Health is a significant importance to both owner and the breed in general. Your dog's health is significant to the time and effort to maintain a high quality of life for you and your dog. For dog fanciers, the breeders and the STCA, health takes on even more import. Scottish Terrier breed health is consequence of the collective actions of all past and current breeders and determines the current success and future of the breed.
This section covers a spectrum of health related topics including:
Common genetic health issues for the Scottish Terrier - including information for both breeders and owners
The Scottish Terrier Health Trust Fund which is a non-profit (501c3) organization within the STCA that:
Collects information on the health of the breed
Selects, awards and reviews research projects investing health issues in the breed
Collect money to fund these projects (please Donate!)
The STCA Library (ScottiPhile) which is collection of articles written about various health issues and healthy procedures.
Health registries which are repositories for tracking various health attributes. Registries strive to collect information on one or more diseases or health characteristics. Ideally the particular attribute is measured with a rigorous evaluation methodology or test. Depending on the registry, the information is then made available to everyone (open) through just those who contribute (closed). The goal of registries is provide a comprehensive picture of the health of the breed to facilitate the breeding process.
The 2005 Health Survey was a census conducted with STCA members, Scottish Terrier breeder and owners. The article contains basic evaluation of this data.
Scottish Terriers, like all living creatures, are subject to congenital, hereditary, and acquired health disorders. Thanks to antibiotics and vaccines, most of the problems that result from these causes can be treated effectively. The most serious health problems your dog will face are genetic. Scotties are fortunate to have few serious genetic problems compared to other breeds. Responsible breeders are working hard to manage these problems in the Scottie Gene pool. Here is some information about the most common genetic health problems seen in the Scottish Terrier. These are not in any particular order in either frequency or seriousness.
Scottie Cramp is the most wide-spread hereditary disorder in the breed and it is also the least serious, from the dog's point of view. Affected dogs are normal at rest and exhibit normal ability to walk until they are stressed. Common stimuli are exercise, hunting, fighting, or courtship. As the dog's level of stress increases, his gait begins to change. The forelegs move out to the side and forward rather than straight forward, called winging. The spine in the lumbar area may arch and the rear legs begin to over flex. If the excitement or exercise continues, the dog begins to exhibit a "goose-stepping" gait. If the dog is running, he may somersault and fall. Severely affected dogs may find their ability to walk or run completely inhibited. This is not a seizure. There is no loss of consciousness. As soon as the stimulus abates, the symptoms disappear almost immediately. The severity of symptoms in affected dogs varies widely as does the amount and type of stimulation necessary to elicit clinical signs. The symptoms appear to be caused by a buildup or depletion of some chemical compound in the dog's central nervous system, most probably serotonin. In layman's language, the signal from the brain telling the dog how to run gets garbled in transmission on its way to the various muscles. The Scottie's muscles are not cramping and he is not experiencing pain. He has just temporarily lost the ability to coordinate his movements. Scottie Cramp is present from birth, but it often takes the eye of an experienced breeder to spot it. Affected dogs soon learn to anticipate the onset of cramping and abruptly stop running or playing. By the time such a puppy is grown, he may never exhibit any signs at all. Similarly, an affected dog with a very laid-back personality is less likely to exhibit symptoms than a more hyperactive Scot. Scottie Cramp is a permanent condition, but it does not worsen with age. Nearly all dogs affected with Scottie Cramp make perfectly wonderful companions, able to share virtually all activities with their families. Treatment is seldom necessary but, in severe cases, Vitamin E, Diazepam and Prozac have all proven to be effective.
