by Pam Barbe

Samoyeds are generally healthy dogs, but all breeds have problems that must be recognized and then dealt with in a sensible manner. It would be impossible to address every problem that can affect our breed, so I will stick with the health conditions that are prevalent in our breed today based on the statistics and literature available to us. Use the tabs at the top of the page to select a subject.

7/28/05  See below for new research projects approved by the SCA Education and Research Foundation.

The results of the first Samoyed Health Survey conducted by the Samoyed Club of America are now available.  Click here to see the graphs and charts.

Search --you can search the Samoyed Health website by key word . Just click on the search tab at the top of the page.


Top 10 diseases of dogs as reported by the AKC Canine Health Foundation in 2009:
  1. Epilepsy
  2. Hip Dysplasia
  3. Bloat
  4. Hemangiosarcoma*
  5. Lymphoma*
  6. Osteosarcoma^
  7. Allergies^
  8. Hypothyroidism^
  9. Patellar Luxation**
  10. Cataracts**

* Tied for 4th place

^ Tied for 5th place

** Tied for 6th place

Help the Samoyed Breed!  Choose to participate in one of the following confidential Reseach Projects!!

Research Projects for Samoyeds: 

Note, all of the following information is now up on the new SCARF website in the Research section.  I will gradually be deleting this section since the SCARF website will contain the most updated information.

SCARF sponsored ACKCHF grant #372: The establishment of breed-specific reference intervals for thyroid hormones in Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, English Setters, Keeshonden and Samoyeds. Thanks to funding provided by the AKC/CHF and Breed Club contributions, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will establish breed-specific reference intervals for thyroid hormones in several breeds.

SCARF sponsored AKCCHF grant #305: Histocompatibility Alleles Conferring Susceptibility to Canine diabetes, Immune-Mediated thyroiditis and Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia 

Sponsor(s): Alaskan Malamute Club of America, Inc., American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc., American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, American Miniature Schnauzer Club, Inc., American Spaniel Club Foundation, Australian Terrier Club of America, Borzoi Club of America, Collie Health Foundation, French Bulldog Rescue League, Golden Retriever Foundation, Health & Rescue Foundation of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc., Keeshond Club of America, Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation, Pekingese Charitable Foundation, Plum Creek Kennel Club of Colorado, Rottweiler Health Foundation, Samoyed Club of America Education & Research Foundation, Westie Foundation of America, Inc.

SCARF sponsored - AKCCHF grant #0366 Mammary Cancer Research to benefit dogs and humans!  
This is an extension of the previous study (#2222) on the connection between elevated levels of the COX-2 enzyme and the development of mammary tumors. 

SCARF sponsored AKCCHF grant #610 Samples are still needed for a study of diabetes in Samoyeds that is being conducted by Dr. Rebecka S. Hess of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.   Sponsor(s): Australian Terrier Club of America, Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc., Samoyed Club of America Education & Research Foundation, San Joaquin Kennel Club

VetGen is researching the genetic causes of both Juvenile Cataracts and Hip Dysplasia (AKCCHF #1836) in Samoyeds.

The ultimate goal is to develop a direct DNA test for the presence of the genes responsible for causing Juvenile Cataracts, and those which cause Canine Hip Dysplasia. These tests, used as tools in making breeding decisions, will help clear Juvenile Cataracts and Hip Dysplasia from the breeder's lines.

For either research project, we are looking for DNA samples from small family groups of Samoyeds in which two or more siblings or half-siblings have been diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia or with Early Onset (or Juvenile Cataracts).

We need to collect DNA samples from the affected dogs and a few of their unaffected close relatives such as parents and siblings. We prefer to have DNA samples from both parents, but will accept a offspring with only one parent. Check the optimal pedigree page for more info.

We need at least twelve families of Samoyeds for them to seriously start working on a breed. It's simply too expensive to start, and then not get enough DNA samples in and them have to start again with another breed. We only have about four or five Samoyed families in so far.

DNA samples are collected by means of oral cheek swabs, which are simply swiped in the dog's mouth. To participate, contact VetGen and request our cheek swabs. Participants are sent a set of six oral cheek swabs per dog, instructions for swabbing, a data information sheet, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their return.

Participation in VetGen's research is free and completely confidential.

Contact VetGen Research Coordinator,  Cheryl Hogue, at 1-800-483-8436 or for more information or visit the VetGen website research page.

The University of Missouri is currently conducting a genetic marker study on glaucoma.

