Open to all South Wales Papillon Club Members

SWPC have been thinking, for some time of offering its members the opportunity to place the name and details of any dog/s that they have had been veterinary certified clear of Patella Luxation and/or PRA. We would like the name of the dog that is tested, date of birth, colour, sire & dam & details if they were tested clear. In order for me to place the details onto our website, I shall have to have a copy of the test certificate.
This is a totally voluntary list, but as the Kennel does not publish any details of dogs tested and its time we took the initiative.
If anyone is interested in taking up our offer, please send me the details and a copy of the certificate. All dogs Veterinary tested clear of Patella Luxation, should be over twelve months old and three years old for PRA. You can either post it to me or hand them to me or Susie or Margaret Orchard, at one of the Shows.
While on the subject of testing. If your Papillon has been veterinary tested clear of any other illness or disease and you have a certificate to say so, then by all means, send me a copy of the certificate and we will put it on the website.
I have placed details of some of my dogs which has been tested, to give you some idea of what we are aiming to do,

HEALTH: Some Problems That May Occur


I have put this at the top of the list, as it is probably the first thing that you will have to deal with, when you acquire your new puppy/dog. Some pups may have been vaccinated or are part-vaccinated already. The dose for each Dog/Puppy is for a Great Dane, no matter what the size of dog (unless you can find an understanding vet, who will lower the dose, but good luck finding one!) and Papillons have been known to get a reaction from them, varying from being quiet, swellings on the neck, convulsions and even death, although fortunately, this does not happen often. There are some breeders, who prefer to Homoeopathically vaccinate their puppies, especially, when younger as it is far less obtrusive and I have, yet to hear of any side effects, but it is far more bother and the very fact that you have to administer it orally, can put some puppies off, especially when they are teething and their mouths are sore. It is certainly more work and inconvenient. I must add that Homoeopathy has never been scientifically tested, although you can now find many more vets that are predisposed to treat homoeopathically. If you have a computer, simply Google,for more information and wish to try it. You can also send away for your vaccinations and do them at home. Whilst on the subject of computers, there are some very good canine health sites that you can get obtain various items, such as wormers etc. far cheaper that at your local vets, but please use a reputable dealer.


I have put this second on the list, because the next thing your pup will do, other than maybe have a tummy upset, is to start teething. Normally things go swimmingly and the old teeth come out. It is a good idea to have an old pair of tights, tied in knots, to encourage them to play tug of war and dog chews of various sorts. Personally mine like the hide shoes, rings and hooves, which can be easily obtained from your local pet shop. Very occasionally your pup may develop an infection, while teething, which may need a course of antibiotics, but fortunately this is very rare. Before your pup starts teething, it’s wise to make a habit of looking in its mouth on a regular basis, so he/she will get used to you cleaning them regularly when it is older. Always make it fun for the pup and not a chore. The best time to start doing this is when the pup is tired and not full of beans and wanting to run off and play. The table, with a special non-slip mat is good, because you have more control, incidentally if you are hoping to have a go at showing your pup, it to hoped that your breeder has been doing this from about the age of 4 weeks old! Beware, because I have heard of Paps that have jumped off the table, with dire cosequenses. Always have titbits handy and reward them, when they behave. It is wise to lay off this, when they are teething as it can be painful for the pup and may well put them off having their mouths looked at. Table training will also help because he/she will be used to it. While on the table it is wise to check the ears and make sure they are clean. Check claws nails as well. It is always wise to get your pup used to you doing them and far cheaper than your vet. Most Paps wear their nails naturally, If you can’t see the quick, only trim the tip. It is especially hard if it has black nails and can be painful if cut into. You can always purchase a sander, which is safer for the dog and much better for your nerves.