Von Willebrand's Disease
Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) is the name given to a group of similar inherited bleeding disorders that occur in humans, pigs, dogs and rabbits. VWD is usually less clinically severe than hemophilia and is inherited as an autosomal trait. This means that it can be transmitted equally by and to both sexes. Carriers are asymptomatic but affected dogs may exhibit any of the following symptoms:
Excessive bleeding when the nails are cut too short
Severe bleeding during surgery
Bleeding from the nose or gums, particularly during teething
Bleeding from the vagina or penis
Hematomas on the surface of the body, limbs or head
Lameness from bleeding into the joints
Stillbirths or neonatal deaths with evidence of hemorrhage at autopsy
Chronically infected and bloody ears
Prolonged bleeding during the heat cycle or after whelping
Bleeding in stools or urine
A simple DNA test to detect Von Willebrand's Disease is now available from Vetgen. Go to Vetgen's page on VWD and Scottish Terriers!
Cushing's Syndrome is a collection of symptoms caused by an excess of a hormone called cortisol. There are three main causes of Cushing's Syndrome: a tumor on the pituitary gland; a tumor on the adrenal gland; or veterinarians who over-prescribe corticosteroids to treat itching skin. It is, as yet, unknown whether there is an inherited predisposition to Cushing's Syndrome in Scottish Terriers.
He is drinking huge amounts of water and urinating frequently
He is losing coat
His skin is darkening
His muscles are atrophying and he develops a pot belly
If your vet finds the following four symptoms, your Scottie probably has Cushing's Syndrome:
The dog is drinking copious amounts of water and urinating frequently.
The dog has an elevated SGPT.
The dog has an elevated alkaline phophatase level
The dog's ratio of urinary cortisol to urinary creatine is greater than 24
Cushing's Syndrome is usually treated successfully with a drug called Lysodren. Surgery is rarely recommended and radiation therapy, used in humans, is very expensive and rarely available for dogs.
Hypothyroidism is an underproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Abnormal loss of coat (often bilateral and symmetrical), poor coat condition, fading of coat color
Chronic skin disorders and infections, skin allergies, dry or scaling skin
Intolerance of cold
It is important to determine the exact cause of your dog's hypothyroidism before embarking on a course of treatment. Your veterinarian must run a full thyroid panel and have the blood tested at a laboratory which uses canine thyroid values. Do not be tempted to start thyroid treatment without proper veterinary supervision. The balance of the endocrine system is critical to your dog's health and you can cause an otherwise healthy thyroid gland to atrophy by giving medication improperly.
Seizures may be caused by a number of conditions, including low blood sugar, brain tumor, heat stroke, poison, nutritional deficiency and distemper. Classic or idiopathic (meaning "of unknown cause") epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures with no active underlying disease process occurring in the brain. This form of epilepsy is not usually seen until a dog is mature, usually between three and five years of age. In a typical seizure, the dog will salivate excessively. There is usually dilation of the pupils and stiffening of the limbs. The dog may arch its back and paddle its legs. Frequently, the dog's temperature will spike up three to five degrees. Urination or defecation may accompany or follow the episode. Seizures usually last only a minute or two, but severely affected dogs may have longer and more frequent episodes. Dogs who have infrequent seizures do not require treatment. When treatmen is required, phenobarbital, dilantin and primidone are frequently used. In recent years, there seems to be an increase of reported seizures in Scottish Terriers. While some of the increase may be due to environmental hazards, inherited epilepsy has definitely made inroads into the Scottie gene pool.
Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO) is an inherited disorder characterized by an abnormal growth of the bone of the lower jaw. CMO usually appears between four and seven months. A puppy with CMO usually pulls away, flinches or screams with pain when his mouth is examined, depending on the severity of the disease. Other early symptoms are lethargy, fever and unwillingness to eat. An acutely affected puppy may be unable to open his mouth but mild cases may be misdiagnosed as teething problems or virus symptoms. An accurate diagnosis of CMO requires X-ray confirmation. CMO is nearly always treatable. Mild cases respond to aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or while acute cases may require the use of steroids such as prednisone or prednisolone. Fortunately, as the dog matures, the abnormal bony growth abates and is often undetectable in the adult dog, even by radiography.
