Miniature Bull Terrier Health By Deb Guerrero Miniature BullTerrier
The Miniature Bull Terrier is a very sound, healthy canine, but as with all purebred dogs, they are susceptible to cer- tain diseases. Regular checkups by your veterinarian, along with keeping all shots updated, and awareness of the owner of any changes in temperament or in activi- ty, will help ensure the health of your dog. Lens Luxation In The Miniature Bull Terrier A mutation responsible for the devel- opment of lens luxation in many breeds of dogs has been identified by a team of researchers led by Gary Johnson DVM PhD at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The DNA test for this mutation is now available through the partnership with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Lens Luxation is an eye problem well known in many Terrier breeds, Chinese Cresteds , Australian Cattle Dogs, Tibetan Terriers, and other breeds. The lens is held in place in the eye by fibers known as zonules. If these zonules break or dis- integrate, the lens can fall out of place, or luxate. When this happens it often requires immediate veterinary attention to remove the displaced lens. Lens luxa- tion can cause secondary glaucoma, which also leads to pain, loss of vision, and sometimes loss of the entire eye. A simple DNA test will reveal if a dog is NORMAL (has 2 normal copies of the gene), a CARRIER (has one normal copy and one mutated copy of the gene) who will not develop lens luxation but could pass the mutation on to offspring, or AFFECTED/AT RISK (has 2 mutated copies of the gene). Wise use of this test gives breeders a tool to avoid producing individuals at risk of developing lens lux- ation, while still retaining many other desirable traits in their dogs. Heart - The issue of heart disease in Miniature Bull Terriers is primarily seen in the form of congenital heart disease. The two forms commonly seen are Mitral Valve Dysplasia and Sub-aortic Stenosis. Heart disease can either be congenital (dog was born with it) or acquired (a problem occurring later in life).
Mitral valve dysplasia presents as a "leaking" valve between the two cham- bers of the heart, the left atrium and left ventricle. Usually the mitral valve does not shut completely which causes the blood that should be pumped entirely into the aorta to supply the body with oxygenated blood from the left ventricle; to leak back into the left atrium. The result is a murmur. It is called Mitral Regurgitation. When the mitral valve is narrowed, it is difficult for the blood to leave the left atrium. This is called Mitral Stenosis. Dogs with this condition can be affected mildly or severely. Most dogs can live active normal lives, but with age the condition can worsen and they can die of heart failure. Sub-aortic Stenosis is the narrowing of the aorta, the major artery carrying the blood supply away from the heart. The condition leads to pulmonary edema which results in left-sided heart failure. There are several tests your veterinarian can perform to screen for these condi- tions, x-ray series of the chest, ECG or electrocardiography to measure the heart's electrical activity, and a cardiac ultrasound or echocardiography. Many reputable breeders test their dogs with cardiac color Doppler ultrasound for very accurate diagnosis. Kidney - In Miniature Bull Terriers it is divided into three forms. The first is renal dysplasia which results in kidney failure. The disease causes the kidney's cells to develop improperly, resulting in nonfunctioning kidneys. The second form is Hereditary nephritis. This is also fatal, but with a slower progression. Research has not been able to determine a specific age to test for because it can range in age from as early as 2 years up to 8 years. The best prevention (until DNA testing becomes available) is testing breeding dogs every year for Urine- Protein/ Urine-Creatinine Ratio. The most recently discovered kidney disease is Polycystic Kidney Disease. You may also hear it as PCKD. It is very common to be seen in conjunction with heart valvular
problems. Currently, the most reliable diagnosis is made from an ultrasound of the kidneys. Skin - Some Miniature Bull Terriers, par- ticularly white Miniature Bull Terriers, may have skin problems. Some dogs respond well to dietary changes of a more natural-type foods or raw with few or no chemical additives. Others may require allergy testing along with long-term treat- ment of antibiotics, steroids, food change and possible allergy injections. Deafness - Miniature Bull Terriers along with other breeds carry the deafness gene. It can affect both colored and white Miniature Bull Terriers. Dogs can be totally deaf (Bilateral deafness) or can have hearing in one ear (Unilateral Deafness). BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) testing is the only way to be certain that your dog can hear properly from both ears. In this test a computer is used to record the electrical activity of the brains response to sound stimulation. A sound stimuli, a series of clicks, is passed though headphones placed over the dogs ears whilst record- ing electrodes are placed on the dogs neck just behind the head. Compulsive Behaviors - Compulsive behaviors, including spinning, tail biting, and flank sucking have been observed, all of these behavioral disorders are related. Affected dogs can show several of these behaviors, and you can see multiple litter- mates affected with different behaviors. Tail chasing is the most common form of compulsive disorder expressed by Miniature Bull Terriers. Tail chasing is a repetitive behavior that is expressed as slow to rapid circling with the dog's attention directed with no apparent focus on the tail. Dr. Alice Moon-Fanelli of Tufts University is steadily seeking owners that are willing to donate blood from their purebred Miniature Bull Terriers for a study that will hopefully lead to the cure for “spinning”/ obsessive-compul- sive disorder (OCD) which is highly prevalent in the breed. ■
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE • J UNE 2011 • 163
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