney biopsy (wedge, not Tru-cut).
ACTH stimulation test
Note the differences and similarities between these diseases.
Source: 1999 ACVIM PROCEEDINGS: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier PLE-PLN; Meryl P. Littman VMD DACVIM, Philadelphia PA
Other important laboratory findings:
Shelly Vaden, DVM, PhD, DACVIM. Professor Internal Medicine
and Meryl Littman, VMD DACVM, Professor Emeritus of Medicine,
“Research suggests that any dog with UPC ratio in excess of 0.4 and no evidence of urinary tract infection should be closely monitored for the development of glomerular disease. This finding should be of particular concern in any breed of dog that is known to have familial glomerular diseases, such as the Wheaten Terrier.”
“Recommendations Concerning Protein-Losing Nephropathy (PLN) in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers" on this
link (pdf opens in new page)
PLN-Associated Variant Genes test - further details on the Genetic testing pages
Standards of Care for Proteinuria by Dr Shelly L. Vaden
link (pdf - opens in new tab)
Efficacy of Telmisartan for the treatment of persistent renal proteinuria in dogs Click here for the Wiley research pdf document. (opens in new page)
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - IRiS website
Comparison between Urine Protein:Creatinine Ratios of Samples obtained from Dogs in Home and Hospital Settings. Use this link. M.E. Duffy, A. Specht, and R.C. Hill – J Vet Intern Med 2015;29:1029-1035
Care of dogs with PLE - article from DVM360
For further information and advice please contact:
Meryl P. Littman VMD, DACVIM, Professor Emeritus of Medicine (Clinician-Educator),
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, who led the research into PLN in Wheatens for decades. Dr Littman has retired,
but is available for paid consultations and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelly Vaden, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Professor Internal Medicine, North Carolina State University is available for consultation ONLY with veterinarians. If you wish a consultation contact her at email@example.com
WHI would like to thank: Dr Littman, Dr Vaden and Dr Allenspach and the ©Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America (SCWTCA – visit www.scwtca.org) for their kind permission to reproduce this information