Patella Luxation is common in most small dogs and toy breeds, and should be tested in Papillons from about 12 months of age. If you have a bitch, it is wise, not to test while she is in season. This is because when in season, the muscles in the back-end tend to stretch, which will not give an accurate result. In some breeds, dogs are given aesthetic and graded. Personally I cannot justify the possibility of losing a perfectly healthy dog under anaesthetic, when I can have a vet manually test her, with no harm to the animal, but I can also appreciate that it a problem in some breeds and drastic measures have to be enforced.
Luxating means out of place, or dislocated. The patella is the equivalent to the human kneecap and part of the stifle structure, and therefore a luxating patella is a kneecap that moves out of its normal location. The patella normally moves up and down in a groove in the lower femur bone called the trochlear groove. In patella luxation the groove is often shallow and this shallow groove prevents the patella from sitting deeply, predisposing it to dislocation. A patella that is not stable but does not slip out of joint is said to be subluxating, while one that comes out of joint on its own is said to luxate.
In layman’s terms, if you Pap’s kneecap has a shallow groove, there is far more likelihood of it, getting slipping Patella. Although it is still possible for a Pap with a far deeper groove to its kneecap, to get Patella from an injury, it is far less likely to happen with a deeper one. This is why it is important that breeders test for it after the animal is 12 months old. When and if, it has tested clear, it is wise to get a certificate from your vet, stating the dog’s details and microchip, if it has one. It is not the end of the world if you have purchased the bitch, with the intention of breeding. It obviously has some bearing, because your bitch would carry extra weight with carrying puppies. But if the Patella Luxation is minor and remember, she could have easily obtained it through injury, all is not lost, but you must inform the stud dog owner and most importantly the potential sire should have a certificate stating that he is clear of PL and hopefully his parents have also been tested clear of PL. Lastly you should be prepared to be honest with the potential owners of your puppies. Personally I do not breed from dogs or bitches with Patella Luxation, but I can appreciate if someone has bought a bitch with the intention of breeding, it can most disappointing for them and for all you Stud Dog owners, who do not agree with me, just think if you turn people away, with bitches with PL, unless it really bad, can you justify it, knowing the bitches owner is far much more likely to go to a stud, who hasn’t been tested and most likely has it. What happens to the progeny and more importantly, what happens to breed if it keeps happening!


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease of the eye that causes blindness. The retina is the tissue lining the back wall of the inside of the eye and is composed of two classes of photoreceptor cells called rods and cones; the rods function in dim light, and the cones in bright light. A dog affected with PRA begins to have difficulty seeing in dim light, (often called night blindness) then gradually loses the ability to see in bright light, eventually becoming completely blind, although in some cases, some owners of effected dogs have stated that their dogs were not completely blind. As the vision fails, the pupils become increasingly dilated, and may take on a shiny or iridescent quality. When properly trained and managed most dogs can adjust to blindness well.
PRA in Papillons is a late onset form of PRA, night blindness usually occurs from 1 to 5 years, progressing to total blindness any time after 3 years of age. A Papillon can be eye tested for PRA, from 3 years of age and if you are thinking of breeding of from your Papillon, then the all breeding stock should be tested after the age of three years, if we are to retain the health of our lovely breed. I personally test my dogs, yearly from three years of age, although, if you have any intention of using that dog at stud and accepting a stud fee then I see no reason why that dog should not tested for all eye conditions at a younger age. My bitches are tested every other year. I have spoken to one of the leading eye specialist as to what age, to cease testing and his answer was 10 years old. So that is the age that I cease testing. A lot of dogs, as they get much older, loose their sight. This is not PRA, it may be may get cataracts, although they can be removed, although it can be costly and you have to weigh the age and intrusion of the dog, as to whether it is beneficial to do so.


Snorting is a phenomenon observed in dogs whose exact cause is unknown but may be due to nasal or sinus irritation, such as an allergy, or the dog's attempt to remove mucus or becoming too excited. They also get it when too drink too fast. It is characterized by rapid and repeated forced inhalation through the nose, accompanied by snorting or gagging sounds (also called, reverse sneezing). It is an alarming sound to most owners and may be distressing to the dog, but is not known to be harmful to the animal. Most dogs are completely normal before and after episodes. In addition most dogs will have repeat episodes of it during their lives. Dogs may experience it following play, exercise, or meals, but most of the time episodes are completely random. Smaller dogs seem slightly more susceptible to it; however any dog can develop it regardless of size. A common remedy is to pinch the dog’s nose and scratch their throat. Lightly blowing in their face may also help. The dog will swallow a couple of times and then stop the snorting. While most dogs do not require medication, antihistamines and steroids may help if the problem is serious, chronic, and allergy-related. Some Papillons will suffer from this as puppies, but grow out of it at 12 months. They also more inclined to do so, when grass is being cut, especially when living in the country.


