Puppy Lung Health Study

Puppy Lung Health Study 2018-01-18T18:58:57+00:00

Update 1-18-2018, CHF Study Funded


Dear NTCA Members and Friends,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Kurt Williams DVM, PhD (Michigan State University) has been awarded a competitive Canine Health Foundation grant award to study developmental lung disease in Norwich Terrier puppies.  This award is for a 2-year project beginning March 1, 2018.  The CHF award amount $116,076.

The project title is:  Characterizing Developmental Lung Disease as Cause of Sudden Death in the Norwich Terrier.

In his preliminary work to collect pilot data for this grant application, Dr. Williams found that early unexplained deaths of Norwich Terrier puppies are associated with abnormal lung development and pulmonary vascular disease.

Norwich Terrier breeders can help advance this work.  In the unfortunate event that you have a young puppy die, refrigerate the body (do not freeze) and contact Dr. Williams right away via email: will1273@dcpah.msu.edu and include “Norwich Terrier Lung Study” in the subject line of the email. As of today, he has received 18 puppies total.  We will keep the website updated.


 -Jane Schubart   1-18-2018

Update on Norwich Terrier Puppy Lung Health Study

As members of the Norwich Terrier Club of America doubtless know, unexplained deaths are a common occurrence early in life in Norwich Terrier puppies. Recently, in cooperation with members of the NTCA, Dr. Kurt Williams at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University has been investigating the role that abnormal lung development may be playing in contributing to the problem of mortality in young Norwich Terrier puppies.  An initial study of 2 such puppies documented severe abnormalities in lung development.  Since that time, Dr. Williams’ study has expanded to include a total of 7 Norwich Terrier puppies that died early in life (< 2 weeks of age).  Five of the seven puppies (the remaining two arrived to Dr. Williams at the time of this writing and are still being studied) have been evaluated thus far and all have similar lung abnormalities, suggesting strongly that developmental lung disease is a significant contributing factor in the deaths of Norwich Terrier puppies.  

Dr. Williams is interested in continuing to research this finding in the Norwich Terrier breed with the ultimate goal of identifying the cause so that this important disease can be eliminated from the breed.  If you would like to contribute deceased puppies to the research project, see below for instructions on how to participate in this important study.

Abnormal Lung Development as a Cause of Neonatal Death in Norwich Terrier Puppies

Unexplained deaths are reported to be a common occurrence early in life in Norwich Terrier puppies.  The NTCA Health Committee is pleased to announce that Dr. Kurt Williams (Michigan State University) is collecting pilot data to study issues of abnormal  lung development that may be contributing to early life mortality in puppies.

Recently (October 2016), in cooperation with two Norwich Terrier breeders, Dr. Williams documented severe abnormalities in lung development as a cause of death in Norwich Terrier puppies that died early in life (less than 2 weeks of age).  The microscopic findings are quite characteristic and strikingly similar. Because of this finding, and the anecdotal knowledge of early life death as an important problem in Norwich Terriers, he hypothesizes that lung developmental abnormalities may be an important and unrecognized cause of death early in life.

To further explore this hypothesis, he is looking to obtain Norwich Terriers who died under 14 days of age. The goal of this pilot study is to have 10-15 puppies submitted for evaluation.

What are the criteria for the study?

  • Norwich Terrier puppy
  • Male or female
  • Under 14 days at the time of death

How can I participate?

Refrigerate the body, do not freeze, and contact Dr. Williams right away via email (will1273@dcpah.msu.edu) with “Norwich Terrier Lung Study” in the subject line of the email.  Shipping instructions and other important information will be provided once it is determined that the puppy is a candidate to be included. The Intake Questionnaire is available for your convenience.

Participating individuals have had speedy results!

Dr. Kurt Williams
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP
G380 Veterinary Medical Center College of Veterinary Medicine,  784 Wilson Road Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1314