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Comparative Analysis of Congenital and Heritable Disorders in Kerry Blue Terriers


© 2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation


Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Cataract--as in humans, a change in structure of the lens of the eye leading to cloudiness and usually to blindness.
  • Cerebellar and extrapyriamidal abiotrophy (PNA)--a condition where the neurons in the cerebellum part of the brain and parts of the spinal cord are malformed and eventually malfunction.
  • Distichiasis--abnormally growing eyelashes.
  • Entropion--an abnormal rolling in of the eyelid.
  • Factor XI deficiency--a rare clotting disorder of several dog breeds. Protracted bleeding from surgical procedures is a feature. Affects both sexes.
  • Hair follicle tumors--abnormal growths of the hair follicles.
  • Hemolytic Anemia--anemia caused by the destruction of the red blood cells by an autoimmune process. Particularly common in Cocker Spaniels and Old English Sheepdogs, as well as other breeds.
  • Hermaphroditism-- a syndrome where the individual has anatomical features of both sexes.
  • Hypothyroidism--a common endocrine disease where the body produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. An autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland which affects more than 50 breeds.
  • Keratitis sicca or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca--a condition where one or both eyes do not produce a normal amount or type of tears.
  • Narrow palpebral fissure--an abnormally small opening between the upper and lower eyelids.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy--a disease where the retina slowly deteriorates, producing night blindness.
  • Thrombocytopathy--a reduced number of platelets in the blood which causes pinpoint hemorrhages in the skin and mucosa. Often accompanies an autoimmune syndrome called Evans syndrome.
  • Ununited anconeal process--a developmental abnormality of one of the bones of the elbow joint causing pain. Included is Osteochondrosis.
  • Von Willebrand's disease--a type of bleeding disorder cause by defective blood patelet function. Occurs in 59 dog breeds but most often in Doberman pinschers. An autosomal trait affecting both sexes.

For Comparison

Airedale Terrier

Diseases found in Airedale Terriers, but not in Kerries

  • Acral lick dermatitis--a skin disease caused by an animal's licking a localized area excessively, especially on the legs and paws.
  • Acute moist dermatitis--known as "hot spots," a localized area of a severely itchy, inflamed and oozing dermatitis exacerbated by the animal's intense licking and chewing at the spot.
  • Cerebellar Hypoplasia--a condition where the cerebellum, a part of the brain, is poorly formed (too small or absent) and doesn't function properly or not at all.
  • Corneal dystrophy--an abnormality of the cornea usually characterized by shallow pits in the surface.
  • Factor IX or hemophilia B: same as hemophilia A, but more rare and involves a different clotting factor. Affects about 20 breeds.
  • Granulomatous sebaceous adenitis: a disease of sebaceous (sweat) skin glands characterized by reactive tissue growth and autoimmune destruction of the sebaceous gland. Hair loss occurs and is poorly responsive to treatment.
  • Lymphocytic thyroiditis: an autoimmune disease causing inflammation and destruction of the thyroid gland, which becomes infiltrated with lymphocytes (white blood cells) and leads to hypothyroidism. This is the most common endocrine disease of the dog and has an inherited predisposition.
  • Nacrolepsy: a neurological disorder characterize by falling asleep suddenly (collapse) which can occur during periods of activity and last for various lengths of time.
  • Pannus: an immunologic eye disease characterized by abnormal growth of tissue over the cornea.
  • Retinal detachment: where the retina is unattached to the back of the eye.
  • Retinal dysplasia: a condition where the retina is malformed.
  • Thyroiditis: an autoimmune inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland.
  • Trembling of the hindquarters: a condition where the rear legs tremble due to muscle weakness or other pathologies.
  • Umbilical hernia: a break in the abdominal muscle wall at the point where the umbilical cord enters the body.

Diseases found in both Airedale Terriers and Kerries

Bedlington Terrier

Diseases found in Bedlington Terriers, but not in Kerries

  • Abnormal copper metabolism: An inability to utilize and store copper properly, resulting in liver disease and other problems.
  • Atresia of nasolacrimal puncta: a condition where the holes on the inside of the lower eyelids (puncta) are too small or closed so tears spill over the lid instead of draining to the nose.
  • Chronic progressive hepatitis: an uncommon disease sometimes called chronic active hepatitis.
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: a connective tissue disease characterized by loose hyperextensible and very fragile skin that tears easily.
  • Lacrimal duct atresia: a condition where the duct draining tears from they eye is too small or not formed.
  • Microphthalmis: a condition where one or both eyes are too small.
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta: imperfect development of the structure and/or mineralization of the bones.
  • Recessive retinal dysplasia: a developmental disorder resulting in an abnormal retina, carried by a recessive gene.
  • Renal cortical hypoplasia: a condition where the cortex of the kidney(s) develops incompletely.
  • Retinal detachment: where the retina is unattached to the back of the eye.
  • Retinal dysplasia: a condition where the retina is malformed.

Diseases found in both Bedlington and Kerry Blue Terriers

  • Cataract
  • Distichiasis
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Irish Terrier

Diseases found in Irish Terriers, but not in Kerries

  • Cystinuria: an abnormal excretion of a substance (cystine) in the urine.
  • Digital hyperkeratosis: a condition of puppies that causes marked thickening of the foot pads. Affected feet crack, become infected and painful.
  • Muscular dystrophy: a congenital and often inherited form of generalized muscle dysfunction which causes signs such as poor growth, weakness, abnormal gait, difficulty eating and swallowing, and muscle atrophy. Affected animal have serious health problems and may die or be euthanatized.

Diseases found in both Irish Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers

  • Progressive retinal atrophy


  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrand's disease
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