Article Text

Chronic pulmonary disease in West Highland white terriers
  1. B. M. Corcoran, MVB, PhD, MRCVS1,
  2. M. Cobb, MA, VetMB, DVC, MRCVS3,1,
  3. M. W. S. Martin, MVB, DVC, MRCVS4,
  4. J. Dukes-McEwan, BVMS, MVM, DVC, MRCVS1,
  5. A. French, MVB, DVC, MRCVS1,
  6. V. Luis Fuentes, MA, VetMB, DVC, MRCVS1,2,
  7. A. Boswood, MA, VetMB, DVC3 and
  8. S. Rhind, BVMS, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1QH
  3. 3 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA
  4. 4 Martin Referral Services, Thera House, 43 Waverley Road, Kenilworth CV8 1JL


This paper describes the clinical features, and diagnostic findings of a chronic respiratory condition in 29 West Highland white terriers. Typically, the dogs were coughing chronically, had dyspnoea and tachypnoea of varying severity, and had deteriorated progressively over months to year. The mean (sem) survival time in months from the clinical signs being first noted by the owners was 17.9 (2.3). Most cases had a combination of respiratory signs, but coughing was the predominant sign in 18 cases. Inspiratory crackles were audible on chest auscultation in 28 cases, 10 of which were also wheezing. Rhonchi were the predominant sound in the remaining case. The main radiographic changes were mild to severe increased interstitial markings in all cases, with additional bronchial markings in 14 of the dogs. Right-sided cardiomegaly (cor pulmonale) was recorded in 15. Bronchoscopic findings in 17 of the dogs were either normal or involved a mild airway mucoid reaction in eight. Chronic mucosal changes were observed in eight, but in two this finding was equivocal. Dynamic changes to the lumen of the airway were present in seven cases. No significant haematological or biochemical changes could be detected in 20 cases, but four cases were hypercholestrolaemic. A histopathological assessment of four cases revealed alveolar septal fibrosis to be the predominant change. Prednisolone, with or without bronchodilators, was the most commonly used therapy, and the response was variable. The condition appears to be associated with significant pulmonary interstitial fibrosis of unknown aetiology and has clinical similarities to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis) in human beings.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.