Though relatively rare, or possible not reported. I am not sure which. Quite a few years ago I tried to keep records the occurrences of liver shunt, but I am afraid that other than a few people that had bought a Pap as a pet and it had, unfortunately got it, I did not receive any data from individual breeders, possibly, because we were trying to establish if it were hereditary and I am afraid some breeders like to put their heads under the sand, until it becomes a major problem that needs to be attended to and by then, it usually too late for the breed concerned.
Portosytsemic shunt, is an abnormal vessel that allows blood to bypass the liver. As a result the blood is not cleansed by one of the bodies filter; the liver. Generally the bile acid levels (after feeding a meal) in patients having a shunt are higher than 100. Less severe cases can be helped by a change in diet and it is possible to have the dog operated. Sometimes it is the only option a shunt. Apparently the overall success rate is about 85%, but you must be aware that it an extremely expensive operation and after paying that price and putting, what could be a very poorly dog under the stress of undergoing surgery and still lose them is a hard decision that you will have to make.
How do they get it:

When the puppy (foetus) is in the womb, the shunt is present to bypass the blood away from the liver to the placenta so the dam can cleanse it for the fetus.
Once the foetus is born the shunt closes within three days after birth and the puppy’s liver must clean the blood. Sometimes the shunt does not close off. A portosystemic shunt, therefore is an abnormal vessel that allows the blood to bypass the liver. As a result the blood is not cleansed by one of the bodies filters; the liver. These dogs also have much less blood that flows to the liver, which causes the liver to remain small.Clinical signs are abnormal behaviour after eating.
Pacing and aimless wandering. Pressing the head against the wall, episodes of apparent blindness. Seizures. Poor weight gain. Stunted growth. Starining to urinate due to bladder stone formation. Some may show many of these just one of these symptoms, while others may show just one. Some dogs do not show any signs until they are older.

A lot of the things I have written about are from my own experiances and of others. If you have any problems with your Pap and are not sure, then seek advice from your vet, as soon as possible. I have written a very small part of what could happen to your puppy, but I intend to add links to the various sites that will give you much more information about each individual subject, than I can possibly write about in this article.

My grateful thanks to Mrs Joan Savage (Abbeyton) for allowing us to use this link, below to her blogspot.

More in depth view on Papillon health issues

Breed Health Representatives

The Papillon (Butterfly Dog) Club of Scotland – Mr. Ted Whitehill – (Co-ordinator)

The Northern and Eastern Counties Papillon Club –Mr. John Edson

The South Of England Papillon Club – Mrs. Denise Welsh

The South Wales Papillon Club – Mrs. S Stanbury

If any South Wales Club Member has any queries about the health of the Papillon, please contact Mrs Sue Stanbury

In the past 10 years, Papillons have gone from #46 to #37 in American Kennel Club's ranking of breeds according to registration statistics – a substantial increase in a breed with a small number of puppies per litter. While it’s great that more and more people recognize the outstanding characteristics of the Papillon as a companion and competitor, this increased popularity may also expand the potential for health issues in our breed. Just this past year, two serious neurological issues have emerged in U.S.A. Papillons that were previously not on our radar.

The PCA Genetics Committee is launching a worldwide survey to update the “snapshot” of our breed’s health, and asking for your support. This is a chance for EVERYONE to participate and identify health issues in our breed. The information will be used to better understand current and emerging health issues in the Papillon, and also to develop PCA’s plan to support research aimed at identifying and eliminating genetic health issues in our breed. Members of PCA who breed Papillons, in particular, are asked to please make time to respond to this survey; we are looking for your responses regarding the dogs that live with you and also responses from the owners of any dogs you may have placed elsewhere.

Other than country of origin, there is NO personal information required by this survey. Responses will be used for general information and statistics only; individual dogs or breeding programs will not be identified in the data. The survey will begin March 1st and end December 31st, 2010, and response should be based on experience over the past five years (2005-2010). Breeders are requested to provide information on the dogs that live with them, and also solicit participation from owners of any dogs that may be placed elsewhere.

If your dog(s) has been healthy, the survey will take you about 2 minutes. If a dog has had a problem and you note this, you will be provided a series of additional questions regarding that specific problem. This additional detail will take a few more minutes, but it will be very valuable to our assessment.

You do not need to be a PCA member to participate. You need only to own or have owned a Papillon during the period 2005-2010. Thank you in advance for your support!

WEB ADDRESS TO TAKE SURVEY. www.offa.org/surveys/survey_papillon.html

Please supply information to ALL members. Put on club website, send out an infprmation letter to members and advertise this in your letters, magazines as this survey will collect important information about our Papillon/Phalenes health in a world wide perspective.

Leona Domino
Papillon Genetic Committee
Papillon Club of America
Dedicated to improving health information for the Papillon/Phalene breed.


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