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Heath Issues

Cerebellar Ataxia:

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In 1998, a hereditary condition called Cerebellar Ataxia, hereafter referred to as CA, was acknowledged in the Spinone Italiano, with the first suspect cases appearing in 1990. There is no treatment and it is always fatal.   To date, all the cases reported have been under one year of age.  CA appears to be restricted to one family line only and all cases reported to  date have one or more of the proven carriers on both sides of the pedigree.   Please visit the Spinone Club of  America's website for more up to date information.


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 At the National meeting of the Spinone Club of America, an announcement was made that Visceral leishmaniasis  had been found in Spinone.  Leishmaniasis is an infection of dogs and humans with the protozoan parasites of the Leishmania donovani complex; it is usually spread by the bite of an infected sand fly and in dogs is normally fatal. 

Aortic Stenosis

Aortic Stenosis has recently been found in the Spinone.  It is believed to be a hereditary problem,however more information needs to be gathered before we can determine which lines are carriers. There is an excellent article written on Aortic Stenosis written by Dr. Cathy Priddle.



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Liver Shunt:

While liver shunts are not common in Spinone,there have been reported cases, therefore, it must be included here.  The official name is Portosystemic Shunt. It is an abnormal connection of the  blood vessels which connect the portal vein to the systemic circulation. It is believed to be an inherited   disorder. The clinical signs are  a result of toxins in the blood (energy loss, weight loss and  diarrhea.  They include but are not limited to disorientation, seizures, pacing and coma.



The word Ectropia is derived from the Greek word "Ectropion" meaning an inside -out eye.  It is the result of the lower lid turning outward exposing the inner surface of the lid resulting in irritation.  It is a common genetic condition in a number of breeds, however it is not commonly found in Spinone.   Another condition, loose lower lids, have sometimes been mistaken for Ectropia, however true ectropia in Spinone is relatively rare.  There is an excellent article on loose lids  called "The Eyes Have It" written by Norm Prima.


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Read Barney's Story

Canine Heatstroke

Preventive Measures

HEATSTROKE is the most common and most often fatal syndrome in dogs. It is associated with exposure to high temperature and humidity and very poor ventilation. Heatstroke develops rapidly. High fever must be reduced rapidly to save a dog's life and prevent permanent brain damage. Body temperature of 106 and above can be tolerated only a few minutes before irreversible damage occurs to the central nervous system.

Hip Dysplasia:

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Canine Hip Dysplasia is a relatively common disorder in veterinary medicine. The highest incidence occurs in larger, rapidly growing dogs.  The effects can range from mild to severe, resulting in euthanasia for animals severely affected.  There is an excellent article contributed by Cheryl Minnier.