Health concerns that sometimes appear in the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

DNACareful breeding and record-keeping are invaluable tools for keeping our dogs free of inherited, and therefore avoidable, health problems.

At the minimum, four health screenings are recommended before breeding your kooiker:

  • Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy (ENM)
  • von Willebrands Disease (vWD)
  • Cataracts and Eye Disease
  • Patellar Luxation

Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy (ENM) is a genetic disorder that occurs in the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed and causes progressive spinal degeneration. Proceeding paralysis starting in the hind limbs finally leads to the death of the dog. Affected dogs exhibit first symptoms at the 3rd to 12th month of their lives. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease.

Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) is a severe blood-clotting disorder in which affected animals do not produce any von Willebrand Factor protein in their blood. This condition makes them more likely to bleed abnormally and severely. This can lead to life threatening consequences in situations such as accidental injuries, spaying, or neutering.

It is extremely important that all kooiker breeding stock be genetically tested for von Willebrands Disease and Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy. Use this Veterinary Form to have your kooiker DNA tested for both vWD and ENM. Testing is performed at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. A subsidy from the Dutch club, Vereniging Het Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (VHNK), is available. Follow this link for instructions, cost, and reimbursement.

Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) offers testing for hereditary eye disease in dogs. An annual eye exam for your breeding kooiker is recommended.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) offers x-ray testing for patellar luxation, which occurs in kooikers. The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place. All breeding kooikers should be screened for patellar luxation. (Please note that in addition to bones, the OFA can also screen your dog for eyes, cardiac, and more.)