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Health Considerations

Welcome to our "Health Page".  The purpose of

this page is to provide information to you that

will help in understanding some of the health

issues that affect your pet (whether it's a

Scottie, or not). 

It is our belief that in-breeding and line-breeding are major contributing factors in the many health issues that Scotties suffer….   Please click the link below to get a respected scientist’s view on the subject…


Health Testing

Shady Nook has always been concerned about Scottie health.  We DNA-tested all of our dogs for vonWillenbrand Disease (vWD) several years ago, and all are "Clear".   In the past few years, a new DNA test has been developed that can determine if a dog is likely to have Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO). We have submitted all of our dogs for testing in this program and are proud to announce that all are also safe from this terrible affliction.   For more info on vWD, CMO and other Scottie-related diseases, please scroll down this page.....

Cancer in Scottish


Scottish Terriers have a greater

chance of developing some

cancers than other purebreds.

According to research by the

Veterinary Medical Data

Program (1986), six cancers that

Scotties appeared to be more at

risk for (when compared to

other breeds) are: (in

descending order) bladder

cancer and other transitional

cell carcinomas of the lower

urinary tract (the dreaded TCC);

malignant melanoma; gastric

carcinoma; squamous cell

carcinoma of the skin;

lymphosarcoma and nasal carcinoma. Other cancers that are known to commonly affect Scotties include mast cell sarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.

Research has suggested that Scottish Terriers are 20 times more likely to get bladder cancer than other breeds and the most common kind of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder (TCC). Dr. Deborah Knapp of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine has commented "TCC usually occurs in older dogs (average age 11 years) and is more common in females (2:1 ratio of females to males)." Symptoms of TCC are blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and frequent urination — although owners noticing any of these symptoms should also be aware that the same symptoms may also be indicative of a urinary tract infection.

The most common and effective form of treatment for TCC is Piroxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that "allows the cancer cells to kill themselves." In order to help prevent cancer in a dog, an owner should ensure that their dog has minimal exposure to herbicides, pesticides, solvents and cigarette smoke; use caution when treating dogs with some flea medications; provide a healthy, vitamin-rich diet (low in carbohydrates, high in vegetables) and plenty of exercise.





Craniomandibular Osteopathy   (CMO)

 Also known as "Lion Jaw", "Westy Jaw" or "Scotty Jaw", this condition of CranioMandibular Osteopathy is caused by excessive bone growth in the bottom jaw, usually occurring between four to seven months of age. Like Scottie Cramp, it is an autosomal recessive hereditary disorder, and can cause discomfort to the dog when it attempts to chew. The progression of the condition usually slows down between eleven to thirteen months of age, and is sometimes followed by a slow partial or complete regression. This condition has also been seen in other breeds of dog, such as the West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Boston Terrier, as well as some larger breeds such as Bullmastiffs. 


Now that a DNA test is available, we have tested all of our dogs for CMO.   They are all 'Clear'.


Cushing's Disease

Cushing's disease is caused by  the production of too much adrenal hormone.  Cushing's occurs for two reasons --- a tumor of the adrenal gland or a tumor of the pituitary gland. Adrenal gland tumors account for 15% of the cases of Cushings. Pituitary tumors account for the rest. Symptoms of Cushing's disease are increased drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, panting, and a whole list of others. Though the other symptoms are serious, most owners reach a point where the water consumption and urination become bothersome to them before they have their dog tested.


Liver Shunt

Liver shunts are a congenital problem in some dogs. It can cause the liver to not develop properly after birth.  It is typically not a life-threatening problem.  


Scottie Cramp
Scottie Cramp is a genetic disorder. It is not life-threatening, and does the least harm from the dog's viewpoint.  It is a recessive gene disorder, and both parents must pass the recessive gene to their off-spring.  



Females that are not to be bred should be spayed.  Though it is an invasive surgical procedure, this is relatively risk-free and is better for the long-term health of your dog.  Spaying is generally done after the age of 4 months, but before the first heat cycle.  Dogs spayed before their first heat cycle reduce their chances of mammary cancer to less than 1%.  Waiting until after a heat cycle increases the chances by 8 times that your female will get cancer.



Males should be neutered to control the marking of territory and aggressiveness.  Check with your vet to determine the best age, though most will want to perform the procedure at around 6 months of age.


Von Willenbrand’s Disease (vWD)

Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) is a genetic,  inherited bleeding disorder. This disease is caused by the lack of a clotting factor in the blood. Because of the deficient clotting of blood, dogs with vWD have excessive bleeding, and extended bleeding times.  Affected dogs, without treatment, can bleed to death during surgery, or what might be normally considered less-than-life-threatening injuries. An ear nick by a groomer, or loss of a tooth can be life-threatening in affected animals. A genetic DNA test will determine if a dog has vWD. DNA testing is the ONLY method that is 100% accurate for vWD.  We have tested every one of our dogs, so that we can be assured of producing puppies that do NOT inherit vWD.  Don't buy a Scottie from anyone unless you get proof that BOTH the sire and dam have been VetGen tested for vWD. We provide proof of vWD testing in writing !! Make sure you get it in writing !!

We have tested all of our dogs for vWD. They are all 'Clear'.



"The exact cause of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC)  in an individual dog is usually not known. In general, canine TCC results from a combination of several factors including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. A genetic predisposition is suspected because TCC is more common in specific breeds of dogs. Scottish Terriers have an 18-20 times higher risk of TCC than other dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs, Beagles, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are 3 to 5 times more likely to develop TCC than other dogs. Environmental factors identified as risk factors in early studies have included pesticides and insecticides such as "old generation" flea dips. The greatest cause of TCC in humans is smoking. Further study is needed to determine the extent to which second hand smoke may contribute to TCC in dogs."


Vaccination information........

Like your children, your puppy  needs preventive vaccinations to guard against disease.  We recommend that you vaccinate your puppy for each of these diseases - your vet can give you specific information about the schedule of vaccinations you should follow...   Or click this link -



Commonly known as Kennel Cough, this bacterial illness is most commonly found anywhere dogs gather (groomer, dog show, dog park, etc.). Your vet can provide a vaccine for this disease. 



This is a minor viral infection that does not, on it's own, present a major threat to your puppy.  However, if contracted along with another virus (such as parvo), can generate life-threatening symptoms.  An injectable vaccine is available to protect against coronavirus.  This is CANINE Coronavirus NOT Covid-19.



In the past, this was the most deadly of the viruses that your dog could have.  Though it is still viewed as a dangerous virus, an injectable vaccine is readily available to control it. 



Probably the most common (and feared) viral illness in dogs at the present time.  Puppies are the most susceptible to it, and it is extremely important that puppies are vaccinated for it during their initial round of shots.  This virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with another pet.  Affected pets can also leave the virus behind on grass and in the soil.  Parvovirus can live in the soil for YEARS !!   For this reason, we NEVER put  puppies down on the ground before we deliver your puppy to you. 



These vaccinations are required, by law, in all states. Some states allow for a 3-year rabies vaccination, while others require it annually.  Check with your vet to make sure your puppy is on the proper vaccination schedule.



The Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA) has an excellent webpage that discusses Scottie genetic issues… Click the link to visit….               

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