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Health & Medical

Health & Medical Research Committee: Chair - Sheila Sweet

This page is dedicated to addressing health issues in the Alaskan Klee Kai, and providing owners with information to help with decision-making regarding their dog’s health. To many breeders, information presented on this site might be common knowledge, but to the pet owner who is not into breeding, this information is being offered as a guideline to assist you in taking care of your dog.

It is extremely important that you find a veterinarian in whom you have confidence and trust, and with whom you can develop a strong working relationship for the health of your dog.  If you find a veterinarian that makes you feel uneasy or one that you just do not feel comfortable treating your dog the way you would like, you should search for one that DOES meet your requirements.  If the veterinarian that you have chosen meets your requirements, and truly wants to work with you, then you have made an excellent step toward maintaining the health of your AKK.


On occasion, your veterinarian may ask you for suggestions as to what to do in the event questions may arise about any known health issues in the Alaskan Klee Kai. Much of the information that is circulating in the AKK world may be based on word of mouth rather than on factual data. Therefore, when asked this question by your veterinarian, suggest that the veterinarian follow whatever procedure or protocol would be appropriate if the patient was NOT an AKK, and to follow his/her instinct if this was a different breed that presented with this situation. Then work with the veterinarian to find the answers for your dog’s health.


Should your dog have any health issues, please share them and the laboratory results, treatment and outcome with the Health & Medical Research Committee via email or by posting to the AKK Health Page on Facebook.

Health Guidelines for the Alaskan Klee Kai Puppy

  •  At age 3 to 7 days of life, dewclaws are removed and a basic health exam is performed by a qualified veterinarian. (a few breeders remove them on their own pups)

  • At 6-8 weeks of age, a health assessment is performed, and includes eyes, ears, mouth (teeth), lungs, heart, testicle status (males only) and check patellae bilaterally (refer to the Patellar Luxation section in OFA area).

  • Vaccinations should be given according to your veterinarian’s schedule. However, do not allow the veterinarian to give both the rabies vaccine and the last set of puppy shot together because a reaction may occur. There have been reports from several AKK owners whose puppies experienced a reaction when this occurred.

  • De-worming should be done on all puppies. However, follow the recommendation of your veterinarian for a schedule of dosing and frequency. If you live in those areas of the country that do not have the weather to support the usual intestinal parasites, your veterinarian may advise you that routine worming is not necessary. This is particularly true in the Southwest and other desert areas, and routine stool samples for fecal parasite testing provides helpful information. Heartworm testing should be done on the puppy prior to starting on heartworm medication before 6 months of age. However, if the mother has been on year-round heartworm preventative medication, and you are in that part of the country where heartworm is not present, your veterinarian may advise you that testing may not be necessary prior to starting medication. Those living in areas where venomous snakes reside may want to consider vaccinating against snake bite. Please follow your veterinarian’s advice.

2021 AKK Health Survey

AKKAOA is looking for owner and breeder feedback regarding general health issues that are being seen in the breed. This information will help AKK breeders identify the issues in an effort to eliminate them from the breed. AKKAOA will also use this information to help tailor our future General Membership Meeting topics to be most relevant to our current member’s needs. This survey is very informal and should take no more than 2-5 minutes per dog you are willing to share information about. Even if your dog is completely healthy with no issues, please take the time to share.

Current plan is to keep this survey going long term and continually update the data over time in an attempt to see any particular trends with the breed.

Known Concerns



Wholesome nutrition is key to maintaining healthy immune function and resistance to disease. Focus on the basic ingredients and trace vitamins, minerals, and immune balancing nutrients that promote healthy endocrine and immune function as they apply to health and disease. Reference: ...

Vaccine Issues

Modern vaccine technology has permitted us to protect companion animals effectively against serious infectious diseases. However, the challenge to produce effective and safe vaccines for the prevalent infectious diseases of animals has become increasingly difficult...

Thyroid Disease And Autoimmune Thyroditis

Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of dogs, and up to 80% of cases result from an autoimmune disease that progressively destroys the thyroid gland (autoimmune thyroiditis). When more than 75% of the thyroid...


FVII Deficiency

Several hereditary bleeding disorders have been identified in many different canine breeds and involve clotting (coagulation) factor deficiencies, platelet disorders, and ...

Blood Work and Other Health Screenings

Laboratory Values and What They Mean

Questions have arisen from AKKAOA members, and other AKK owners as to what blood work should be routinely measured on the Alaskan Klee Kai and what do the different values really mean? Of concern to some AKK people is liver disease, specifically, elevated ALT. Some owners have raised questions about the occurrence of thyroid disease, as well as questions about the potential for kidney disease in the Alaskan Klee Kai. 


When checking for possible liver disease in my dog, what blood work should I get and why?

A Liver Panel, consisting of ALT (alanine aminotransferase), AST (aspartate aminotransferase), GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase), AP (alkaline phosphatase), albumin, and TP (Total Protein) should be obtained. Remember that everything that enters the blood stream will pass thru the liver one or more times, and can influence test results. These include bacteria, antibiotics, food, hormones, etc.

ALT is elevated during infection, inflammation, antibiotic therapy, and liver pathology, among others. A laboratory value of greater than 3 times the upper limit of normal (Reference range of 10-100) [a value of > 300] would indicate that further study is necessary to find the cause. It does not mean there is liver disease, as there is not enough information based on this one value and one laboratory parameter alone.


AST can be elevated because of age, obesity, ...

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