Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD)

is a fatal immunodeficiency disease found in Irish Setters. The condition is caused by mutation in a gene encoding a leucocyte surface molecule, leading to a dysfunction of the granulocytes. Therefore, the cell-cell adhesion events are disturbed. Because their healing capacities are impaired, the affected dogs show severe infections of omphalophlebitis, skin infections, osteomyelitis and gingivitis. They die early in life from multiple severe infections, even if treated with massive doses of antibiotics.

  CLAD is an inherited autosomal recessive trait. This means that a dog can be clear (homozygous normal), affected, or a carrier (heterozygous). The carriers can spread the diseased gene in the population. Therefore, reliable information on non-affected dogs is the key to controlling this disease.

This is a mutation-based gene test, which offers many advantages over other methods

The genetic defect leading to this disease has been identified. By DNA testing, the responsible mutation can be identified directly. This method ensures that the test result is highly accuracy and can be applied at any age. It offers the possibility to distinguish not only between affected and clear dogs, but also to identify clinically healthy carriers. This information is essential for controlling the disease within the breed, as carriers are capable of spreading the disease to next generations, while it can not be identified by means of common laboratory diagnostic. If a particularly valuable dog turns out to be a carrier, it can be bred to a clear animal, and then the non-carrier puppies can be saved for the next round of breeding. But given the lethal nature of this disease, it is the best to select against carriers who are not superlative dogs in order to entirely eliminate the gene from the line within two or three generations

Hip Dysplasia

To understand hip dysplasia we must have a basic understanding of the joint that is being affected. The hip joint forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body and is a ball and socket joint. The ball portion is the head of the femur while the socket (acetabulum) is located on the pelvis. In a normal joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. To facilitate movement the bones are shaped to perfectly match each other; with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The ligament attaches the femoral head directly to the acetabulum. Also, the joint capsule, which is a very strong band of connective tissue, encircles the two bones adding further stability. The area where the bones actually touch each other is called the articular surface. It is perfectly smooth and cushioned with a layer of spongy cartilage. In addition, the joint contains a highly viscous fluid that lubricates the articular surfaces. In a dog with normal hips, all of these factors work together to cause the joint to function smoothly and with stability.

Hip dysplasia is associated with abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. As joint laxity develops, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint is called a subluxation, and this causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces. Most dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips but due to their genetic make-up (and possibly other factors) the soft tissues that surround the joint develop abnormally causing the subluxation. It is this subluxation and the remodeling of the hip that leads to the symptoms we associate with this disease. Hip dysplasia may or may not be bilateral; affecting both the right and/or left hip.

What are the symptoms of hip dysplasia?

Dogs of all ages are subject to hip dysplasia and the resultant osteoarthritis. In severe cases, puppies as young as five months will begin to show pain and discomfort during and after exercise. The condition will worsen until even normal daily activities are painful. Without intervention, these dogs may eventually be unable to walk. In most cases, however, the symptoms do not begin to show until the middle or later years in the dog's life.

The symptoms are similar to those seen with other causes of arthritis in the hip. Dogs often walk or run with an altered gait. They may resist movements that require full extension or flexion of the rear legs. Many times, they run with a 'bunny hopping' gait. They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning. They may also have difficulty climbing stairs. In milder cases dogs will warm-up out of the stiffness with movement and exercise. Some dogs will limp and many will become less willing to participate in normal daily activities. Many owners attribute the changes to normal aging but after treatment is initiated, they are surprised to see a more normal and pain-free gait return. As the condition progresses, most dogs will lose muscle tone and may even need assistance in getting up.


Von Willebrand's disease

Von Willebrand's Disease is a common inherited bleeding disorder.

Clotting is a complex mechanism. In addition to platelets, clot formation is the result of a long chain of chemical reactions carried out by individual molecules called 'clotting factors.' Each factor is numbered such that factor I leads to a reaction with factor II forming a new substance. This then reacts with factor III and so on to factor XII.

In Von Willebrand's Disease, the dog is missing a substance, which helps the platelets form clots and stabilizes Factor VIII in the clotting process. This substance is called 'Von Willebrand's factor.' Because of the deficient clotting of blood, dogs with Von Willebrand's disease have excessive bleeding upon injury. This would be similar to hemophilia in humans.

Certain breeds have a higher incidence of vWD than others. German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, and Scottish Terriers all have a higher than normal incidence, showing that it can be inherited.

Excessive bleeding is the main symptom. Bleeding generally occurs after a wound or surgery. In these cases, the blood simply does not clot in the normal time, and bleeding is extensive. Dog's with Von Willebrand's disease may also develop nosebleeds, or bleeding from the gums. Bleeding may also occur in the stomach or intestine in which case the stool may either have blood in it, or be black and tarry. Some dogs will have blood in their urine. Bleeding into the joints also occurs, which can cause symptoms similar to those of arthritis.

