Though the Alaskan Klee Kai is a relatively new breed of dog and due to ethical breeders rigorous health testing they are also a healthy breed.
Due to the aforementioned health testing, we do however know what to look for within the breed. It is important that if you are looking to get a puppy that you know what the parents should have been screened for before being bred but also if you already have a Klee Kai you must know what the breed is prone to should you have any issues as not all conditions are possible to screen for nor are they evident early on.
Factor VII Deficiency – a blood clotting disorder. FVII is a double recessive genetic trait. As such, with careful planning, a FVII carrier dog can be bred to a FVII normal mate. The offspring may either be FVII carrier or normal. If a dog is a carrier they will merely be that, a carrier and will not have any negative repercussions from it.
Ethical Breeders will be able to show you the parent dogs DNA test to prove that your dog/puppy is not affected.
Cryptorchidism – one or both testicles did not descend from abdomen into scrotal sac as a male puppy matures. A cryptorchid dog MUST be neutered and not bred as this is hereditary. Furthermore retained testicles have a high chance of becoming cancerous. This is not something unique to Klee Kai.
Ethical breeders eliminate even “late bloomers” from their breeding program, as this condition is highly hereditary and as such is prevalent in our breed.
Umbilical Hernia – This looks a little like a belly button but is in fact a break in the abdominal muscle wall at the point where the umbilical cord enters the body. This condition can be fixed at the same time the puppy is under anaesthesia during spay/neuter surgery. Most commonly these are not problematic and it will just be fluid which passes into the hernia, however, sometimes in the case of more severe hernias it can be some of the gut. This is not something unique to Klee Kai.
Ethical breeders will know if the hernia was caused by trauma when the mother tried to remove the umbilical cord or if it is common in the line (line: the dogs family), they will also know from the puppies vet visit if there is risk of gut passing through.
Congenital Cardiac Disease – include various types of valve, vessel and tissue malformations of the heart. Severity can range from low grade heart murmur to death. This is not something that is unique to Klee Kai and are common in all animals, even humans.
Ethical breeders will be able to show you proof of their dogs cardiac report and will have the pups checked for murmurs at their 8 week vet check. Sadly this is not something that breeders can prevent by only breeding healthy dogs and is more “luck of the draw” however obviously breeding only the healthiest of dogs helps the odds of having healthy puppies.
Luxating Patella – a condition in which the patella (kneecap) dislocates or slips out of its socket, causing intermittent lameness. Patella luxation is often an inherited condition (though often not from mom and dad but ancestors further back), but can also be the result of trauma. Luxating Patella is very common in small breeds of dog much like hip dysplasia is in large breeds.
Ethical breeders will be able to show you proof that neither parent has Luxating Patella.
Liver Shunts – A liver shunt occurs when an abnormal connection persists or forms between the portal vein or one of its branches, and another vein, allowing blood to bypass, or shunt, around the liver. In the majority of cases, a liver shunt is caused by a birth defect called a congenital portosystemic shunt.
Ethical breeders will be able to show you that their breeding dogs are clear from liver shunts but again, sadly this does not mean that there is a 0% chance that puppies will be unaffected, it just gives them a better chance.
Autoimmune Thyroiditis – is a genetic disease that affects the thyroid gland and can lead to chronic hypothyroidism. This disease might not develop until a dog is well into adulthood (over 3 years).
Ethical breeders will have a serum sample tested to make sure that their breeding dogs are phenotypically normal.
Distichiasis – this is a common condition in dogs where eyelashes develop in an abnormal location, emerging from the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin. In many dogs the hairs are soft and cause no problem but in some cases irritation from these hairs can cause discomfort, and in severe cases they can damage the surface of the eyes to cause corneal ulcers.
Ethical breeders will have their dogs eyes checked by a specialist prior to breeding. If a dog has distichiasis the severity will be taken into account prior to breeding being considered.
**PLEASE NOTE that simply visiting a vet does not constitute health testing**