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Irish Terrier Health Concerns

Although the Irish Terrier is considered a rather healthy breed there are some hereditary health concerns to be aware of in this breed but not limited to just Irish Terriers.

  • Cystinuria: An inherited kidney disease.
    Yes, cystinuria in dogs is hereditary. It is an inherited disorder that causes an amino acid called cystine to build up in urine. Cystine is normally reabsorbed by the kidneys, but in dogs with cystinuria, it is not reabsorbed and can form crystals and/or stones in the urinary tract. These are some other breeds that may also have this disease: Newfoundlands Labrador Retrievers Australian Cattle Dogs Miniature Pinschers Mastiffs American Pit Bull Terriers English Bulldogs French Bulldogs Chihuahuas Rottweilers Dachshunds Scottish Terriers There are three types of cystinuria in dogs: Type I is the most common type and is caused by a mutation in the SLC3A1 gene. This gene codes for a protein that helps to transport cystine out of the kidneys. Dogs with Type I cystinuria are usually affected by the time they are 2 years old. Type II is caused by a mutation in the SLC2A9 gene. This gene codes for a protein that helps to transport cystine into the kidneys. Dogs with Type II cystinuria are usually affected by the time they are 6 years old. Type III is also known as Bulldog type cystinuria. It is caused by a mutation in a different gene, but the exact gene has not yet been identified. Dogs with Type III cystinuria are usually affected by the time they are 1 year old. All three types of cystinuria are inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. This means that both parents must carry the gene for the disorder for their puppies to be affected. If you are concerned that your dog may have cystinuria, you should talk to your veterinarian. They can perform a urine test and bladder imaging to diagnose the condition. There is no cure for cystinuria, but it can be managed with a special diet, medication, and regular veterinary checkups. Here are some tips for managing cystinuria in dogs: Feed your dog a special diet that is low in cystine. Give your dog plenty of water to help flush out the cystine from their urine. Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups to monitor their condition. If your dog develops stones, they may need to be surgically removed. With proper management, dogs with cystinuria can live long and healthy lives.
  • Digital hyperkeratosis: An inherited disease that causes the footpads to become thickened and cracked.
    Irish Terrier are not the only breed that could be affected with digital hyperkeratosis, also known as corns or calluses, is a condition in dogs that causes the skin on the paws to thicken and harden. It is most commonly seen on the footpads, but it can also affect the nose, lips, and other areas of the body. The exact cause of digital hyperkeratosis is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including: Genetics: Some breeds of dogs are more prone to digital hyperkeratosis Injury: Trauma to the paws can also lead to digital hyperkeratosis. Irritation: Exposure to harsh chemicals or surfaces can irritate the paws and lead to hyperkeratosis. Infection: A secondary infection can also make digital hyperkeratosis worse. The symptoms of digital hyperkeratosis include: Thickened, hard skin on the paws Redness and inflammation of the paws Pain and discomfort when walking Difficulty walking Bleeding or discharge from the paws If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should take them to the veterinarian to be diagnosed and treated. The treatment for digital hyperkeratosis will depend on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, your veterinarian may recommend: Soaking the paws in warm water with Epsom salts Applying a topical medication to soften the skin Using a bandage to protect the paws In more severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend: Surgical removal of the thickened skin Medication to control pain and inflammation A change in diet to help prevent recurrence With proper treatment, most dogs with digital hyperkeratosis can live normal, healthy lives. Here are some tips to help prevent digital hyperkeratosis in your dog: Keep your dog's paws clean and dry. Avoid walking your dog on hot or rough surfaces. Use a balm or ointment to protect your dog's paws from the elements. Trim your dog's nails regularly. Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups. By following these tips, you can help keep your dog's paws healthy and prevent digital hyperkeratosis.
  • Degenerative myelopathy: An inherited neurologic disorder caused by a mutation of the SOD1 gene.
    Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive, inherited disease that affects the spinal cord of dogs. It is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs, but it can also occur in smaller breeds, such as the Irish terrier. DM is caused by a mutation in the SOD1 gene. This gene produces an enzyme that helps protect cells from damage. When the SOD1 gene is mutated, the enzyme is not produced or does not function properly. This leads to damage to the nerves in the spinal cord, which results in weakness and paralysis in the hind limbs. The symptoms of DM usually start in dogs between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. The first signs are often subtle, such as difficulty rising from a sitting position or weakness in the hind limbs. As the disease progresses, the dog may become increasingly weak and may eventually lose the ability to walk. Other symptoms may include: Knuckling of the hind paws Swayback Difficulty rising from a sitting position Loss of coordination in the hind limbs Weakness in the hind limbs Difficulty walking Difficulty jumping Incontinence There is no cure for DM, but there are treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for affected dogs. These treatments include: Physical therapy Rehabilitation exercises Medications to reduce inflammation and pain Supportive care, such as help with grooming and going to the bathroom The life expectancy of dogs with DM varies, but most dogs live for 1-2 years after diagnosis. The disease is eventually fatal, but with proper care, dogs can still enjoy a good quality of life for a significant period of time. If you are concerned that your Irish terrier may have DM, it is important to see a veterinarian for a diagnosis. There is no specific test for DM, but your veterinarian can perform a physical examination and neurological tests to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. If DM is diagnosed, your veterinarian can discuss the best treatment options for your dog. Here are some ways to help your Irish terrier with DM: Provide a comfortable and safe environment. This may include making ramps or stairs to help your dog get around, and providing a soft bed to sleep in. Keep your dog active. Even if your dog can no longer walk, there are still exercises that they can do to help maintain muscle tone and prevent further muscle loss. Manage pain. