The health status of Dutch shepherd dogs in Finland was reviewed between January 1990 and July 2001, comparing the three coat varieties. The study consisted of questionnaire surveys to the owners of Dutch shepherd dogs and their tending veterinarians, and a one-year follow-up based on veterinarians’ medical records. A total of 272 dogs participated, comprising 59.5 % of the Dutch shepherd dogs registered in Finland at the end of 2001. The survey was returned for 166 (61 %) of the 272 dogs by owners and for 67 (24.6 %) of 107 dogs by veterinarians. The one-year follow-up information was returned for 116 (45.3 %) of 256 dogs. According to dog owners, veterinarians and the one-year follow-up, 53.6 %, 20.9 % and 68.1 % of dogs, respectively, were healthy. Based on information provided by owners and veterinarians, the most affected organs were the gastrointestinal tract, the skin and the spine. According to the veterinarians, lameness in fore- and hindlimbs and inflammation of the eye also occurred more often than other diseases. The only significant difference between coat varieties (p < 0.05) was a higher incidence of inflammation of the eye in long-haired Dutch shepherd dogs compared with their rough- and short-haired counterparts. No significant differences were found between genders. Thus, Dutch shepherd dogs appear to be fairly healthy in Finland. However, since their breeding population is relatively small, attention should be directed to the incidence of hereditary diseases in this breed.
Injury to the cranial cruciate ligament (CrCI) in the stifle joint is a very common problem in dogs. The osteoarthritic changes in the joint begin immediately due to the inflammation process caused by the CrCl trauma and excessive drawer motion within the joint. An early diagnosis is very important. Arthroscopy of the stifle joint is minimally invasive, gives a quick and exact diagnosis of trauma to the CrCl and is specially helpful in partially torn CrCl injuries without drawer motion. Traditionally used operation techniques are either extra- or intracapsular techniques, which intend to replace or mimic the injured CrCl and thereby to prevent the drawer motion passively. The results are inconsistent and do not provide normal joint function post-surgically. Tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) was introduced by Slocum 1993 and is a technique based on a novel philosophy regarding joint stability. Decreasing the tibial plateau angle (TPA) neutralizes the cranial tibial thrust (CTT) and the stifle joint is stabilised actively by muscle action. The post-operative morbidity is clearly decreased with the combination of arthroscopy and TPLO.