HEALTH & RESEARCH – Annual Report – October 2016

The main topic of interest during the past year has been Cystinuria (CU) in IrishTerriers. Following up on a case reported in September 2015, it was noticed that the affected dog was related to a number of entries in shows at that time.

A written report was presented at the 2015 Montgomery weekend board meeting and a verbal report was presented at the AGM. A subsequent report was published on ITCA.INFO. (Now replaced by this report)

A database of about 1300 dogs was constructed from the Champion Report, show catalogs and web searches. Assuming the disease to be due to an unidentified recessive gene mutation (CU gene), analysis of dogs born since 2006 indicate that on average they had a probability of about 3.5% of carrying 2 CU genes, and 29% of being carriers while there was a 67% probability of being clear. Analysis is somewhat complicated as high testosterone levels appear to be a requirement so females and immature or neutered males are unaffected.

There were some inquiries about testing for high urine cystine levels and the risks involved in breeding. There were reports of a number of dogs suffering from the disease but this information was anecdotal as identification was withheld for reasons of confidentiality.

A cystinuria committee has now been formed facilitate testing and providing blood samples for DNA research. Until recently, probably because of the small number of known affected dogs, there was minimal interest from the research community. There now appears to be renewed interest in finding a gene marker for the disease and through the efforts of club members a significant number of confidential samples are being submitted for research.

Identification of a gene marker will enable breeders to select matings with no risk of producing affected dogs.

Ian MacDonald

Health and Research Chair

The Cysitnuria Committee includes Joe Metz (Chair), Terri VandeZande and Kelly Edwards. Eduardo Fugiwara is heading fundraising.

The complete March 2016 report can be found at:

The short November 2016 report can be found at:

The January newsletter report can be found at: