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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: to check specific brands of food.

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. In veterinary medicine, evidence implicating vaccines in triggering immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis) is compelling. While some of these problems have been traced to contaminated or poorly attenuated batches of vaccine that revert to virulence, others apparently reflect the hosts genetic predisposition to react adversely upon receiving the single (monovalent) or multiple antigen “combo” (polyvalent) products given routinely to animals.

Animals of certain susceptible breeds or families appear to be at increased risk for severe and lingering adverse reactions to vaccines.

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 gland is destroyed by the process of thyroiditis, classical clinical signs of hypothyroidism appear. Because autoimmune thyroiditis is heritable, it has significant implications for breeding stock.


Accurate diagnosis of the early stages of autoimmune thyroiditis offers important genetic and clinical options for prompt intervention and case management. However, it is often difficult to make a definitive diagnosis.


FVII Deficiency

Several hereditary bleeding disorders have been identified in many different canine breeds and involve clotting (coagulation) factor deficiencies, platelet disorders, and von Willebrand disease. Coagulation factor VII (FVII) deficiency has been known to occur in Beagles for decades, and there are a few reports of FVII deficiency in the Alaskan Malamute, Bulldog, and a mixed breed dog. Very recently hereditary FVII deficiency was identified in a bleeding Alaskan Klee Kai dog and its family, as well as unrelated asymptomatic Alaskan Klee Kai dogs. A DNA test to identify the mutation responsible for FVII deficiency in Alaskan Klee Kai dogs was developed at the University of Pennsylvania.


Dogs with hereditary FVII deficiency may exhibit an increased bleeding tendency following trauma or surgery or rarely appear to develop spontaneous bleeding. There are few reports of severe bleeding requiring blood transfusions, and some FVII-deficient dogs may remain unrecognized. As this is an autosomal recessive disorder, the diseased/mutant gene (allele) may be unknowingly passed on through generations not only via asymptomatic carriers but also affected dogs, as they may not show obvious signs. Carriers have one mutant and one normal gene and appear clinically normal, but they can pass the defective gene to their offspring. 


Knowing which dog is a carrier or normal (clear) will allow the targeted breeding of carriers with desirable traits to normal dogs without ever producing affected dogs, as long as the offspring are also tested and only clear dogs used thereafter. With a breed of this size you cannot afford to neuter all animals with a mutant gene, as you want to preserve their desirable traits and the gene pool.

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