To date, liver shunts have been reported in fewer than a dozen dogs but there are several lines that have displayed the problem. Most of what we know about liver shunts comes from research done on Yorkshire Terriers, a breed where this problem is widespread. While we know that the problem is inherited, the mode of inheritance is unknown. Vets at the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine have been working trying to answer this question with a colony of Yorkies with repaired liver shunts but have been unable to get any of the bitches pregnant. The Scottish Terrier Club of America is now looking into the possibility of developing a DNA test to detect the carrier status of this problem. Liver shunt can be difficult for a breeder to recognize but is easily diagnosed with a bile acid test. Affected puppies are normally small and unthrifty. After eating, they can exhibit bizarre behavior caused by a buildup of ammonia in the bloodstream. Surgery can normally correct the condition, depending on the location of the shunt, but it's not always completely effective and it's very expensive, often running into thousands of dollars. Geneticists recommend that dogs who produce liver shunt should not be bred again and that the siblings of an affected dog should also be spayed/neutered.
To date, only a few Scotties have been affected by juvenile cataracts. In Miniature Schnauzers, congenital juvenile cataracts are caused by a simple autosomal recessive gene- so it is likely that this is the case in Scotties. In other words, both parents must be carriers. Careful breeding can help limit, or even eliminate this from Scotties.
Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) is an inherited disorder causing death of Purkinje cell in the cerebellum. The disorder is seen in several canine breeds and other species including humans. In the Scottish Terrier, the disorder has an median onset of 7 months. The disease often has progressive deterioration in gait, but not in all cases.
Generally, the affected dogs appear normal when walking. However, they show hind limb ataxia when going up or down stairs. As the disease progressed, owners report dogs show noticeable gait abnormalities in all 4 limbs. It becomes progressively more difficult for dogs to negotiate stairs and they lose contol of their pelvic limbs when running.
The assumed mode of transmission is an autosomal recessive trait. However no gene or genes have been isolated to cause the disorder.
1995 STCA Health Survey
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
HEALTH SURVEY STATISTICAL REPORT
Number of Surveys
Number w/o disease
Number w/ disease
LITTER SURVEY STATISTICAL REPORT
Number of Surveys
Number of Litters
Number of Pups
Number of Stillborn
Disease Prior to 12 wks
Died prior to 12 wks
2005 Survey Introducton
The following article, which discusses responses to the 2005 Health Survey, is raw data. The reader is strongly cautioned that the results here presented represent a unique snapshot of a small number of dogs reported upon by a small number of owners at a particular moment in time. The results may or may not hold true for the larger population of all Scottish Terriers or for any dogs of other breeds. While the observations reported may hold true in the overall population of Scottish Terriers, no probability calculations have been done.
/s/ Louis A. Mitchell, M.D. Chairman, STCA Health Trust Fund
Using a compare and contrast format, this report provides an update to the article “Report On The State Of Health Of The Scottish Terrier” written by Susan Martin for the 1995 survey. Additional reports may be commissioned by the STCA Health Trust to look further into the survey data in the hopes of developing a complete understanding of the health of our breed.
The Data Transformation Process
As was the case in 1995, every member of the Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA), U.S., Canadian, received a copy of the 2005 Health Survey. The Health Trust sent 50 sets of the survey forms to each regional club for distribution to non-STCA members. These local clubs were also encouraged to have members give copies to puppy customers, grooming customers and anyone they knew who owned a Scottie. The 2005 Health Survey forms were also posted on the STCA Website where anyone could download a complete set of forms and instructions.
Similar to the process used in 1995, everyone was instructed to send their completed survey forms to Leah Deckner who was designated as the blind recipient for all survey responses. In an effort to maintain complete privacy, Leah stripped the envelope and any incidental material from each survey. Groups of survey forms were then boxed and mailed to Jim Orsborn. Upon receipt, each stack of survey forms was numbered and prepared for processing.
[Ed. Because each survey response was totally anonymous, it is not possible to track any problems by geographical distribution. However, because a unique record number has been assigned to each set of survey forms it may be possible to correlate some Health and Litter Survey data with information on the General Information forms (e.g. litters by STCA Members versus non-members). However, this does NOT mean that it will be possible to link any survey data to either kennel names or to individuals submitting the survey data.]
