Monday, October 28, 2013

Health Issues in the Shikoku Ken

I've been working on a much larger compendium of the health issues seen in all the Japanese breeds, but since that is turning into a small book, I'll start with health problems that I have personally seen in the Shikoku.



Panosteitis (possibly other joint & pain related issues as well)
Hip Dysplasia
Split or abnormal heats
Allergies
Entropion
Luxating Patella
Male Infertility
Pyometra

Unknown neural disorders

I have listed the issues I have seen, in the order of frequency that I have seen them. Hip dysplasia may be out of place on the list. The frequency may be more related to the fact that it is tested for in most all of the Shikoku outside of Japan.

A young Shikoku diagnosed with HD

Ever since I became interested in the Shikoku, I have seen and heard of a very nebulous issue that here in Japan they call 神経痛 'Shinkeitsuu' which basically translates to 'nerve pain'. It is usually seen in dogs that are just hitting their growth spurt, and continues on till they are around two years old. In some dogs however, it lasts for life. Dogs affected start limping, which affects some in only one leg, but in many it can pop up in any leg at any time. The dog often heals after a few weeks, but after a bit of strenuous activity, will start limping again.

A few dogs have now been tested, and have come back with a diagnosis of Panosteitis. Due to the variance in symptoms in dogs said to have shinkeitsuu, it is possible that not all these dogs have Pano. There may be other issues as well. This shinkeitsuu however, is the most common problem I have seen in the breed. Anecdotal evidence points toward it being more prevalent in certain lines than others, so it may be hereditary. In all but one case, the affected dogs I've seen were male.

A young Shikoku diagnosed with panosteitis


Split or abnormal heats seem to be fairly common in the breed, though this does not always seem to lead to infertility, and I have heard of females that grow out of it. 

I have seen some allergies in the breed, most seem to be seasonal, though some have been food related.

Entropion, or inverted eyelashes, is something I have seen a couple of times. LP, male infertility, and Pyometra I have also only seen a few times.

A previously unknown nerve disorder affected some pups out of a litter in Canada which was discussed at length in this thread on the Nihon Ken Forum I have seen two dogs here in Japan that may have suffered from the same disorder. Unfortunately both have passed away which does not allow me to gather any data from these dogs.

As I've mentioned before on my blog, there is no genetic testing being done on the breed here in Japan, so importing has its risks. Kennels and owners in Europe and North America are much further ahead in getting diagnosis and treatment for dogs that are affected by illness, and in planning their breedings accordingly. However because their dogs are only a few generations removed from the gene pool in Japan, kennels will most likely only have tested 1 or 2 generations of their dogs. Issues may become more visible in the future. In Japan, they are not tested for, and dogs with some of the above conditions may still be used for breeding.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this Shigeru. As always you are a wealth of knowledge!

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    1. I'd like to be able to back all this up with hard data and professional opinions, but for the moment this is the information that I have.

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  2. Are the female that have grown out of split/abnormal heats due to age, or due to having a litter?

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    1. I've seen split heats more commonly in younger females. After their 2nd or 3rd heat, some become more regular/normal. I would not say that they grow out of it due to having a litter, because of the difficulties in having a successful breeding on a split heat. There is at least one line I know of where it seems to be not uncommon to see split heats, and abnormally late ovulation, though I'm not saying the two issues are at all connected.

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  3. Not really a health issue, but I was curious if you have seen or heard of any other shikoku with extra toes in Japan. I don't mean just rear dewclaws, but also extra toe growths on the front paws.

    I'm curious to know if there are other cases since my Miyu has that. Pics can be seen in this thread: http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/6112/my-girl-is-a-mutant#Item_42

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    1. That's not something I've seen so far.

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  4. Hi Kato, thanks for your interesting blog. Recognize the symptoms of limping. We went to the vet, they made pictures and told us it was probably growth paint. I was wondering whether you have some information on epilepsy in Shikoku as well because our one year old male Shikoku has epilepsy.

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  5. Hi Kato, thanks for your interesting blog. Recognize the symptoms of limping. We went to the vet, they made pictures and told us it was probably growth paint. I was wondering whether you have some information on epilepsy in Shikoku as well because our one year old male Shikoku has epilepsy.

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    1. I have seen epilepsy several times in the breed, but in all the cases the cause was never determined, and there is not enough data to know if it is hereditary.

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