HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We are fortunate, as a breed, to have an organization called WESTIE FOUNDATION, which is dedicated to organizing and financing medical studies to look into the medical issues common to Westies. As a result there are usually several studies going on at any given time which require our assistance. What this usually means is that Westie owners can have their vets take samples from their pets to ship out to the studies. Most of the time this would mean a blood sample but some studies ask for urine samples, and some cheek swabs. The studies generally pay the shipping costs and most vets will draw, prepare the sample and ship it out for you. (Some may charge for that service so ask ahead of time.) All you need to do is make the appointment, print and fill out the small amount of paperwork, and get your dog in to see the vet.
Currently these are the studies going on:
ATOPIC DERMATITIS STUDY
This study needs Westies, both those affected with allergy issues and those not. This is such a common issue for Westies. All Westie owners want to find answers. This is an easy way to really contribute. All they need is a blood sample. PLEASE NOTE: They do accept samples from unregistered dogs. Simply put “n/a” in the registration field on the paperwork. Shipping is paid for by the study.
WESTIE LUNG STUDY
All Westies can help with this study. It is a simple cheek swab. You simply contact the Van Andel Research Institute. Request a free DNA kit from firstname.lastname@example.org (list Westie DNA in the subject line).
Westie Foundation Study information page: http://www.westiefoundation.org/pages/health/research/
This page lists all of the studies the Westie Foundation is involved in, some of which are not listed here.
BLADDER CANCER STUDY
If your Westie has bladder cancer
If your Westie is 9 or older and has no cancer, you can help with this study. Please click the link and read about it. Please note, this study is an exception to the rule in that they do not pay shipping costs. This study will cost you whatever your vet charges for shipping. You must contact them ahead of time so they can send out a kit. They may ask for a donation.