|The Health of the Icelandic Sheepdog
A recent post suggested concerns about health issues in our breed. That is simply a mistake. There really are no are no
health issues with this breed, thank goodness! A health problem is considered an emerging issue when it reaches, or
approaches, 1% of the population. We simply haven't seen that.
Does that mean that we need not concern ourselves with health issues? Of course not. To keep the breed healthy, we do
need to listen and speak up about health issues so that we can educate ourselves and pay attention.
Does that mean that no dogs have any health issues? Again, of course not. We have seen owners come forward to share
some of the heartbreak they've faced when their dogs have faced difficult issues, such as epilepsy, reactions to vaccinations,
juvenile cataracts, corneal distrophy, adult onset demodectic mange, iris to cornea PPMs and a heart murmur.
With a population as small and mobile (importing and exporting) a population as the ISD, it is important to track health not
only in the US but internationally. Nevertheless, it is not always an easy task. There are language constraints and, just like
here in the US, not everyone is willing to share information.
Last October, at the ISIC seminar in Denmark, there was some discussion about this, but no concensus was reached. At
present, all ISIC countries track and report eye and hip testing results. Finland and Holland have been positive leaders in
reporting other health issues they have encountered. This has included a father and son who were diagnosed with hereditary
kidney diease, two cases of dilated cardiomyopathy, and three dogs with diminished activity of the thyroid gland.
We are indeed grateful to have so few issues in our very healthy breed.