All of the survey responses were recorded in a database program, called FileMaker Pro, which is a full functioned, relational database application. For this project, FileMaker’s biggest advantage was the ease with which the user interface (data entry pages) can be designed so that they mimic each of the survey forms. Data transcription errors have hopefully been minimized because both the paper and the computer input forms were almost identical. Figure 1 below shows an example of how closely the data entry form for the General Information survey resembles the actual survey form.
Figure 1. FileMaker Pro Data Entry Screen
Although the initial data recording went very well, it was necessary to make sure that the resulting data package was as accurate as possible. So once the data was recorded, a second pass through the survey forms was performed to check for errors. This second pass was not a full review, but rather a sample check of approximately 10% for the survey forms. When reviewing the following tables be aware that everyone did not return a complete set of survey forms. In several cases, respondents also failed to answer all questions. There were also instances where the answer to one question (e.g. the number of dogs listed on the General Information form) did not match the data provided on other forms (e.g. dogs listed on the Health and Illness form). The process of transcribing data from the handwritten paper forms into a computerized database requires an interpretation of each response and there were some responses that had to be reformatted. When transcribing the survey data, a consistent process was used that did not intentionally modify any of the responses while recording data. It should be noted that all numerical values were converted to a consistent unit (e.g. months versus years) for each question.
Transcribing the Health and Disease Survey forms involved a unique set of challenges beyond the obvious difficulty of reading and interpreting the handwritten inputs. The full database file turned over to the Health Trust includes each response as transcribed from the original forms. In order to provide an initial report on the data, the data needed to be organized into categories. Working with Dr. Marcia Dawson, who helped develop the Disease and Illness list which accompanied the 2005 Survey, each response was assigned to one of these categories. The complete data set clearly identifies the original response and the illness category code that it was assigned to. It was impossible to fit some problems into an established category, those problems have been listed as “unclassified” in the following analysis.
2005 Survey Owner/Breeder
The number of responses to the 2005 Health Survey was roughly equivalent to the response to the 1995 survey. Table 1 below provides a high level summary of the records that are included in the database delivered to the Health Trust. Specifically, surveys were received from 487 different individuals, but 7 of them involved either Litter or Health and Disease surveys that did not have an associated General Information form, so there are 7 blank entries in this portion of the database. Although there were a total of 203 Reproductive Information forms recorded in the database, there are 20 of these forms that have a litter count of zero, meaning that these individuals are not really Scottie breeders with experience pertinent to the other areas of the form. And finally, there were Litter survey forms received from 73 different sources, but 5 of these sources had all of the litters they submitted eliminated from the survey because the whelp date that they provided was outside on the two year window specified in the survey instructions.
The Owner/Breeder Survey actually spans two survey forms; the General Information form and the Reproductive Information form. The following tables are grouped into categories of similar questions.
General Information Survey Data:
Table 2 shows a comparison between the 1995 and the 2005 survey in terms of the numbers of responses and some of the demographic type information. There were roughly the same number of responses to both the 1995 and the 2005 survey. Responses to the 2005 survey included 272 that indicated they were a member of the STCA and 243 that were a member of a Regional Scottish Terrier Club. Although it is not shown in the table, 171 of the responses were from individuals that are a member of both the STCA and a Regional Club. It should also be noted that 135 responses (27.7%) indicated that they were not a member of either the STCA or a regional club
Table 2 also compares years of experience and numbers of Scotties owner by each respondant. With roughly the same number of surveys being submitted, the 2005 data shows owner experience (e.g. an average of 21.1 years that they have owned Scotties) was up by 23% over the numbers reported in 1995. At the same time, the number of Scotties (e.g. an average of 2.8 Scotties per response) was down 9% overall and 12% in the average survey household. Future analysis of the survey data may choose to investigate some of these changing demographics and the impact that they may have on breed health and education objectives.
