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The Mission of the Health and Wellness Committee is to develop plans to protect and improve the health of our Breed through education, screening tools and working with other Regional PWD Clubs and the PWDCA.  As stated on the PWDCA's official website, "Responsible breeding practices are encouraged to reduce or eliminate hereditary health problems which can lead to increased veterinary costs, decreased quality of life, and/or premature death."  We will bring many important health and wellness related topics to our members on our Health and Wellness web page and in our News Buoy, on our social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram, and email, just to name a few.

Topic(s) of the Day - Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) and Tick Borne Diseases

Per the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA) (email dated April 7, 2022) - "It has come to the Board's attention that there is a genetic disease, Chondrodystrophy also referred to as CDDY, that has been expressed in our Breed.  We are fortunate that both Embark and UC Davis offer a DNA test for it. 

Here is a link for more information on the disease and test: 

Here is a link explaining how best to do a DNA swab collection:"



Test our PWDs for CDDY, available through UC Davis.  Note:  If both the Dam and Sire of your PWD has tested "Clear" for CDDY and your Breeder can provide you with documentation that supports this, THEN, your PWD is automatically "Clear" and DOES NOT have to be tested for CDDY. This DNA test is a simple cheek swab sent to you with your order at no additional cost directly from UC Davis that you do at home. Click here and scroll down to   to order your test plus check out this video on buccal swab collection.

OFA LogoTo help support the research efforts for PWDs, consider clicking the box to submit you dog's results to the OFA. This organization collects breed specific data to provide insights into the health of our dogs related to these genetic diseases.

To learn more about OFA:

With additional questions/concerns, feel free to reach out to:

Dave Wichterman

(302) 233-4747 


Sandra Caruso slcaruso@MSN.COM

(215) 460-4043

Let's Talk Ticks

Hot off the Press:  Researchers at North Carolina State University recently discovered a new strain of Rickettsia bacteria causing symptoms in dogs similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). RMSF, transmitted by Rickettsia rickettsii, is a potentially lethal, tick-borne disease affecting dogs and humans. According to an NIH abstract published in 2020, this novel strain is thought to be geographically widespread, have clinical significance in dogs and potentially in humans, may be underdiagnosed, and is responsive to prompt Doxycycline treatment. 

What are tick-borne diseases? Diseases transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with viruses, bacteria, or parasites. 

Signs of tick-borne illness in dogs: pain, neurologic changes, fever, swelling, coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged nodes, blood abnormalities. 

Most common canine tick-borne diseases in the US: 

  • Lyme - caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria carried by deer ticks
  • Bartonella - spread by scratches from cats who are infected with feces of infected fleas 
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - transmitted by the America Dog tick, Rocky Mountain Wood tick, or Brown tick
  • Anaplasmosis - transmitted by black-legged ticks  
  • Ehrlichiosis - spread by the Lone Star tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, American dog tick, or the Brown tick
  • Hepatozoonosis - acquired from a dog ingesting a tick infected with Hapatozoon protozoan
  • Babesiosis - transmitted by brown dog ticks or from dog to dog if any infected dog bites another or blood transfusion

      Treatment: early diagnosis and treatment is critical. Dogs with symptoms should be evaluated by a veterinarian and receive appropriate diagnostic lab studies. A broad-spectrum antibiotic, such Doxycycline, or other medication may be prescribed. Chronic tick disease is more difficult to manage medically. 

      We live in a high risk area for Lymes among other tick borne diseases: CDC map of reports of people infected by tick borne diseases.

      So Prevention is key! Inspect your dog for ticks, especially after walking and playing in wooded or grassy areas. Gently part the hair or fur and inspect with close attention between toes, under legs, around the eyes, inside the ears, on the lips, near the anus, and under the tail. Feel for small bumps. The faster the tick is removed, the less likely it will cause secondary illness. Remember to mow grass as short as possible. 

      No tick prevention method is 100% effective. Preventative products include shampoos, topical treatments, pesticide collars, and long-acting oral medications. All of these products have risks and benefits, and the best options for your dog should be discussed with your veterinarian. 


      Canine Rickettsiosis: A Novel Rickettsia Species Identified in Dogs in the US, B. Qurullo, DVM, MS; Veterinary Practice News, Mar 16, 2021; Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs: Symptoms & How to Prevent; Dr. J Klein,, Apr 11, 2022; A New Strain of Tick-Borne Disease; N. Kerns, Whole Dog Journal, Apr 26, 2022; Novel Rickettsia Species Infecting Dogs, United States, J.M. Wilson, E.B. Breitschwerdt, and B.A. Qurullo, Emerging Infectious Diseases,, vol 26, num 12-Dec 2020.,%2C%20tularemia%2C%20and%20Powassan%20virus.

      Summer Awareness Tips

      Hot Topic

      Ever considered stand up paddle boarding (SUP) with your dog?!

      If you want to try to beat the heat with SUP, the AKC has some tips here

      Check out a few break-away collar options:

      Petsafe & Break-Away Collar

      And more details: ABC Blog & PetSafe Collar Safety Awareness.

      Tools repair icon cartoon style Royalty Free Vector Image  Useful Tools for the Unexpected  Tools repair icon cartoon style Royalty Free Vector Image

      Watch this video from the AKC  to learn how to do CPR on your dog!

      And do you know how to do the doggy Heimlich? Check out what the AKC has to say here!

      1. Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435

      2. Your closest 2-3 emergency vets. Make sure to call ahead and explain your situation to the vet before you arrive. Although some emergency vets are open 24/7, not all have the capacity to handle your case OR they like to be prepared for your arrival and give specific arrival instructions. 

      3. Your local vet. Some vets have "urgent care" time slots aside for their patients that have an urgent (but not necessarily emergency) case. Call ahead to make sure they're prepared for your dog.

      4. First Aid Kit

      See here for more first aid kit tips!

      You never know when disaster will strike so be prepared!

      Keep this Pet Disaster Checklist handy and along with some tips from the Red Cross here.

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