YTCAF Donor Program

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  • Make a donation by check or money order, using this form, mailed to our Treasurer at:
    Gloria Lyon, Treasurer
    YTCA Foundation
    526 N West Avenue PMB 46
    Arlington, WA 98223
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Health Survey Data Report


The YTCA Foundation, Incorporated (YTCAF) was established as an entity that would focus its efforts on the overall health issues of the Yorkshire Terrier in an attempt to accomplish the betterment of the breed. Over the past several years, the Foundation has collaborated with the AKC Canine Health Foundation to financially support several small research endeavors at the University ot Georgia, the University of Tennessee and Texas A&M University. However, there have been many who felt that research should be done to focus on resolving some of the health issues that seem to plague the breed as a whole.

So with that goal in mind, the Board members of the Foundation designed a general health survey to assist in identification of the areas of concern, specifically from the perspective of those directly involved in the breed, i.e., owners, breeders, exhibitors, handlers, veterinarians, etc. Therefore the design of this survey was purposefully made to gather information from the people who know the breed the best.

It is important to note that the survey was not designed as a research tool, per se, but strictly as a tool to gather information. Prior to the finalization of the survey format, it was presented to both a veterinarian and a statistician for input to make sure the necessary areas of concern were properly addressed. As such, the results would be both meaningful and could be used as a tool to help in making decisions, with regard to where and if further in-depth surveys were necessary, and or research money would best be invested. It also needs to be noted here that because this was a survey, the data cannot, nor should it be used, in attempting to make any conclusions about the Yorkshire Terrier. The survey does not provide conclusive information to make this possible and it was not designed for that purpose.

The information gathered from the survey is presented below.


Graph I - Interests in Yorkshire Terriers

Graph 1 - Interests in Yorkshire Terriers click to enlarge

Graph II - Length of Time in Breed

Yorkshire Terrier Survey - Length of Time in Breed

(Note that only 208 of the 220 noted this information on their surveys.)

click to enlarge

With the above information, our statistician made the following comments:

"The combination of having the majority of your respondents being breeders and the length of time the respondents have been involved with the breed could, potentially, yield responses that are not representative of the average Yorkie. One would hope that breeders have the healthiest dogs that they have kept for the breeding pool. Additionally, with the longevity of time in the breed being over 15 years for so many respondents, you might have diseases seen more frequently in the past being over-represented in this survey. For that reason, I'd recommend weighing the cause of death data more heavily in any decision making activities than the results of the general health condition data."

After studying the data, this observation certainly is a valid observation and needs to be kept in mind as the reader looks at the rest of the data.

Graph III - Six Most Recent Primary Causes of Death in the Yorkshire Terrier

Graph 3 - Top Six Recent Causes of Death in the Yorkshire Terrier

click to enlarge

Next, the survey asked for "Testing Information" - Whether or not a respondent tested their Yorkies for the following:

Testing Information


Hip Radiograph 5 96
CERF 25 178
Patellas 193 19
Heartworm 151 46
Fecal 182 22
Dental Checkup 206 5
Blood Work 193 15
Other 22 100

* 107 only tested if there was a problem

The Health Survey asked respondents to provide information on the general health conditions of the Yorkshire Terrier that had been documented and that were personally experienced in the Yorkshire Terriers that they had bred or owned. This informaiton was noted in the survey by identifying the various canine diseases by the particular body system involved. The tabulation of this data by system is presented in the next graph.

Graph IV - General Health Conditions in the Yorkshire Terrier

general health conditions in Yorkies

click to enlarge

The data presented in GRAPH IV has been broken down by the system group and each of these systems groups is being presented in the following series of individual graphs. All of these individual graphs include only the most significant pieces of data in each of the conditions with the remaining ones below each graph. This was done so that the presentation was easier to read, as well as to be able to look back at the data individually if needed in the future. A complete summary of all the data received is included in Appendix II.

Graph V - Skin

Skin Conditions reported in Yorkies

80% of the data on skin conditions is represented above.

20% included color-mutant/color dilution alopecia, autoimmune skin disease, contact dermatitis, cysts on the back, dry skin, nodular panniculitis, sebaceous adenitis and other non-specified.

Graph VI - Neurology

click to enlarge

94% of the data identified the above three neurology conditions

6% included brain aneurysm, dementia, GME and laryngeal paralysis

Graph VII - Hematology - Blood Disorders

blood disorders in Yorkies

All four of the data are represented above.

Graph VIII - Endocrinology

endocrinology issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

94.6% of the data represented above.

5.4% included Addison's Disease, adrenal, and polydypsia.

Graph IX - Digestive System - Gastroenterology

gastroenterology issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

89.7% of the data included in the above graph.

