Report On The State Of Health Of The Scottish Terrier
Prepared By The Education And Health Committee October 1995
Based On A Health Survey For The Period January 1, 1993 To December 31, 1994 by Susan Martin, Survey Coordinator
Thanks are due in so many areas and we will start with the Education and Health Committee and the Health Trust Fund for their support, vision and funding of this project. Next come the regional club liaisons for their local push to reach many non-members. Russ and Mary Lou Somma volunteered the paper, copier and time to run off 1500 sets of the survey (7,500 sheets of paper!) that saved the Health Trust Fund hundreds of dollars. We believe that having the responses sent to an outside source, Jennie Willis of the Cairn Terrier Club of America, gave people the confidence to be open in their responses. Thanks, Jennie. Dr. George Padgett of Michigan State University worked with us on preparing the survey and collated the data for his lecture at Montgomery County. He will write an article for the next Bagpiper on these findings. But most of all, we thank all of you who took the time to sit down and fill out the survey. Without your confidence in us, this venture would not have been possible. And thank you for your kind notes. They let me know how much you love this breed in general and your dogs in particular and kept me going during some long, tedious days at the computer.
Last but not least, I must thank my husband, Bill. He folded and licked, set up the data base, sorted the results and generally gave encouragement and hand-holding throughout.
When the Health Trust Fund was established in October 1994, one of its stated purposes was to investigate health problems. Since you must start with a foundation to build anything, it was decided that a survey would be the beginning for building better health in our Scotties. We must know precisely what our problems are and the intensity of those problems.
To this end, we constructed the health survey. The litter survey was added to give data on litter size, survival and disease prevalence in newborns. And to make this an all-encompassing effort, we added the owner/breeder survey for general information on breeding practices, longevity and diet.
Every member of the Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA), U.S., Canadian and Foreign, would receive a survey, 694 in all. Also included were the 94 Bagpiper subscribers. Much to our delight, the Canadian Scottish Terrier Club indicated that they would like to participate and made a donation that would cover the extra postage to their members. That was another 68 surveys. The total for individual mailings was 856. Additionally, each regional club received 20 sets for distribution to non-members. Local clubs were also encouraged to have members give copies to puppy customers, grooming customers, anyone they knew who owned a Scottie.
Tracking the responses was limited because of our effort to maintain privacy. We could not trace certain problems, say skin disorders, by geographical distribution. We could not tell if some problems were more prevalent in the central states than on either coast. Maybe next time.
What we do know is the response from our membership and this was beyond our expectations -41.35%! This also shows an excellent return from non-members, which means that the regional clubs did an excellent job in getting the surveys out. Everyone seemed willing to share their experiences with us in order to establish a healthier breed.
Using a data base program, the statistics were entered for each Scottie reported. If there sometimes seems to be a discrepancy between the numbers, that is because not everyone answered every question on each dog. At times, especially on the health forms, it was impossible to fit the problem into one of the established categories and those became listed as unclassified.
The reporting period for dogs owned and litters born was set for a two-year time frame, January 1, 1993 to December 31, 1994. Any longer time frame would likely be too daunting an undertaking and we feared that we would lose responses. The last two years could be recalled without too much difficulty and we also felt that this would offer greater accuracy . We believed that this would give us a good picture of the current status of the breed. The owner/breeder portion of the survey, being of a more general nature, was for all Scotties ever owned by the respondent.
A total of 467 surveys were returned in this area. The following statistics are grouped into categories of ownership and membership, breeding practices and complications, longevity, and medication.
Years owned Scotties
Scotties currently owned
Member Regional Club
The following information deals with litters and breeding practices. Of the 278 people that said they have had at least one litter, the average breeder has had 7.5 litters and an average total of 33.9 puppies. This produced an average litter size of 4.52. When asked the average size of their litters, the figures worked out to 4.01 puppies per litter. Compare this to the average litter size from the litter survey of 4.22, you can see that all these figures are very similar. This indicates the reliability of this information. The largest litter size was 10 (reported 5 times, one of which was a litter of ours) and the smallest was the single "only child."
The average age for breeding a bitch for the first time was 2.03 years and the last time at 5.43 years. Of the 162 people reporting Caesarian sections, they estimated they had C-sections 40% of the time. Uterine inertia occurred 217 times for 93 breeders. These may be the same people who experienced a higher number of C-sections. Eclampsia, Mastitis, Pyometra or Metritis and Ruptured uterus occurred 16, 43, 92 and 13 times respectively.
One hundred fifty-three people reported missed breeding for an estimated 25.4% of misses to pregnancies. The average bitch came into season for the first time at 8 months and 3 weeks, with the earliest being 7 months and the latest at 10 months and two weeks. The average frequency of seasons was six months and two weeks.
The majority of owners assisted their bitches in whelping (220 yes to 17 no) and routinely spayed bitches when no longer being bred (212 yes to 30 no). The numbers were a little closer regarding neutering males when no longer being used at stud (126 yes to 67 no). The average at which they would neuter a male was 7.4 years.
Of the 278 owners who have had a litter, over half (146) have experienced stillborn pups. One hundred eight reported fading pups and 60 speculated they have had reabsorbed pups. Interestingly, this was not guesswork on the part of two breeders; it was confirmed by ultra sound. Technology pulls us into the future every day.