Table 3 shows the types of activities that individuals are participating in along with their Scotties. Similar data was not presented in the 1995 survey, so it is not possible to offer a comparison. In this instance, the data suggests that the vast majority of respondents consider their Scotties to be companions. Many of the “Other” activities also include non-AKC event activities such as Therapy Dog, walking and running companion, rescue and just plain “pet.” This may be an area where further analysis of the data using statistical techniques may be able to shed some additional light. Even knowing the spread and variation in STCA membership across the various activities could be interesting.
Table 4 provides some insight into the age statistics of our breed. While the number of dogs and the average number of dogs in each household are down slightly from 1995, there does not appear to be any information to suggest a change (either positively or negatively) in terms of the average lifespan of Scotties. I need to point out a significant problem, both with the design of this question and the analysis of the data. First, more than one respondent obviously had a problem with the question because they included the ages of living dogs in their response – it is my understanding that only deceased Scotties should be included in a lifespan analysis. Secondly, from a purely mathematical (or statistical) standpoint it is not proper to average a number that is already an average – the results of this calculation do not produce an answer with clear meaning.
[Ed. In those cases, (where it was clearly obvious) the author did not record an answer that pertained to living dogs in the household. A low number (like 3 years) was included if it was related to the age at death of a Scottie. This is an example of where this low number (for one dog) was recorded as an equal to another household that responded with an answer of 10 years that represented many dogs.]
As an alternative to the General Survey question, a look at the Health and Disease data for deceased dogs provides a much more specific answer to the average lifespan question. The data shows a total of 266 deceased dogs, with an average lifespan of 10.7 years with maximum and minimum values of 17 and 0.8 years respectively.
Table 5 reports on the responses to two related questions on the survey. Both questions asked for information on whether individuals had either bred or owned Scotties in the past two years that exhibited six specific traits and genetic diseases. A comparison with data from the 1995 survey was not possible because that survey did not include a similar question. Furthermore, the numbers from the 2005 survey do not in all cases agree with the data obtained from the Health and Disease survey. Specifically, there were only 30 dogs with Scottie Cramp and 22 dogs with CA included in the more detailed Health survey. It is difficult to tell whether those individuals who answered this question included only dogs they owned in the last two years of if they may have included all dogs that they have ever owned.
Table 6 addresses the use of heartworm preventatives among Scottie owners. While the numbers of owners that reported using a monthly heartworm preventative appears to have increased, the usage among breeders with active breeding stock appears to have dropped.
Table 7 provides data on those diseases that respondents reported as their foremost concern; either among their own dogs or within the general Scottie population as a whole. The answers to these two survey questions were obviously based on opinion and not fact. The two answers often had some similarities, but overall they included some significant differences. In the first case, many of the issues listed in the first response were also listed by these owners in their responses to the Health and Disease Survey questions, so there was definitely some correlation between “My major health concerns” and the diseases that were reported for individual dogs in the health survey. I would also point out that an answer of “Cancer, cancer, cancer” was counted only once in this section, while each dog with cancer in the health & disease section was counted individually.
Another difference between these two lists is the appearance of several non disease issues in the list of major Scottie health issues. Specifically, there were references to the STCA standard and various breeding practices as being a major health issue.
The STCA is deeply indebted to Susan Morris, Gail Gaines and Gayle Grantham for their tireless contributions in selecting, cataloging and providing a unique service we have known for many years as ScottiePhile. The ScottiePhile service has helped many Scottie owners over the years by delivering this collection of articles on important diseases and conditions in the breed. Furthermore, countless Scottie owners seeking answers to their health questions have turned to ScottiePhile and have found a personal health librarian to help guide their search.
Our Health Library now stands on the shoulders of Susan, Gail and Gayle's ScottiePhile, and moves forward in a new format. The articles are now directly available for reading and downloading, and more articles will be added as they become available.
Remember that the search button at the top of this page does search all the articles on this site. It is an efficient method of locating all articles on a particular topic.
These articles are available for personal and educational purposes only, and all authors and publication sources must be credited per copyright laws.