Cairn Clinics

toto results 2016

























Toto Eye Clinic    IMAG0049
by Jeanne Mortenson

Researching and diagnosing Ocular Melanosis/Secondary Glaucoma (Formerly referred to as Pigmentary Glaucoma)

The Toto Clinic was founded 12 years ago and is held yearly the last weekend in October at Veterinary Ophthalmology Specialty Practice in St. Louis Park, MN.  I asked Dr. Dennis Olivero if he would be willing to hold a special day just for Cairn Terriers to aid in the research for OM at one of his weekly clinics when I had a litter of pups in for their eye screening. He agreed and the rest is history.  Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones had just begun his research and he needed DNA from affected dogs as well as normal dogs and pedigrees for his data base. Our first clinics were not well attended but over the years many have made it the fall event to do with their Cairns. We, as a club, recommend that all breeding Cairns are screened yearly. The clinic’s original purpose was to screen for OM and aid that research. Along the way, Dr. Olivero has treated various other conditions and has found that cataract is the most prevalent eye condition seen in our Cairns.

Awareness of this condition in the United States is a fairly recent thing, as the first known cases were diagnosed in 1984. It is an inherited condition that occurs predominantly in Cairns, although there are some unconfirmed reports of a similar condition in other breeds. The condition generally affects both eyes. Onset of the more obvious changes is between 7 to 12 years of age, which makes this a vital time to closely watch each eye for small spots or patches of very dark pigmentation within the sclera (white part of the eye). Visits to the veterinarian when Cairns are this age should include an examination of the anterior chambers of the eyes for pigment deposits as well. The pigment deposits accumulate and decrease the eyes’ ability to drain fluid out of the anterior chamber. This fluid accumulation leads to an increase in pressure in the eye which is known as a secondary glaucoma. If the elevated pressure goes undiagnosed and/or untreated, the dog will not only go blind but also suffer from pain, because an increased pressure in the eye can be very painful. Because of this, it is often required to remove the eye due to pain caused by pressure build up. If caught early, the damage that glaucoma causes can be slowed, and vision maintained longer by use of medications. It is important that all Cairns be checked regularly for the early signs of ocular melanosis (pigmented scleral patches and thickened iris roots) especially those dogs who are related to dogs who have or who are suspected to have, Ocular Melanosis. This is also a condition that is part of the GDC Registry.

If your Cairn is 7-12 years old, or has been diagnosed with Ocular Melanosis and you would like more information on this disease, please contact Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones at Michigan State University in East Lansing at He can also be contacted through the Comparative Ophthalmology laboratory at MSU by phone at (517) 353-3278.


Kidney Clinic, Renal Dysplasia in the Cairn Terrier

A fairly recent research project, our club held it’s first Kidney clinic a years ago.  Our recommendation for breeding Cairns is that the breeder participate and have a kidney ultrasound done to ensure that the Cairn has normal kidneys before their dogs are bred.  Please check our website further for information on any upcoming clinic dates.

Renal Dysplasia

Renal Dysplasia in the Cairn Terrier submittd by Dr. Margret Casal, DMV, PhD, Dipl. ECAR.

Renal Dysplasia is an inherited disease characterized by abnormal development of the kidney, which takes place before the puppies are born. This results in incomplete or unorganized development of the kidney tissues, which can lead to a decrease in kidney function with associated clinical diseases and possibly death at an early age. Clinical signs may include polyuria (increased urination) and polydypsia (increased drinking) as well s vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dr. Casal has recently published her research finding on imaging and renal dysplasia indicating that ultrasound imaging correlated with histopathologic changes in the disease. Also note that longevity and symptoms can vary in individual dogs. Renal aplasia is a condition in which there is only one kidney present.