The typical lifetime of our dogs is 11.2 years, pretty much where we have always thought the lifespan to be at 10 to 12 years. And the average oldest is 13.2 years. The oldest dog noted was 19 years of age.
Heartworm medication was not as controversial as I thought it might be. Owners use one form or another 358 yes to 82 no, with the majority using the monthly medication 304 to 56 for the daily. Seven people used both the monthly and daily for their animals, daily for breeding stock and monthly for the others. While the use in stud dogs was high (128 yes to 16 no), the use in bitches in whelp was much closer at 86 yes to 75 no.
Heartgard Plus 32
Filaribits Plus 9
All others <5
When it comes to dog food, you use them all! There were 63 different brands of food listed for adult and puppy dry diets. The top brands for adults, listed in the order of their usage, are Science Diet, Nutro Max, Iams, Pedigree, Pro Plan, Natures Recipe, Purina, Eukanuba and Ken L Biskit. The top brands for puppies are Purina, Science Diet, Iams, Nutro Max, Pedigree, Pro Plan, Eukanuba and Natures Recipe. The list for canned diets was overwhelmingly led by Pedigree for both adults and puppies. This was distantly followed by Mighty Dog, Science Diet and lams. Many people added extras to these diets. Most popular were vegetables, chicken, home cooking (rice, pasta, meat, etc.), and yogurt.
The list of supplements is almost as long as the list of dog food. Toping the list is Pet Tabs, vitamins (no brand listed), specific vitamins (E, C, D), brewers yeast, In and Derm Caps. For bitches in whelp we add Pet Tabs and vitamins, plus calcium, cottage cheese, raspberry leaves, eggs and liver most frequently. All other brands of dry and canned food and supplements were listed 10 or fewer times.
There were 19 brands of food listed as causing problems. Needless to say, for everyone that successfully feeds a major brand of food, it has caused a problem for someone else. This just indicates how individual each dog's digestive system is. Science Diet was almost exclusively used as a prescription food for health problems. Few people add anything to their dog's drinking water but those that do, use: bottled water, filtered water, cider vinegar, Oxy Fresh and lemon juice.
Hypersensitivity and intolerances ranged from grains (wheat, soy, com) to meat, fish and vegetables. Lactose, copper and fat were also indicated as causing problems.
The health survey is the biggest part of the survey and it includes the most data. There were 471 health forms returned from 287 members and 184 non-members. This included information on 1540 dogs, 772 of which reported at least one health problem and 768 who reported no health problem.
Males – 602
Females – 927
Black – 317
Black – 512
Brindle – 257
Brindle - 364
Wheaten – 27
Wheaten – 51
Health problems were reported in 140 categories, plus 51 problems which we were unable to diagnosis or classify. Our goal in this portion of the survey was to confirm what we have theoretically believed to be problems with our Scotties. The following areas of concern were randomly named at an Education and Health meeting, June 1994, at the Chicago specialty:
OWNER/BREEDER SURVEY RESULTS
How many years have you owned Scotties? 17.6 yrs avg. (8,196 yrs total)
How many Scotties do you currently own? 3.2 avg. (1,492 total)
Are you a member of the STCA? 269 yes 198 no
Are you a member of a Regional STC? 230 yes 237 no
How many litters have you bred? 7.5 avg. (2,103 total) Total number of puppies? 33.9 avg. (8,303 total) Average size litter? 4.01 Largest Litter? 10 Smallest litter? 1
How many stud dogs to you own? 1.4 Brood bitches? 2.1
At what age do you normally breed a bitch for the first time? 2.03 yrs. Last time? 5.43 yrs.
How many Caesarian sections (%) do you have? 40% (162 responses)
How many bitches have you had experience uterine inertia? 217 Eclampsia? 16 Mastitis? 43 Pyometra or Metritis? 93 Ruptured uterus? 13
Have you had bitches with erratic seasons? 93 Silent seasons? 50
Have you experienced missed breedings? 153 yes. Percent of misses to pregnancies 25.4
At what age in months do your bitches normally first come in season? 8 mo. 3 wks Earliest? 7 mo Latest? 10 mo 2 wks Average frequency of seasons? 6 mo 2 wks
Do you assist your bitches during whelping? 220 yes 17 no
Do you routinely spay bitches when they will no longer by bred? 212 yes 30 no
Do you neuter your males when they will no longer be at stud? 126 yes 67 no At what age? 7.4 yrs
Have you experienced stillborn pups? 146 yes 86 no Fading pups? 108 yes 120 no Reabsorbed pups? 60 yes 168 no (two of the yeses report confirmed with ultra sound)
What is the average lifetime of your dogs? 11.2 yrs Oldest? 13.2 yrs (19 yrs oldest reported)
Do you use heartworm preventative? 358 yes 82 no Monthly or daily? 304 mon 56 dai Brand name? 135 Heartgard 88 Interceptor 32 Heartgard Plus 20 Filerabits 9 Filerabits Plus <5 all others
Do you use this preventative in breeding stock? 157 yes 20 no Bitches in whelp? 86 yes 75 no Stud dogs? 128 yes 16 no