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help relieve pain and discomfort. Provide emotional support. DM can be a difficult disease for both dogs and owners. Be patient and understanding with your dog, and offer them plenty of love and support. With proper care and support, dogs with DM can still live a happy and fulfilling life. --------------------- The most common screen test for breeding stock for degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a genetic test that looks for a mutation in the SOD1 gene. This mutation is present in over 120 dog breeds. The genetic test is a simple blood test that can be performed by a veterinarian or a laboratory. The results of the test will show whether the dog is a: Clear: The dog does not have the mutation and cannot pass DM to its offspring. Carrier: The dog has one copy of the mutation and can pass it to its offspring. Affected: The dog has two copies of the mutation and will develop DM. Breeders should only breed dogs that are clear of the DM mutation. If both parents are carriers, there is a 25% chance that each puppy will inherit the mutation and develop DM. In addition to genetic testing, breeders should also perform a physical exam and neurological assessment on breeding stock. This can help to identify dogs that may be affected with DM, even if they do not have the mutation. By following these screening guidelines, breeders can help to reduce the incidence of DM in their dogs. Here are some of the organizations that offer DM genetic testing: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) University of California, Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Animal Genetics Laboratory Paw Print Genetics
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): An inherited disease that causes the eyes to go blind.
    Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye disease that affects many dog breeds, including Irish Terriers. It is a progressive condition that causes the gradual degeneration of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As the retina degenerates, vision loss occurs. In Irish terriers, PRA is an early-onset form of the disease, meaning that symptoms typically begin to appear before the dog is two years old. The first signs of PRA in Irish terriers are often night blindness, or difficulty seeing in low-light conditions. As the disease progresses, dogs may also experience difficulty seeing in bright light, bumping into objects, and becoming disoriented in familiar surroundings. There is no cure for PRA in Irish Terriers. However, there are some steps that can be taken to slow the progression of the disease and help dogs adjust to vision loss. These include: Early diagnosis: Early diagnosis is important so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. Regular eye exams: Regular eye exams can help monitor the progression of the disease and detect any other eye problems that may develop. Environmental modifications: Making environmental modifications, such as keeping furniture in the same place and using night lights, can help dogs with PRA to safely navigate their surroundings. Obedience training: Obedience training can help dogs with PRA learn new ways to communicate and interact with their environment. There are also some supplements that have been shown to help slow the progression of PRA in dogs. However, it is important to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements, as some can interact with other medications or have side effects. If you are considering getting an Irish terrier, it is important to ask the breeder about the prevalence of PRA in the breed. You can also have your puppy's eyes tested for PRA by a veterinarian. ---------------------------------- There are two types of PRA in Irish terriers: Early-onset PRA (PDE6B): This form of PRA is caused by a mutation in the PDE6B gene and typically causes blindness in dogs between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. Late-onset PRA (rcd4-PRA): This form of PRA is caused by a mutation in the C2orf71 gene and typically causes blindness in dogs between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. Both forms of PRA are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that dogs need to inherit two copies of the mutated gene in order to be affected. Dogs that inherit one copy of the mutated gene are carriers and do not show any signs of the disease, but they can pass the mutation on to their offspring. By testing breeding stock for PRA, breeders can help to prevent the disease from being passed on to future generations. The cost of PRA testing for Irish Terriers varies depending on the laboratory, but it typically costs between $50 and $100 per dog. The test can be performed on a blood sample or a cheek swab. The results of the test are usually available within 1-2 weeks. If you are planning to breed Irish Terriers, it is important to have your breeding stock tested for PRA. This will help to ensure that you are not breeding dogs that are carriers of the disease. You can find more information about PRA testing for Irish Terriers at the following websites: Genomia: Affinity DNA:

Irish Terriers may also prone to other health issues, including:

Bladder and kidney stones, Cataracts, Hip dysplasia, Patellar luxation, Pyometra, Thyroid problems.

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