Health Testing for Adult Dogs and Puppies

The testing section of the website contains information on:

* Annual Health Testing for adult dogs

* Tests required prior to breeding

* Testing Puppies

* Post Mortem Requirements

Annually Testing your Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is very important, as it not only gives you a ‘snap shot’ on general health but also it can pick up early stages of the hereditary diseases, this is very important!

Yearly monitoring and keeping records of health tests undertaken at your vet will help you and your vet see any subtle changes from year to year.

Tests required prior to breeding are also important for the sire and dam. Annual blood and urinalysis monitoring; Eyes and Hips and Genetic tests should be undertaken to ensure the adult breeding dogs are fit and healthy at the time of mating. It is advised Breeder’s educate themselves on the diseases that can affect the Wheaten Terrier.

The Club of GB can also produce trial mating pedigrees for your proposed mating – contact the Health Team for information. Alternatively this can be undertaken by you on the SCWT Club of America Endowment pedigree and health database at the following link – SCWT DATABASE

Testing puppies has information of test which Breeders are advised to undertake

Post Mortem (PM) – the PM section has information on what is required should your dog sadly die of a known or possibly suspected hereditary disease as proper diagnosis is very important. The Club can also help Members with costs.


Annual Health Testing for Adult Dogs

The following tests are recommended for adult dogs (after 15-18 months of age) and should be undertaken annually, as well as prior to any mating.

Laboratory Tests – Information for Owners and Veterinarians
Blood and urine tests cannot predict whether a dog will develop these diseases, but they can determine whether or not a dog is clear of signs of disease, and establish baseline values for future comparison. Early detection can offer more choices for treatment and can often provide longer and better quality of life.

Your Vet can check for signs of diseases and can undertake blood and urine tests ‘in-house’, or they may use an external laboratory service.

Your Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier should be ‘fasted’ (i.e. should not eat eight hours before the blood test), otherwise spurious results may occur. Important – drinking water should be available at all times.

It is important the Vet tests for everything listed here:

1. Biochemical profile, including:

* Albumin (Alb)
* ALK Phos
* Calcium
* Globulin
* Glucose
* Creatinine (Cr)
* Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
* Cholesterol (Chol)
* Sodium (Na)
* Potassium (K+)
* Phosphorus (Phos)
* Total protein (TP)

2. Complete Blood Count

3. Routine Urinalysis, including:

* Specific gravity
* Dipstick
* Urinary sediment

4. Urine Protein/Creatinine Ratio

Vet Note: if PLN is suspected then please undertake a pooled urine sample (see information below)

If any results indicate RD, PLN or Addison’s Disease, your Vet can undertake the following tests:

Renal Dysplasia (RD)
* Abdominal radiographs/Ultrasound
* Final confirmation of RD, kidney biopsy (wedge, not Tru-cut).

PLN – Pooled UPC – Veterinary information
UPC varies daily, so ask owners collect three samples, as below:

1. A sample first thing in the morning for 3 consecutive days. If first thing in the morning is not possible, then it should be about the same time each day for the three days.
2. The samples should be saved separately in the refrigerator.
3. The owner should take the 3 separate samples to the Vet

Note: the owner should NOT pool them in one jar.

Vet: Take 1ml from each sample, mix the 3ml together gently, and send off the 3 ml mixture for one UPC determination which will be an average result of those 3 days.

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.

There is thought to be a predisposition in Wheaten Terriers for this disease
* ACTH stimulation test


Further reading for Vets: –

1. Comparison between Urine Protein: Creatinine Ratios of Samples obtained from Dogs in Home and Hospital Settings. M.E. Duffy, A. Specht, and R.C. Hill – J Vet Intern Med 2015;29:1029-1035

2. Key Researcher Professor Meryl Littman – August 2016 Recommendations Paper can be found at the following link – LittmanAugust2016paper

3. A document comparing the different diseases can be found at the following link – Disease Comparisons – Vets


What to do next?

* Make sure you test every year and have your veterinarian compare results

* Keep a copy of the results in a file at home so you can always refer back to them or provide them to a new veterinarian if you move

* Some people keep a spreadsheet on their computer with all the test results, this way you can monitor subtle changes as your dog matures. The Watchdog Health Tracker is available in the UK, via the Wheaten Health Initiative site, on this link  HealthTracker  (opens in new window)

Tests Required Prior to Breeding

Should you choose to breed your Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, it is recommended that both the sire and dam have the following tests carried out prior to mating (i.e. within the previous 12 month).

* Blood and urinalysis. The Club requires that as a minimum, the blood test should include Creatinine, Urea, Albumin and Total Protein.

If there are any signs of protein in the urine dipstick test, a follow up test should be carried out a week or two later. Should a second test still show signs of protein, then a urine protein/creatinine ration test is required.

Testing should be in accordance with the ‘Testing Protocols – Adult Dogs’. Your Vet practice should be able to undertake these tests. Please give your Vet the Testing protocols sheet and a copy of the Comparison Chart that can be found at the following links Testing Protocols & ComparisonChart SCWTCA&WHI


* Eye testing (eye test certificate carried out annually).
These tests are part of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Health Schemes. More information about the eye scheme itself can be found at the following link – BVA Eye Scheme.

