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:
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 all times
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.
Urine Protein/Creatinine Ratio
- Specific gravity
- Urinary sediment
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.
An alternative test for UPC is Microalbuniaria (MA Test)
Recommended, if IBD or PLE is suspected.
Renal Dysplasia (RD)
- Digestive Panel - From Texas A & M University (TAMU)
- The Fecal API Kit is available now through TAMU. Go to www.wheatenhealthendowment.org to
order your kit to detect GI protein loss.
- The Canine IBD/Enteropathy Assay is available through Antech Diagnostics
Please note this test is NOT A STAND ALONE TEST and if you suspect PLE, this test should be undertaken along with an annual health test.
Rule out blockages, Parvo, Lyme and Addisons and not rely on this test for every dog which has vomiting/diarrhoea etc. Also an infected bowel could affect the test results.
- Abdominal radiographs/Ultrasound
- 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:
Dr Shelly Vaden, ACVIM, North Carolina State University and Dr Meryl Littman, VMD DACVM (Retired), University of Pennsylvania state that:
“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.”
Remember: diagnosis of RD, PLE, PLN or Addison’s is dependent on evaluating everything – test results, clinical signs and symptoms – so do not assume one “bad” item
means a dog has these diseases.
A condensed information sheet on hereditary diseases and testing, by Dr Littman (July 2019) is avalable on this link (pdf opens in new tab)
PLN-Associated Variant Genes test - further details on the Genetic testing pages
Standards of Care for Proteinuria by Dr Shelly L. Vaden on this 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 Littman, VMD, DACVM, Professor Emerita of Medicine (Clinician-Educator), University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, who led the research into PLN in Wheatens for decades, created “Recommendations Concerning Protein-Losing Nephropathy (PLN) in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers".
Dr. Littman has retired from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine but is available for paid consultations. Please contact her at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
It is strongly recommended that owners should make contact with the breeder, so that positive steps can be taken to inform owners of litter mates and/or progeny.
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