Health Matters

Dear Samoyed Community,

I am thrilled to share with you all that I have been appointed as the new Breed Health Coordinator for Samoyeds! It is truly an honour to take on this role and work towards the betterment of our beloved breed.

As the Breed Health Coordinator, my primary focus will be on promoting and safeguarding the health and well-being of Samoyeds. I am committed to collaborating with breeders, owners, veterinarians, and other stakeholders to implement strategies that prioritize health, longevity, and vitality within our community.

Together, we will strive to enhance awareness of health issues specific to Samoyeds, facilitate health screening and testing programs, and support research initiatives aimed at advancing our understanding of genetic health concerns.

I am incredibly passionate about the welfare of Samoyeds and am dedicated to serving our community to the best of my abilities. Your support and participation are crucial as we embark on this journey together.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you to ensure a bright and healthy future for our cherished Samoyeds.

Can I please encourage you all to use the Cause of Illness and Cause of Death forms on the Samoyed Breed Council website as this data is invaluable for research?

Along side this there are also information sheets and fact sheets  regarding DIABETES, HIP TESTING, BLOAT, SEBACEOUS ADENITIS, EYE TESTING , GLAUCOMA, CORNEAL ULCERS and LIVING WITH A BLIND DOG on the DOWNLOADS PAGE.

The KC Breed Health Conservation Plan (2021) can be also be found on the Downloads Page. (Updated every 5 years)

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, suggestions, or concerns. Let’s make a positive difference for our wonderful breed!

Warm regards,

Mikaela Short

Samoyed Breed Health Coordinator

Update on Diabetes provided 05/03/2024

The Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership:  whole genome and targeted sequencing of dog breeds at high and low risk of diabetes mellitus

Marsha D. Wallace1,2, A. Denyer1, S. Falcone2, C. Mellersh3, K. Hughes4, D. Xia1, A. Psifidi1, E. Schofield3, S. Ricketts3, P.J. Watson4, I.K. Ramsey4, L.J. Kennedy5, G. Williams6, N. Zimmerman6, M.E. Herrtage4 , C.A. O’Callaghan2, B. Catchpole1, L.J. Davison1,2

1Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK; 2Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, UK; 3Kennel Club Genetics Centre, University of Cambridge, UK 4Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK 5School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK; 6University of Manchester, UK. 7Dechra Veterinary Products.

Diabetes mellitus affects 1 in 300 dogs and is fatal without insulin therapy. As an unintentional result of selective breeding, diabetes risk is variable among breeds e.g. high risk Samoyed, moderate risk Labrador retriever, low risk Boxer.

The Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership has undertaken breed-comparative whole genome sequencing (WGS) to discover genetic variants contributing to differential diabetes risk in Samoyeds (n=12), Labrador retrievers (n=10) and Boxers (n=12), using samples from the UK Canine Diabetes Database and Archive.

Discordance analysis identified >3.5 million genetic variants differing among these breeds.  An evidence-based bioinformatics workflow was developed to rank and prioritize candidate variants based on within-breed and across-breed diabetes association statistics, allele frequencies in canine databases, and gene annotations.  Annotations included incorporation of human GWAS data, pathway information, gene ontology, UK Biobank data, and RefSeq gene summaries to weight plausible roles in diabetes pathogenesis.

Targeted follow-up sequencing of several thousand prioritized variants was performed in the same breeds, plus small numbers of dogs from 7 additional breeds (42 diabetic cases, 92 controls).  This led to further prioritization and genotyping of 2,500 variants in an additional cohort of Samoyeds and Labradors (57 cases, 73 controls).

Notably, many diabetes-associated variants reside in genes involved in pancreatic beta-cell function or immune response and are distinct between breeds, confirming clinical observations that canine diabetes arises from multiple heterogeneous etiologies.  Utilization of WGS to investigate complex traits such as canine diabetes will help to inform a precision medicine approach to these conditions.

Below is an article produced by the previous rep Liz Ballentine.

NEW March 2021: Hip and Eyes Information sheets, (produced by Liz) please check out the download page.

The Kennel Club require all Assured breeders to score their dogs under the BVA hip dysplasia scheme and also recommend eye testing as well, but there are not that many Samoyed breeders within the scheme.  The Code of Ethics for the breed makes the following statement:

Breeders should not knowingly breed from any stock which has hereditary diseases.  It is advised that all breeding stock be X rayed for Hip Dysplasia by a qualified veterinary surgeon and that all the plates should be submitted to the BVA for hipscoring under the KC/BVA scheme, even if the hips are poor so that a picture of hip displasia in the breed can be asses.

 In short health matters.

With the increased use of social media, health within the breed is also more transparent.  The Cause of Death/Illness survey continues to be very relevant although input into this survey remains low currently.  It is my plan to make sure that this becomes more prominent in an effort to increase uptake by all Samoyed owners.  What is also important is that it is not just viewed as a Cause of Death survey but for the breed to be aware of health issues arising during a dogs lifespan, for example, I already know from our own experience and by discussion with veterinary eye specialists, that indolent ulcers are more common in samoyeds than a lot of other breeds and especially as when they are over 7 years old.

The breed is also aware of the ongoing issue of diabetes within samoyeds and is supporting research to identify the relevant markers which show a predisposition to this disease.  Hopefully in the future it will lead to a test.

With the Samoyed community becoming more international with overseas dogs here, and also dogs exported from the UK health and health testing becomes more central to ensuring that not only UK samoyeds remain healthy but that we don’t import or export any health issues.  We can only do this by being very open about issues we come across in the breed in our own dogs.

Part of this role is to complete an annual health survey which is submitted to the Kennel Club.  To make this relevant, I need input from all owners on health issues arising as well as cause of death.  I believe that each health survey should be published (at least in summary form) so that we can all see how our beautiful breed is doing.

We are very lucky in our breed as it is a Category 1 as far as the Kennel Club is concerned, i.e. with no big issues but to keep it that way, we need to work at it.


Online Health Survey Form

This will be open to all owners of Samoyeds in the UK

Please give details of any Health Issues you may have encountered with your Samoyeds.

Information on ‘regular’ or ‘irregular’ whelping could also be included.

The details you enter are submitted anonymously.

Please give as much information as possible.

We would urge all owners to complete this form which can be  also downloaded from the  downloads page .

Cause of Death

We are also keen to understand the cause of deaths in Samoyeds, please complete this form. or download the pdf form below. 

Cause of Death Form  SBC-Cause-of-Death-form-2024

For other related Health matters please visit the Downloads page.