Kishu Ken Health Conditions & Concerns
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1907
    I wrote a fancy new page for my website, but I wanted to copy/paste it here and have the information available so if anyone comes around looking, it will be here, rather than through a link.

    This information is limited, but is from the 4-5 of work I have done collecting data on the breed through owner experience and reports, and through official health outlets.

    Kishu Ken Health and Wellness
    The Kishu Ken is a generally healthy breed that does not currently appear to be severely affected by many of the more common issues in some purebred dogs - especially in regard to structural soundness. However, there are some observable health concerns, and one that is quite pervasive among all Kishu Ken.

    Bubba (Akiyama no Roushya Daikokuten go) receiving medical attention in 2017 (he turned out fine!)

    Allergies & Autoimmune Fitness
    The majority of individuals with health issues from owner-reports are typically troubled by minor to moderate environmental and food allergies[1][2][3]. A couple dogs in North America also exhibit an autoimmune-like skin condition that appears similar to severe environmental allergies. This condition may also result in inflammation and/or sores. These symptoms have responded to and improved with prescribed steroids in these known cases per owner information available. Another autoimmune illness rarely observed in Kishu Ken is Addison's Disease, a illness that causes a lower than normal hormone production by the adrenal glands.

    Hypothyroidism is also observed in Japanese dogs. The most common form of hypothyroidism in dogs is called Autoimmune Thyroiditis, and so it may be worth mentioning here, as the Kishu have other known autoimmune illnesses[4]. Lower than average and low-average T4 production is somewhat "normal" in Japanese dogs, and observed in the Kishu Ken per blood tests on known dogs.*

    Eye Conditions (PPM, Entropion)
    PPM (Persistent Pupillary Membranes), is the most common diagnosis in the realm of eye conditions[5]. PPM may or may not inhibit vision in affected dogs, and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis[6]. The inheritance mode of PPM is not clearly defined.

    Entropion, a second eye condition where the eyelid turns in and may scratch the eye, is well documented among Japanese dogs, who are often listed as at-risk[7]. Entropion has not been recorded in public Kishu health databases, and I have not personally met an affected dog, but its presence in other Japanese breeds means we may assume entropion could be a deformity of the eyelid to be cautious of in Kishu.

    Joint Deformities (Hips, Knees, Elbows)
    In the realm of structural soundness, the majority currently graded with the FCI system are rated an "A" on hips - that's equivalent to the OFA rating of "excellent." A significant among of Kishu Ken graded received a "B" rating, or OFA "good" or "fair." The remaining dogs have received a "C" grading, which tends to be or be somewhere between "fair" to "mild" depending on the breed[8]. Knees and elbows have similar results, where the vast majority of dogs have received ratings that show no deformity (0), but a few individuals have received poor ratings on a single elbow, or received a diagnosis of joint deformity that may be congenital[9][10].

    The Illnesses of Aging Dogs (Cancer)
    While cancer is not a common illness for fit and young Kishu to suffer from, I am giving it a place on this page because of the number of aging and elderly dogs that have been reported with malignant tumors and other cancers. Cancers pertaining to the reproductive organs and secondary to them are most common at a cursory glance of social media reports from owners. This may well be because dogs are rarely desexed in their country of origin, even when kept as pets. It is entirely possible the cancer rate in American and European dogs may appear lower, but there are not enough aging and elderly dogs to know for certain.

    At this time, it is recommended to get aging and elderly dogs screened and vetted with cancer in mind, just to be on the safe side.

    Reference List
    1. Kishu Ken Allergy and Immune Condition - Owner Survey.
    2. The Nihon Ken: The Kishu by Shigeru Kato.
    3. Japan Dog Export > The Kishu.
    4. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals: Thyroid.
    5. Koira Net Kishu Eye Results 1988-2018.
    6. University of Prince Edward Island Canine Inherited Disorders Database.
    7. VCA Animal Hopsital - Eyelid Entropion in Dogs.
    8. Koira Net: Kishu Hip Results 1988-2018.
    9. Koira Net: Kishu Knee Results 1988-2018.
    10. Koira Net: Kishu Elbow Results 1988-2018.

    * When I get some of my dogs' bloodwork scanned in, I'll upload for illustration.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 ||
    Post edited by Crispy at 2018-12-28 15:45:58
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1907
    One thing I realize I didn't really add to this list is gastric illnesses. Pancreatitis and sensitive GI systems also might be an issue in the breed, but I haven't done enough research and investigation yet.

    I know as an anecdote, some of my dogs have a tendency to get ill off of diets even remotely fatty.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 ||