Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers have been found to have a higher frequency of certain serious diseases than other breeds.
The Key Veterinary Researchers recommend that owners test their Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers annually for evidence of:
A condensed information sheet on hereditary diseases and testing, by Dr Littman (July 2019) is avalable on this link (pdf opens in new tab)
A reminder to owners should be given that the dog should be ‘fasted’ (not eat eight hours before the blood test), otherwise spurious
results may occur, but drinking water should be available at all times
Biochemical Profile to include:
||Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
|Total protein (TP)
- Complete Blood Count to include Cytopenias and Eosinophilia.
- Routine Urinalysis, including:
- Specific gravity
- Urinary sediment
- Urine Protein/Creatinine Ratio
If there is an indication of Protein loss, a pooled urine test could be undertaken, as follows:
Information for Vets - Pooled UPC:
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 he same time each day for the three
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
A genetic test is now available for PLN - further details on the Genetic testing pages
(In North America, your client may also ask you to run a urine test for Microalbumin using the MA Test through Antech Labs or the ERD Test available through IDEXX Labs; or arrange for a Fecal Alpha-1 Protease Inhibitor (Fecal API) test through the lab at Texas A & M University). Further information available on SCWTCA Endowment Inc. Web site.
Recommedations Concerning Protein Losing Nephropthy (PLN) in SCWT by Professor Meryl Littman August
Standards of Care for Proteinuria by Dr Shelly L. Vaden on this link (pdf - opens in new tab)
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - IRiS website
Comparison between Urine Protein:Creatinine Ratios of Samples obtained from Dogs in Home and Hospital Settings. Use this link. M.E. Duffy, A. Specht, and R.C. Hill – J Vet Intern Med 2015;29:1029-1035
For further information and advice please contact:
Meryl Littman, VMD, DACVIM, Professor Emerita of Medicine (Clinician-Educator), University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, who led the research into PLN in Wheatens for decades, created “Recommendations Concerning Protein-Losing Nephropathy (PLN) in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers".
Dr. Littman has retired from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine but is available for paid consultations. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelly Vaden, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Professor Internal Medicine, North Carolina State University is available for consultation ONLY with veterinarians. If you wish a consultation contact her at email@example.com
Renal Dysplasia (RD)
- Abdominal radiographs/Ultrasound
- Final confirmation of RD, kidney biopsy (wedge, not Tru-cut).
ACTH stimulation test
Note the differences and similarities between these diseases.
Source: 1999 ACVIM PROCEEDINGS: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier PLE-PLN;
Meryl P. Littman VMD DACVIM, Philadelphia PA
Other important laboratory findings:
Low total protein
Elevated serum creatinine
Elevated Urine Protein Creatinine Ratio Very important!
Elevated serum creatinine
Remember: diagnosis of PLE/PLN, RD, or Addison’s is dependent on evaluating everything – test results, clinical signs and symptoms – so do not assume one “bad” item
means your dog has these diseases.
Dr Shelly Vaden, ACVIM, North Carolina State University and Dr Meryl Littman, ACVIM (Retired), University of Pennsylvania state that:
“Research suggests that any dog with UPC ratio in excess of 0.4 and no evidence of urinary tract infection should be closely monitored for the
development of glomerular disease. This finding should be of particular concern in any breed of dog that is known to have familial glomerular diseases, such as the Wheaten Terrier.”
It is strongly recommended that owners should make contact with the breeder, so that positive steps can be taken to inform owners of litter mates and/or progeny.
WHI would like to thank: Dr Allenspach, Dr Littman and Dr Vaden and the ©Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America (SCWTCA – visit www.scwtca.org) for their kind permission to reproduce this information