The diagnosis of Von Willebrand's is made through a test, which checks for the level of Von Willebrand's factor in the blood.

These dogs, without treatment, can bleed to death following surgery, or what might be normally considered less than life threatening injuries.

Transfusions with blood collected from normal dogs is the only proven way to treat Von Willebrand's disease. Some dogs with Von Willebrand's disease also are hypothyroid - meaning they have lower than normal levels of thyroid hormone. These dogs will benefit from thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

Some studies have been done which suggest a drug called desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) may help dogs with a bleeding episode. The drug can be administered intranasally (into the nose) to increase clotting. There is still some controversy over whether this treatment is effective.

There is no cure for Von Willebrand's disease. Prevention through eliminating affected individuals from any breeding program is the goal of veterinary medicine today. Tests are available to determine which dogs may have this trait. All individuals with a history of this disorder in their backgrounds should be tested.

CERF stands for Canine Eye Registration Foundation

CERF was started by a group of owners and breeders who were concerned about the loss of quality in the lives of their dogs due to heritable eye diseases.  Working in conjunction with cooperating Veterinary Opthamologists, CERF was established with the goal of eliminating heritable eye disease in dogs.

CERF maintains a registry for dogs tested by certified ACVO (American College of Veterinary Opthamologists) opthamologists for major heritable eye disease.  Its mission is two-fold.  It offers immediate and thorough feedback on the condition of the eyes of any particular dog, which is valuable for breeding information.  It also accumulates data, all the results are compiled and used by researchers to study possible trends.

CERF tests for a large variety of conditions and diseases -

Category A

Eyelids:, Entropion, Ectropion, Distichiasis ,Ectopic cilia, Eury/Macroblepharon

Category B

Third Eyelid:, Cartilage anomaly/eversion, Prolapsed gland

Category C  

Cornea: ,Corneal dystrophy-epithelial/stromal, Corneal dystrophy-endothelial, Inherited/Pannus, Exposure/Pigmentary Keratitis

Category D

Iris: Iris/Ciliary Body Cyst, Iris Coloboma, Persistent pupillary membrane iris to iris, Persistent pupillary membrane all others, Iris Hypoplasia

Category E  

Lens: Punctate cataract*significance unknown

Category F Vitreous:, Persistant hyloid artery, Vitreous degeneration syneresis, Vitreous degeneration ant chamber

Category G Fundus:, Retinal dysplasia-folds, Choroidal hypoplasia, Staphyloma/Coloboma, Retinal hemorrhage, Micropapill

CERF tests are annual exams.  Each test result is separately listed on the CERF form and all the results are looked at as a whole in order to determine whether the dog will pass.

CERF testing is very helpful to breeders - it provides a wealth of information about their dogs.  It's largest drawback has been it's accessibility.  Many kennels are in remote country and there are no permanent Veterinary Opthamologists nearby.  Hopefully the demand for these specialists will cause an increase their number.

General Thyroid Information

Autoimmune thyroiditis is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in dogs. The disease has variable onset, but tends to clinically manifest itself at 2 to 5 years of age. Dogs may be clinically normal for years, only to become hypothyroid at a later date. The marker for autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroglobulin autoantibody formation, usually occurs prior to the occurrence of clinical signs. Therefore, periodic retesting is recommended.

The majority of dogs that develop autoantibodies have them by 3 to 4 years of age. Development of autoantibodies to any time in the dog’s life is an indication that the dog, most likely, has the genetic form of the disease. Using today's technology only a small fraction of false positive tests occur.

As a result of the variable onset of the presence of autoantibodies, periodic testing will be necessary. Dogs that are negative at 1 year of age may become positive at 6 years of age. Dogs should be tested every year or two in order to be certain they have not developed the condition. Since the majority of affected dogs will have autoantibodies by 4 years of age, annual testing for the first 4 years is recommended. After that, testing every other year should suffice. Unfortunately, a negative at any one time will not guarantee that the dog will not develop thyroiditis.

The registry data can be used by breeders in determining which dogs are best for their breeding program. Knowing the status of the dog and the status of the dogs lineage, breeders and genetic counselors can decide which matings are most appropriate for reducing the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis in the offspring.

Dogs should not receive any type of thyroid supplementation for 3 months prior to thyroid testing.


This site was set up to assist those that are looking to add an Irish Red & White Setter to their family.

We are not responsible for any referral or the content of any sites that are linked from this site. 

It is the responsibility of you as the prospective new owner to research and verify all potential issues caused by owning a puppy.


This site was set up to assist those that are looking to add an Irish Red & White Setter to their family or do activities with the one they already have.

We are not responsible for any referral or the content of any sites that are linked from this site.

Copy Right February 2011

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