"Participation by the owners of affected dogs and their relatives is essential to the success of this project. Researchers need DNA samples from dogs who have been diagnosed with glaucoma or lens luxation, and immediate relatives (all available siblings, parents, grandparents, and offspring if the affected dog has been bred). Clinically normal dogs in these families are as important to sample as the affected dogs. Complete or nearly complete families are critical to the success of this research. Participation in the project is confidential -- the names of individual owners or dogs will not be revealed."

Objectives: "Evaluate the genotype of selected families to search for linkage between DNA markers and diagnosed lens luxation or glaucoma, then use this information to identify the causative mutation or mutations. 

Devise a DNA marker test that detects and distinguishes normal and mutant (disease-causing) alleles, and make this test available to dog breeders so that they can produce dogs who will not lose their sight to these diseases."

"Early identification of these dogs would enable dog owners and their veterinarians to instigate measures to preserve their dogs' sight and to adjust breeding practices to minimize or eradicate the disease in their breeds."


Recently, a mutation that causes development of Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) in many breeds of dogs has been identified by a team of researchers led by Drs Gary Johnson & Elizabeth Giuliano at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. A DNA test for this mutation became available in mid-September 2009 through a partnership with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).

Owners of dogs that have been diagnosed as affected with lens luxation by an ACVO or ECVO boarded ophthalmologist are eligible to receive a free DNA test if they send a blood sample, pedigree copy, and a copy of the ophthalmologist's report click here for the instructions and form to submit samples from affected dogs.

More information can be found on   Click on "Glaucoma and Lens Luxation" for project info, and the instructions and forms (in "Sample Submission") to participate.  

 For further information, the project coordinator is Liz Hansen (

Inherited Cataracts - Optigen

This is an expansion of a current research project aimed at identifying the gene(s) and mutation(s) responsible for these cataracts. Samples are needed from Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes with bilateral posterior cortical cataracts that developed between 1 and 3 years of age.

For each dog, please send to OptiGen:

  • 5-10 ml of unclotted blood

  • CERF exam form that has a drawing of the cataract

  • 4-6 generation pedigree

For more information:


OptiGen, LLC
Cornell Business & Technology Park
767 Warren Road, Suite 300
Ithaca, NY 14850
607.257.0301 phone
607.257.0353 fax

Samples are needed for Canine Epilepsy Research. 

From the Canine Epilepsy Project webpage on the Canine Epilepsy Network:

"The objectives of our investigations into hereditary canine epilepsy are:

  • Recruit samples from a large number of affected individuals and their immediate family members (siblings, parents, and grandparents), from many breeds of dogs.
  • Evaluate the genotype of selected families to search for linkage between DNA markers and clinical epilepsy, then use this information to identify the causative mutation or mutations.
  • Devise a DNA marker test that detects and distinguishes normal and mutant (epilepsy-causing) alleles, and make this test available to dog breeders so that they can produce epilepsy-free dogs.
For examples of families (pedigrees) that would be useful for this project, click here.

Central Nervous System Disease in Samoyeds

We are trying to determine whether a nervous system disorder that was described 14 years ago in the east coast has been seen in other Samoyeds. Affected pups developed a severe tremor at 10-12 days of age involving the head, body, and limbs that was so severe that the pups were unable to walk. While not recorded, it is likely that the affected pups were males, although it is possible that females also may have had a milder tremor.

We are interested in finding out whether other dogs with this disease have been seen and whether any are known of at present. As it is likely that the disease is X-linked, the female is the carrier and will produce affected male pups with any sire.  We would like to follow up on the earlier report 

 (Cummings et al, Acta Neuropathologica, 1986:71;267-277) and determine the molecular basis of the disease.  If this can be achieved, it may be possible to develop a blood test that could be used to identify carriers and help in future breeding plans.

Should you have any information, please contact either Dr. Ian Duncan at the Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706. Dr. Duncan may also be reached by email at, phone (608-265-1129), or fax (608-265-8008).

Permission given to cross-post to other lists, print in Club newsletters, or otherwise disseminate to Samoyed fanciers.


Disclaimer:  The health links and material on this site are provided for educational and informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for consultation with a veterinarian or other pet health care professional. The opinions presented on the links and in the material on this site reflect various sides of issues. No representation is made that any of the information provided on this web site or links from this web site is accurate. Additionally, any mention of commercial products or services within these web pages should not be viewed as an endorsement. Decisions with respect to the specific care and treatment of an animal should always be made with appropriate veterinary advice.



web site hit counter  

Last updated: Monday, March 22, 2010


| mirage home | health home | index | eyes | kidney | skin | orthopedic |
| epilepsy | heart | endocrine | bloat | tick faq | search | health links |