The Kooikerhondje, although a healthy breed, can be genetically prone to the diseases listed below. Due to the diligence of Kooiker enthusiasts around the world, these problems have been controlled through selective breeding. Testing is available for most problems, and we encourage all owners, even normal pet owners, to submit their dogs for testing so we may monitor and evaluate the health of the Kooikerhondje in the United States.
VON WILLEBRAND’S DISEASE (vWB)
VWD is a hereditary clotting disorder caused by a defect or deficiency of a blood clotting protein, called von Willebrand Factor, that is required for platelet adhesion. This condition makes those afflicted likely to bleed abnormally and severely. This can lead to potentially life threatening consequences in situations such as accidental injuries, spaying, or neutering.
HEREDITARY NECROTISING MEYLOPATHY (ENM)
ENM is a devastating disease still undergoing intense study. It is a recessive degenerative spinal disease, similar to multiple sclerosis in humans, with clinical signs beginning at three to 12 months old starting with paralysis in the hind legs. Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment, and will always results with the dog being euthanized. Read more…
Testing for vWB and ENM
1 Blood draw by your veterinarian following the directions on the form. Fill out your information on the form accordingly. Click Here to download the form.
2 UPS/Fedex to the address in the Netherlands on the form (mark ENM +/- VWD) together with the blood. If you had sent blood for VWD testing you can mail or fax the form only.
3 The bill will be send from the laboratory at the University to the Dutch Kooiker Club and the subsidized amount will be taken of. The bill will be sent to you by mail or email.
4 Pay the bill by wire transfer or your preferred money transfer. The amount is listed on the first attachment with the information about ENM testing.
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. This is a hereditary defect, although it has been documented to also be caused by malnutrition and over-exercise. Kooikerhondjes, as well as all dogs mixed or purebred, are susceptible to this structural defect. It is prevented through selective breeding, by use of a licensed canine orthopedic specialist’s diagnosis. The official evaluation normally occurs after 12 months, once most of the growing is done, however you may have your dog inspected earlier by a veterinarian for symptoms. Find out more on the Orthopedia Foundation for Animals’ (OFA) website.
Like patella luxation, all dogs mixed or purebred are susceptible to hereditary eye abnormalities and deformations such as cataracts or retinal dysplasia. It is important to have your dog examined by a board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist and registered with CERF, the Canine Eye Registration Foundation. Examinations can take place at any stage in your dog’s life, however certification is only good for 12 months from the date of the eye exam. Annual re-examination is recommended.
Epilepsy is a disease where a dog has epileptic seizures. There are several types of seizures that are seen, and many times the owner isn’t even aware of the problem. An epileptic seizure is the clinical manifestation of abnormal brain activity in the cerebral cortex. These abnormalities can create seizures that vary from the mild “petit mal” to the generalized, full body “grand mal.” Epilepsy in canines is classified into two types: Idiopathic (also known as Primary) and Secondary. In Secondary epilepsy, a specific cause for the seizures is discovered, such as ingesting toxins or hypoglycemia. We now speak specifically about idiopathic epilepsy, which is diagnosed when there is no known cause for the condition, and assumed to be inherited. This disease can only be avoided by careful selective breeding.
An autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of one or more muscles resulting in loss of functionality and muscle weakness in the affected areas. Myositis is a progressive form of the disease with a very poor prognosis. We see two groups. A group of relatively young dogs with swallowing or eating problems. The second group of dogs are young to middle age and have more or musculoskeletal problems or even the combination with swallowing problems. Symptoms: Depending on the location and shape myositis, the most common symptoms are: reduced endurance, muscle weakness, swallowing problems, fever, total exhaustion, no will to play or walk, lameness, stiffness, walking with curved back, salivation, vomit, and lack of appetite.
Because many symptoms are also features of other disorders, this condition is often difficult to recognize. If left undiagnosed, myositis is lethal; if diagnosed early, available treatments are immunosuppressants and steroids. Kooikers with myositis seem to pass away at 3 or 4 years of age after being diagnosed. Myositis can be inherited or caused by infections, autoimmune diseases and toxins It can be misdiagnosed as Myasthenia Gravis by veterinarians. To make a definitive diagnosis a muscle biopsy by a qualified veterinarian is necessary.
Caused by immune-complexes that have become deposited in the glomerulus or have formed in-situ initiate glomerular damage. Immune mechanisms also take part in the pathogenesis of glomerular.
Inflammation in Familial glomerular diseases (known in Bernese Mountain dog, Bull Terrier, Cocker Spaniel (especially English), Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland, Chinese Shar-pei, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier). No gender predisposition has been found. Affected dogs may be asymptomatic or they may have non-specific signs of disease (weight loss, lethargy), or present with signs consistent with chronic renal failure or uremia (polyuria, polydipsia, anorexia, vomiting, malodorous breath), other signs can be fluid retention (abdominal enlargement consistent with ascites, subcutaneous edema) or thromboembolism (dyspnea, decreased or absent peripheral pulse, loss of limb function). Protein found in the urine is most likely but renal biopsy definitive for the diagnosis. Owners and veterinarians should watch out for high blood pressure. Therapy consists of immunosuppression and is mainly symptomatic. Mode of inheritance in the Kooiker is unknown.
A condition of the hip joint in which the bones are not properly formed, resulting in a loose hip socket to thighbone connection causing pain and lameness ranging from mild to crippling. This can be cause by an inherited structural defect or environmental variable such as obesity and physical over-exertion. Like Patella Luxation, Hip Displaysia can be screened for. Ask a qualified to x-ray your dog and submit the results to OFA or Pennhip. Both are regarded to be equivalent means of evaluation. Although Hip Displaysia is not a prevalent problem in the breed, it is always good to test for so we may avoid problems with future generations.