Hereditary Diseases - Key Facts

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are generally healthy and robust dogs and usually live a long and active life. However they do have genetic predispositions to certain diseases.

Wheaten Health Initiative’s principle objectives are educating and providing information which, we hope, will help breeders, owners and veterinary professionals.

The information on our web site is designed to assist you to understand more about the words and terms that are used by the professionals caring for your dog, especially in relation to the hereditary diseases which affect our breed. This information is written within the context of the body systems that they affect.

Every Wheaten is an important member of a unique Breed and just because it has never been bred from, does not mean that it isn’t still important. If it becomes ill, or sadly dies, due to an hereditary disease, please inform your breeder and the SCWT Club of GB.  This means that if knowledge of the presence of disease is shared with others, it allows for informed breeding decisions to be made in respect of related dogs.

It is possible for a dog to appear healthy even though an underlying disease may be present and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is no exception to this. The underlying diseases that can affect the Wheaten Terrier are Renal Dysplasia (RD); Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE), Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN) and Addison’s disease.

Owners and breeders can establish the health status of their dogs by monitoring them on an annual basis for signs of illness. This will aid with the early identification of disease, ensuring that treatment can begin promptly and offer the best chance of success.

Ideally, every Wheaten should be tested annually and a copy of the test results forwarded to the breeder and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB, so it can be included in their health records.

Blood and Urine testing gives a ‘snapshot’ view of the dog’s health status at the precise moment that the samples are taken and, as such, cannot give any guarantees with regard to future health. This is not a perfect system but it is the best option available until further advances in understanding these diseases are made.

Without your help, the future health of the breed cannot be assured.

A summary of the health information on this web site is also available in the Health Handbook on Publications page.

If you have any health issues regarding your dog that you would like to discuss with a member of WHI please contact us. We will, if you wish, keep this confidential.