Health of the Keeshond

While you greatly increase your likelihood of having an unaffected puppy by purchasing from a breeder who tests their dogs, there is no way a breeder can 100% guarantee that a puppy will not have these conditions. Other factors like diet, exercise and injury can cause some of these diseases and orthopaedic issues. 

Some common health issues which you would want to make sure your breeder has screened for prior to breeding would include:

Hip Displaysia

Elbow Displaysia

Patellar Luxation

Eye Certification

PHPT (Primary Hyperparathyroidism)

The following information has been copied from the OFA site.

Hip Displaysia: 

Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation.

The very first step in the development of arthritis is articular cartilage (the type of cartilage lining the joint) damage due to the inherited bad biomechanics of an abnormally developed hip joint. Traumatic articular fracture through the joint surface is another way cartilage is damaged. With cartilage damage, lots of degradative enzymes are released into the joint. These enzymes degrade and decrease the synthesis of important constituent molecules that form hyaline cartilage called proteoglycans. This causes the cartilage to lose its thickness and elasticity, which are important in absorbing mechanical loads placed across the joint during movement. Eventually, more debris and enzymes spill into the joint fluid and destroy molecules called glycosaminoglycan and hyaluronate which are important precursors that form the cartilage proteoglycans. The joint's lubrication and ability to block inflammatory cells are lost and the debris-tainted joint fluid loses its ability to properly nourish the cartilage through impairment of nutrient-waste exchange across the joint cartilage cells. The damage then spreads to the synovial membrane lining the joint capsule and more degradative enzymes and inflammatory cells stream into the joint. Full thickness loss of cartilage allows the synovial fluid to contact nerve endings in the subchondral bone, resulting in pain. In an attempt to stabilize the joint to decrease the pain, the animal's body produces new bone at the edges of the joint surface, joint capsule, ligament and muscle attachments (bone spurs). The joint capsule also eventually thickens and the joint's range of motion decreases.

No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. There are multiple environmental factors such as caloric intake, level of exercise, and weather that can affect the severity of clinical signs and phenotypic expression (radiographic changes). There is no rhyme or reason to the severity of radiographic changes correlated with the clinical findings. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic radiographic changes that are severely lame.

Grades Source - http://www.offa.org/hd_grades.html


Elbow Displaysia: 

The Three Faces of Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow of dogs. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:

1. Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)

2. Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)

3. Ununited anconeal process (UAP)

Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.

Grades Source - http://www.offa.org/ed_grades.html

Patellar Luxation:

What is Patellar Luxation?

The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial or lateral position.

Bilateral involvement is most common, but unilateral is not uncommon. Animals can be affected by the time they are 8 weeks of age. The most notable finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible, and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot can be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.

Patellar Luxation Categories

Patellar luxations fall into several categories:

1. Medial luxation; toy, miniature, and large breeds

2. Lateral luxation; toy and miniature breeds

3. Lateral luxation; large and giant breeds. 

4. Luxation resulting from trauma; various breeds, of no importance to the certification process.

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are either known to be heritable or strongly suspected.

Medial Luxation in Toy, Miniature, and Large Breeds

Although the luxation may not be present at birth, the anatomical deformities that cause these luxations are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation. Patellar luxation should be considered an inherited disease.

Clinical Signs 
Three classes of patients are identifiable:

1. Neonates and older puppies often show clinical signs of abnormal hind-leg carriage and function from the time they start walking; these present grades 3 and 4 generally. 

2. Young to mature animals with grade 2 to 3 luxations usually have exhibited abnormal or intermittently abnormal gaits all their lives but are presented when the problem symptomatically worsens. 

3. Older animals with grade 1 and 2 luxations may exhibit sudden signs of lameness because of further breakdown of soft tissues as result of minor trauma or because of worsening of degenerative joint disease pain.

Signs vary dramatically with the degree of luxation. In grades 1 and 2, lameness is evident only when the patella is in the luxated position. The leg is carried with the stifle joint flexed but may be touched to the ground every third or fourth step at fast gaits. Grade 3 and 4 animals exhibit a crouching, bowlegged stance (genu varum) with the feet turned inward and with most of the weight transferred to the front legs.

Permanent luxation renders the quadriceps ineffective in extending the stifle. Extension of the stifle will allow reduction of the luxation in grades 1 and 2. Pain is present in some cases, especially when chondromalacia of the patella and femoral condyle is present. Most animals; however, seem to show little irritation upon palpation.

Grades Source - http://www.offa.org/pl_grades.html


CERF‚Äč (Canine Eye Registry Foundation)

CERF is a national eye registry for dogs that have been screened for genetic eye diseases. This exam is done by a veterinary ophthalmologist. A CERF exam is one test that needs to be performed annually on dogs as eye issues can develop as the dog ages.  A CERF exam screens for things such as entropian, retinal folds, etc.

Source and public database - http://www.vmdb.org/cerf.html


PHPT - Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Please take a look at the following article regarding PHPT in the Keeshond, written by Cathy Gaggini Bosnic - http://www.vet.cornell.edu/labs/goldstein/PHPTArticles.pdf

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of PHPT testing that has been completed and compiled in the UK - http://www.keeshondclub.co.uk/healthmatters/phpt-open-registers/

Another link to information regarding PHPT - 

http://www.keeshondclub.co.uk/healthmatters/breed-health/phpt/

Epilepsy

There is an increasing incidence of Epilepsy appearing in the breed, and many people are working on finding a genetic marker to help with screening for this devastating disease.

http://www.keeshondclub.co.uk/healthmatters/breed-health/epilepsy/

Alopecia

Alopecia is a skin disorder that is most commonly found in spitz and Northern breeds, including the Keeshond.

http://www.keeshondclub.co.uk/healthmatters/breed-health/alopecia/


Important Health Links:

OFA - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals - http://www.offa.org/

CHIC - Canine Health Information Centre  - http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/chicinfo.html