Kooiker Health

Learn more about the health of the Kooikerhondjes in the UK.

The Healthy Puppy

What can you expect from the breeder if you have found yourself a puppy? We at the Kooikerhondje Club of Great Britain are passionate about the health of the breed and advise breeders to ensure puppies are happy and healthy before they go to their new homes.

Vaccination: Puppies should be vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks of age by a vet against Canine Distemper, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, and Hepatitis. A valid vaccination certificate should be provided. Puppy buyers should discuss this with their vet. If you get your puppy over 8 weeks of age, you breeder should have vaccinated the puppy and it will be down to you to get the second vaccination at 12 weeks.

Worming: Worms are easily passed on from mother to puppy and can cause a range of symptoms and make the puppies feel very poorly. Ideally worming should be done by your breeder at 2 weeks, 5 weeks and 8 weeks of age. It is then up to you as the new owner to keep your dogs worming regime up to date, which a regime decided by you and your vet.

Puppy Pack: Each puppy should be sent home with a puppy pack, containing the pups pedigree, vaccination certificate, and information on the best ways to socialise and raise your new puppy. Diet should also be informed and ideally you should stick to the same food and then slowly introduce new food, to prevent upset stomachs.

See The Parents: You will get a chance to meet the parents of your new puppy when you go to visit for the first time. In some cases the dad may not be present, but always ensure you meet the mother. Remember some Kooikers can be aloof with strangers, especially if puppies are around, so follow the advice of the breeder and greet her appropriately.

DNA Testing: We advise all our breeders to DNA test their puppies and/or the parents. So you can expect the have the results of these tests. To find out more about the DNA tests done in the Kooikerhondje please see below

Stay in Contact: Build a relationship with your breeder, stay in contact and let them know how the puppy is doing. Breeders love to stay updated on the dogs they have bred.

Hereditary Disorders that have been seen in the Kooikerhondje.

The Kooikerhondje breed can suffer from certain hereditary disorders, and as a club we are passionate about staying in control of these, and ensuring that we don’t see a clinical case in UK.

Von Willebrands Disease (VWD): First recognised in 1996, Von Willebrands disease is a blood clotting disorder which has been described in numerous breeds, including the Doberman and Standard Poodles. Each breed has a different variation of the mutation. The Kooikerhondje has a unique mutation where they do not produce a clotting factor at all, and therefore cannot clot their blood. It causes spontaneous bleeding, bruising and prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma. It can be extremely distressing and fatal.                 The population is actively screened, thanks to a VWD genetic test available to all Kooiker owners and breeders. We have never seen the disease in the UK, and we never intend to, which is why we test our breeding animals.                                                                   The test is done at the University of Utrecht and requires a blood sample in EDTA. This can be collected by your vet and sent in the post to the university. See the list of forms below for more information.

Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy (HNM/ENM) :First seen in 1962, Necrotising Myelopathy is a degenerative disease causing ataxia (uncoordinated gait) and paralysis of the hind limbs in dogs aging from 6 months to 2 years. It is a recessive trait, meaning that both parents need to be affected for a puppy to have the disease. However this also means that the population can have carriers. Testing for this disease is very important as in order to keep genetic variation within the population we need to be breeding both:

HNM free x HNM free

Carrier x HNM free

If we only breed from animals that are free of HNM completely we risk reducing the genetic variation of the Kooikerhondje and thereby introducing new genetic disorders. It is important to remember a carrier will never have the disease, and will be completely unaffected.                                                                                                                                          The test is also done at the University of Utrecht and requires a blood sample in EDTA the same as for VWD. Both can be sent and tested at the same time with help from your vet. See the list of forms below for more information.

Polymyositis: A new condition, which an increasing trend has been seen in European dogs. Polymyositis is an immune mediated disease of the muscle. The immune system attacks the muscle, causing scarring and muscle loss. Signs seen in the dogs suspected of the disease have included difficulty swallowing, salivating, lameness, and difficulty walking, weakness and weight loss. No test is available as of yet, but Dr Paul Mandigers from the university of Utrecht is currently undertaking a study looking into the prevalence of the disease in the breed and working on a genetic test. If anyone is worried about the clinical signs, or believes they have/had a Kooikerhondje who has shown similar sounding signs (perhaps diagnosed as myasthenia gravis) please do let our Health Coordinator, Emma know by emailing her at esuiter@rvc.ac.uk.

Genetic Tests for VWD and HNM Forms

If you would like to get your Kooikerhondje tested for VWD or HNM or indeed both, please download the following Form and take them to your vet. These forms should be filled in and sent with blood samples (2-4ml in EDTA tubes –described on form) to the following address:

Universitair Veterinair Diagnostisch Laboratorium (UVDL)                                             t.a.v. DNA Diagnostics                                                                                                      PO Box 85422                                                                                                                 3508 AK Utrecht                                                                                                               The Netherlands

This address is different to what is written on the forms, so ensure you send it to this address for the sample to get there swiftly. Results usually returned within a fortnight and are sent by mail.

Breed Health Survey

Emma our Health Coordinator is continuing to collect data on the health of the UK Kooikerhondjes. If you haven’t already done so, and would like to anonymously add information on your dog/s to the survey please click the link below.

Breed Health Survey