The Open Registry

Open Registry Update

The Open Registry concluded in 2013 with the retirement of Meryl Littman, VMD DACVIM.  If you wish to report a medical condition on your Wheaten Terrier, please go to the SCWTCA Endowment Database.

Membership in the Open Registry is no longer offered.  If you were a member of the OR in the past, you can request access to its final report via email to

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Open Registry (OR) was established in 1996 by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America Inc. (SCWTCA) and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Association of Canada (SCWTAC) to support research at North Carolina State University (NCSU), University of Pennsylvania (Penn), and University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada (Guelph).

Purpose of the Open Registry

The purpose of the OR was to collect health information on Wheatens affected with protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), protein-losing nephropathy (PLN) and renal dysplasia (RD). Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Addison’s disease, and renal failure (RF) were also being tracked.

This information has been vital in our research to discover the mode of inheritance of PLE/PLN, RD, IBD, RF and Addison’s. It continues to remind owners and breeders to closely monitor close relatives of affected dogs before they become ill. This information contributed to discoveries that:

  • Helped breeders make informed breeding decisions by knowing if the dogs in their pedigrees include genetic normals, affecteds or carriers.
  • Gave owners and veterinarians the opportunity to closely monitor genetic affecteds before they showed symptoms.
  • Contributed to the development of diagnostic tools that help diagnose dogs at an early stage in the disease process.
  • Provided more insight into associated conditions and risk factors.
  • Identified plans to treat these diseases.

The breed club can feel proud that they did all they could to be honest/open with one another and share information, generations before other breed clubs did so. I think the Wheaten community of the future will benefit from the precious historical information as well as the samples saved and not just thrown away or lost. what it has done so far is already remarkable. It has certainly helped us to educate owners, breeders, and veterinarians. It has helped to stop some rumors. It has helped people realize that they were confusing several diseases together because of mimicry and common clinical signs and laboratory test results. In the beginning, only PLE/PLN and renal dysplasia were listed. Then we realized that IBD without PLE was a growing concern. And most recently we have saved the lives of many Addisonian Wheatens as we alert people that Addison’s is also a problem in the breed and can be misdiagnosed as kidney failure.

We are now poised at a much more sophisticated level than we were in the past, and I think the OR has helped us come to this point. The OR helped recognize informative families, which help geneticists and other researchers currently working on these problems. The information, extent of the problem, and the cooperative zeal noted by having an Open Registry also motivates future investigators to get involved and work with these diseases and with this breed.

…(it’s) interesting that we are now seeing European investigators getting involved in studying these diseases. We are now hearing about European dogs getting diagnosed with these problems. It’s not just a North American problem, it is now recognized as widespread and much more work needs to be done. Technology is getting better and better to help us with our work. Our DNA bank is getting more and more samples, which hopefully will lead to statistical satisfaction.

– Meryl Littman VMD DACVIM, 2006, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

What’s on the Open Registry?

Any Wheaten, regardless of its breeding, who was affected or suspected of having one of the protein-losing diseases, was eligible for inclusion. Dogs were listed on the Open Registry when blood, urine and/or histopathology test results met certain diagnostic criteria. Information shared was very helpful concerning diagnosis and progression of disease. The Open Registry list contained information about the affected dog, including:

  • Name
  • Sex and Date of birth
  • Names of sire and dam
  • Diagnosis and tests that led to diagnosis
  • Age when first diagnosed
  • Date of death

NOTE: Names of owners and breeders were NOT included on the OR. Once a dog was placed on the OR, he/she remained there regardless of change in ownership or owners’ membership in the Registry.

Membership in the OR

  • Membership in the Registry was open to anyone.
  • All Wheaten owners were encouraged to support Wheaten health research by joining the OR
  • Members were provided password-protected access to the OR on the SCWTCA website.
  • Individuals could terminate their membership at any time. However, any dogs owned by the individual would not be removed from the OR as a result.

Published 04/01/2019