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Scottish Terrier Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Scottish Terrier

Start your Scottish Terrier off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Scottish Terrier Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Scottish Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Scottish Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Scottish Terrier are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Scottie will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Scottish Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Scottish Terrier be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Scottish Terrier? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Scottie suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Scottish Terrier

Complete list of Scottish Terrier health problems

Several severe blood-clotting diseases occur in Scottish Terriers, which can make injuries or surgeries life-threatening.

Blood-clotting diseases come in all shapes and severities. Unfortunately, the severest form of von Willebrand's disease AND the severest form of hemophilia (hemophilia B) both occur in Scotties.

Epilepsy (seizures) is an increasing concern in Scottish Terriers.

Tumors and cancers are another problem in the breed. Specifically, bladder cancer (transitional cell carcinoma) is 18 times more common in Scottish Terrier than in any other breed. Other cancers also occur in Scotties, such as lymphosarcoma, melanoma, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Endocrine system diseases are a concern, especially Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 12% of Scottish Terriers have low thyroid levels. Addison's disease and diabetes occur occasionally.

Allergies (which cause itchy skin and often lead to pyoderma) are very common in all terriers. More serious skin diseases (demodectic mange and sebaceous adenitis) have been reported in Scotties.

Orthopedic diseases should be expected because of the breed's deformed build (short legs, long back). Most common are hip dysplasia, luxating patella (loose knee joints), and intervertebral disk disease.

Other serious orthopedic diseases in Scottish Terriers include Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO), and Wobbler's syndrome.

Eye diseases include cataracts and lens luxation.

Other health issues in Scottish Terriers include heart disease (pulmonic stenosis), liver shunt, cerebellar ataxia, myasthenia gravis, cystinuria, and inherited deafness.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease in Scotties, where the lungs become chronically inflamed and scarred and breathing becomes labored. It appears around 9 years old and the prognosis is very poor.

Let's talk about Scottie Cramp.

The most common inherited disease in Scottish Terriers is an odd neuromuscular disease called Scottie Cramp.

In Scottie Cramp, the signal from the brain that tells your Scottie how to walk or run gets "garbled" on its way to the muscles. One theory is that affected dogs may not have enough of a chemical compound (the best guess is serotonin) that acts as a neurotransmitter.

When messages from the brain to the legs become garbled, the result is bizarre spastic movements of the legs.

In an affected Scottie, you'll see the first symptoms at 2-18 months old when a puppy who gets excited suddenly begins throwing his front legs to the side, instead of straight forward. He may arch his back and launch into a high goose-step. Or he may find himself completely incapacitated because his leg muscles alternately stretch and flex so that he can't go anywhere.

The good news is that this is not a seizure disorder, nor does it seem to be painful, i.e. your puppy's muscles don't really "cramp" the way our own muscles cramp.

During an episode of Scottie Cramp, the puppy just can't coordinate his movements. When the excitement is over, or when he stops trying to gallop around, he returns to normal very quickly.

This is an intermittent disorder and the severity of symptoms varies widely from dog to dog, as does the amount and type of stimulation that brings on an episode.

There's no cure for Scottie cramp, but many affected dogs learn to anticipate the onset of symptoms and stop running or playing before they occur. By the time such a puppy is grown, he may never exhibit any signs at all. Similarly, an affected Scottie with a laid-back personality is less likely to exhibit symptoms than a more hyper individual.

So Scottie cramp, although distressing to watch and certainly no fun for your dog to experience, isn't life-threatening nor does it usually end up destroying the dog's quality of life.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Scottish Terrier in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.