It’s easy to admire the dashing good looks, wiry strength and playful nature of the Scottish terrier. This immigrant from the Scottish Highlands is a generally fit breed with a life span of 11 to 13 years. You can help promote good health in your Scottie throughout his life by providing a nutritious diet, proper grooming, adequate exercise and regular veterinary checkups and vaccinations. A few potentially negative genetic issues inhabit Scottie DNA, however, and may predispose your pet to certain diseases.
Scottie cramp shows up as a gait disturbance that occurs when an affected dog is stressed or overly excited. The condition is actually a misfire of signals from the brain telling the muscles how to function, rather than painful cramping. Symptoms appear in early puppyhood and last throughout the dog’s life, but they vary in intensity from dog to dog. Signs include “winging” of the front legs while running, whereby the legs move out to the side during a stride rather than frontward. Your pup may somersault head over heels as he runs if the condition affects his back legs. Dogs generally develop their own self-treatment for this overall benign condition by stopping the activity that brings on the symptoms, according to the Scottish Terrier Club of America.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Von Willebrand’s is an inherited blood-clotting disorder that can cause abnormal or profuse bleeding. Mar Vista Animal Medical Center notes that Scotties are among the breeds at higher risk for this genetic malfunction. Symptoms include heavy bleeding with minor injuries such as a nail trimmed too short, excessive bleeding during surgery and blood in the urine. A blood test or DNA swab during your Scottie’s first checkup with the vet will identify whether your pup has or carries the gene marker for this disorder. Bleeding time tests performed before surgery such as neutering or spaying help your vet diagnose or rule out bleeding disorders like von Willebrand’s.
CMO is a painful condition resulting from abnormally rapid growth of the lower jaw. With symptoms typically beginning between ages 4 and 7 months, severely affected dogs often experience extreme pain during mouth examinations. Your pup may refuse to eat or become listless due to discomfort. Vets often treat this condition with anti-inflammatory medication or steroids. Diagnosable only with X-rays, the Scottish Terrier Club of America notes that symptoms of CMO generally resolve as puppies grow, leaving them with normal-appearing jaws and few, if any, residual effects.
The Pet MD website says the Scottie is prone to developing patellar luxation or trick knee. This occurs when the kneecap slips out of place for a time and prevents the knee from straightening out as it normally would. If your pup runs with a skipping gait or tends to carry a hind leg off the ground as he strides, your vet may consider patella luxation as the culprit. Prolonged luxation causes a dog to walk with his knees bent at all times, which brings on other painful conditions, including arthritis. Surgery is necessary if his kneecap doesn’t slip back into place quickly or if it continues to dislocate.