A recently reported case is of special interest. It is actually an old one, occurring years ago, from one of the earliest litters that I heard about, and the reason I had heard about it was that there were three affected cases in the litter, but I did not manage to get paperwork on any of them. Now this fourth has turned up with all paperwork. Four in a litter, with better screening! They have found such litters in Norway. Maybe JKD is not quite as rare as imagined.
Despite increase in the understanding of JKD some old beliefs still hold and are being used by some to ignore cases. It is therefore worthwhile repeating a few facts.
Urinary tract infections are NOT a cause of JKD, but are a consequence of the disease. They only aid detection of JKD.
The urinary tract in bitches is shorter than dogs and therefore their kidneys are at greater risk of infection. This is one reason why JKD is seen more frequently seen in this sex – more are detected.
While the detection of immature cells on kidney histo-pathology is taken to be the key diagnostic evidence for what is defined as renal dysplasia(RD), failure to detect these cells does NOT refute an RD diagnosis. The pathology uses only samples of kidneys; the immature cells of even affected regions of the kidney may be missed. Alternatively, the kidneys may be too damaged by the disease process for critical analysis to find these cells.
Likewise, while malformed, scarred, or even a missing kidney may be observed with ultrasound, a failure to observe such does NOT mean that the kidneys are functionally normal.
What we ARE dealing with is an inherited kidney failure that is killing Boxers in family groups. The critical factor in defining this disease is that it is inherited whether or not it has been diagnosed as chronic renal failure, progressive nephropathy, or whatever. The present evidence suggests that all are manifestations of the one genetic disease and it is the recognition of a kidney problem in the group, not the individual dog, which is important.
Further aspects of such difficulties with JKD are dealt with in an article entitled ‘The Confusing Picture of Boxer JKD’ to be published in a forthcoming issue of the American journal, Boxer Daily. There is now also a blog on the Boxerjkd website which features reports and discussions on the subject and also real questions and the answers. Please contribute.