10.3% included coccidia, gall bladder, HGE, irritable bowel, megaesophagus, obstructed bowel and PLE.

Graph X - Liver Disorders

liver disorders in Yorkies
click to enlarge

87% of the data included in the above graph.

13% included active hepatitis and portosystemic shunt - unknown.

Graph XI - Opthalmology

eye issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

90% of the data is represented in the above graph.

10% included blindness, corneal dystrophy, ectropion, eyelash disorder, glaucoma, micro opthalmia, prolapsed gland of the third eyelid, retinal dysplasia, and ulcerated eye.

Graph XII - Ears

ear issues in Yorkies

99.3% of the data represented above.

0.7% included deafness.

Graph XIII - Cardiology

cardiology issues in Yorkies

90.4% represented in the graph above.

9.6% included heart attacks, defects, cardiomyopathy, and COPD.

Graph XIV - Dental

dental issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

89.4% of the data represented in graph above.

10.6% included blocked saliva gland, brachygnathia, lack of full dentition, and nasal fistula

Graph XV - Cancer - Oncology

cancer issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

76.9% of the data is represented in the above graph for cancer-oncology.

23.1% included adenocarcinoma of the intestines, bladder, brain tumor, carotid artery, liver, mast cell, stomach, testicular, and other-unknown type.

Graph XVI - Musculoskeletal

musculoskeletal issues in Yorkies

95.3% of the data is represented above.

4.7% included arthritis, arthritis-rheumatoid, and back problems

Graph XVII - Respiratory

respiratory issues in Yorkies

96.4% of the data is represented in the above graph for respiratory conditions.

3.6% included deviated septum due to trauma, pulmonary stenosis, reverse sneezing, and other-not specified

Graph XVIII - Reproductive

reproductive issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

70% of the data in reproductive is represented above.

30% included abortion-spontaneous, breech birth, herpes virus, infertility-femal, infertility-male, inguinal hernia, mastitis, and small litters.

Graph XIX - Birth Defects

birth defect issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

95.6% of the data is represented above.

4.4% included born blue puppy, puppy born with anus, and underdeveloped kidney

Graph XX - Kidney-Urinary

urinary issues in Yorkies

95.3% of the data represented above.

4.7% included glomerulonephritis, kidney stones, and polyurea

Graph XXI - Temperament Problems

temperament issues in Yorkies
click to enlarge

89.3% of the data is represented in the above graph.

10.7% included fear biting, female urinating and then licking it up, and separation anxiety

Graph XXII - Other

other health issues in Yorkies

66.7% of the data represented in the above graph.

33.3% included parasite infection and pneumonia.

Interpretation of the Data

The reader should agree, after looking at all of the data, that there certainly are concerns that are now documented in a way that can be useful for further investigation and follow up. The statistician presented a comment worth considering. She commented that:

"The length of time the respondents have been involved with the breed could, potentially, yield responses that are not representative of the average Yorkie." Therefore in making assessment of this data, one needs to weigh

One last comment by the statistician was:

"It should be noted that even though almost half of the respondents have seen cataracts, very few CERF their animals."

The statistician was not asked to analyze the information that she collected and entered in the database the above mentioned observation became clear to her and she shared these concerns with the Board.

Graph XXIII - Six Most Recent Primary Causes of Death in the Yorkshire Terrier and Those > 10 Years of Age

accidental death in Yorkies
click to enlarge

YELLOW: the number of deaths in the particular disease category

PURPLE: the number of Yorkies that were over 10 years old when they died

A consideration when looking at the age of the four highest causes of death above: in generalities, are these health conditions not a common part of the aging process? It is necessary to consider this when making decisions on what and where to invest research funds.

Graph XXIV - Accidents

six most recent causes of death in Yorkies
click to enlarge

Graph XXV - Ten Highest Health Conditions as Reported in Yorkshire Terriers

ten highest reported health conditions in Yorkies
click to enlarge

Even though the statistician did not address the issue of old age as shown in the following GRAPH XXVI - Old Age, she did allude to it. Taking into account the characteristics of the respondents both in terms of longevity in the breed and as interests in the breed, she noted that they must be doing their breeding by keeping the best of the best. One certainly would have to believe this assumption as there are Yorkies who live to eighteen years and then, too, how many that are in this old age category alone that ranged from twelve to eighteen years of age at time of death. It would appear that breeders must be doing something right.

Graph XXVI - Old Age

old age in Yorkies


(click link to open in new window)

Appendix I (overall frequency of disease in the Yorkshire Terrier)

Appendix II - 1st page (health survey form, page 1)

Appendix II - 2nd page (health survey form, page 2)