West Highland White Terrier Club of America

Westie Health Concerns

The vast majority of dogs of all breeds (as well as mixed breeds) can live long, healthy lives if given proper care, good nutrition, exercise, and routine veterinary attention. Nevertheless, any dog can fall victim to a wide range of health problems including infectious diseases, parasites, allergies, endocrine problems, heart conditions, and cancer to name a few. In addition, each pure breed of dogs has its own particular health issues. The West Highland White Terrier is no exception. Some of these problems are minor, some impairing, and some possibly fatal. Some conditions may show a very strong hereditary basis and others are caused by environmental factors.

2007 Health Survey:
According to the 2007 Health Survey conducted by the WHWTCA, listed below are the diseases, by prevalence, affecting West Highland White Terriers. For a detailed look at the survey results visit www.westiefoundation.org and click on Health Surveys.

- Atopic dermatitis Luxating patella

- Aggression

- Inflammatory Bowel Disease

- Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

- Dry Eye (KCS)

- Addison’s disease Lymphoma

- White Shaker

- Pulmonary Fibrosis

- Juvenile Cataracts

- CMO (craniomandibular osteopathy)

- Pancreatic enzyme deficiency

For information about many diseases and issues that affect Westies, visit the Health eBook found on the Westie Foundation of America website. There you will find comprehensive information about the following:

Diet and Environment
Topic # 1: Atopic Dermatitis
Topic # 2: Bladder Cancer (Transitional Cell Carcinoma)
Topic # 3: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Topic # 4: Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Topic # 5: CMO (Craniomandibular Osteopathy)
Topic # 6: Luxating Patella
Topic # 7: Addison's Disease
Topic # 8: IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Topic # 9: Juvenile Cataracts
Topic #10: White Shaker Syndrome Topic #11: Breeding and Whelping
Topic #12: Aggression
Topic #13: Diabetes Mellitus
Topic #14: Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
Topic #15: Copper Toxicity
Topic #16: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Other Health Issues

Click on the following links to learn about other health Issues that affect Westies:

Other health related links:

Canine Health Information Center (CHIC)

AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF)

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)



There are several of breed-specific research projects currently being conducted that require blood or DNA samples from West Highland White Terriers. If you would like more information about the studies, visit the Westie Foundation of America web site. If you would like to participate by contributing blood or DNA samples from your Westie, call or email the contact person listed. Your participation will be greatly appreciated!

Download PDF of Overview of Request for Samples with email links that can be copied and pasted.


Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health, and fitness conditions of Westies and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a Westie's health - you should always consult your own veterinarian.