You will also find a list of up and coming eye testing sessions on the BVA Eye Scheme link. This will help you find a location holding a session near to you. The BVA update this list every couple of months.


* Hip Score (this only need be undertaken once in a dog’s lifetime).
Most Vet practices undertake hip scoring and you will need to discuss with your vet about this. There is also more information on the BVA website.


* Genetic PLN-Associated Variant Gene Test (PLN) (this only need to be done once in a dog’s lifetime). These can be undertaken for either an individual dog or a litter.

The PLN -Associated Variant Gene Test can be carried out at either Penn Gen in the USA, or through Laboklin Laboratories in the UK. Please refer to the “DNA – Storage and Testing” section under HEALTH for more information on how this test can be carried out.


* Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) Gene test (this only need to be done once in a dog’s lifetime). These can be undertaken for either an individual dog or a litter. These tests are carried out by Laboklin Laboratories in the UK. Please refer to the “DNA – Storage and Testing” section under HEALTH for more information on how this test can be carried out

PLEASE NOTE: Laboklin Laboratories & The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB have negotiated a reduced rate with Laboklin if both the PLN and DM tests are taken at the same time. Please contact the Health Team here for information and forms specifically for this purpose.

Please note: Further information on Eyes and Hips are available under the HEALTH section of this website – go to the sub section called Conditions Affecting the Breed.

Health Testing - Puppies

Puppies’ body systems are immature and to undertake a complete blood and urinalysis before the age of 15 to 18 months could possibly produce spurious results. Therefore, unless a Vet specifically advises that a full blood and urinalysis is necessary, it is not required for such a young puppy.

Responsible breeders, prior to homing their puppies, undertake tests on their litters.
These may include:

Basic kidney function – This is a blood test taken at approximately 7-8 weeks of age to assess kidney function:

* Creatinine
* Urea (BUN)
* Phosphate (This is not usually significant if elevated in young, healthy growing dogs)

Eye test – At approximately 6-8 weeks of age a BVA approved Ophthalmic Vet, can check for retinal folds and other eye diseases. If you would like to know more about the eye tests themselves information can be found on the BVA website using the following link – BVA Eye SchemeYou will also find a list of up and coming eye testing sessions on this link. The BVA update this list every couple of months.

Post Mortem Requirements

Every Wheaten is an important link.

The kidneys of any Wheaten dying of kidney failure or anaemia should be sent to the University of Cambridge, as this is the only way of confirming RD. This should be done for any dog up to the age of 8 or so for RD. It does not mean a full post mortem for the dog.

If your dog is so ill that euthanasia seems likely and you are willing to have a post mortem, it is strongly advised that you provide your vet with this information in advance.


For renal dysplasia (RD) and protein losing nephropathy (PLN)
The tissue sample required is: –
– Two kidneys, cut in half, and preserved in 10x volume of 10% buffered formalin.

(If the death of the dog occurs at the weekend, the body should be refrigerated, never frozen and the samples taken on Monday for despatch to the University of Cambridge)

The following should be collected before euthanasia and sent with the other items:
– Blood: 5ml serum AND a maximum of 5ml in EDTA (anticoagulant).

If possible, a 5ml sample of urine from the bladder should be included:
– Urine: A sample of at least 5ml.

Please note: If there has been a presence of GI disease previous to clinically evident PLN, this could be a sign of both conditions (PLE and PLN). In this case intestinal samples should be included below.


For protein losing nephropathy (PLN) and protein losing enteropathy (PLE):

The tissue samples required are: –
– Two kidneys, cut in half, and preserved in 10x volume of 10% buffered formalin.

– Half-inch long sections of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum preserved in neutral buffered formalin solution.

Please Note: these samples should be taken within an hour or two after death due to rapid deterioration of the gut.

The following should be collected before euthanasia and sent with the other items:
– Blood: 5ml serum AND a maximum of 5ml in EDTA (anticoagulant).

If possible, the following should be included:
– Urine: A sample of at least 5ml.



The following details should accompany all post mortem samples:
* Name of dog (pet name and pedigree name)

* Date of birth

* Owner’s name and address

* 5 generation pedigree (contact the Health Team if you require a copy)

* Daily fluid intake and diet fed

* Dog’s approximate weight

* Copies of any tests (blood, urine etc.) done on the dog during its recent illness

* Any other information the owner/vet may think appropriate

All samples should be carefully packed and sent first class post to:

The University of Cambridge
Central Diagnostic Services
Department of Veterinary Medicine
Madingley Road

Tel: 01223 337625


Fax:01223 339090

It is advisable that your veterinarian notifies Cambridge that a sample is being sent for post mortem. As this is a new service, arranged following the closure of the AHT, we ask that you notify Kate Watkins ( ) OR Tracy Hammond ( ) so they can alert Cambridge Diagnostic Services that a Wheaten sample will be arriving.

The SCWT Club Health fund is available to help with post mortem costs in cases where inheritable disease may be present. The Club in return requires a copy of the post mortem report.

The post mortem report will be sent to the referring veterinary practice by Cambridge who will then relay the results to the owner of the dog. Owners are encouraged to tell their breeder of the results and to send a copy of the report to the SCWT Club for the Health files.