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Glaucoma DNA Test research in Spanish Water Dogs

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This  campaign is to fund research into identifying the DNA gene in Spanish Water Dogs that is responsible for a predisposition to Glaucoma and develop a test for it.


Glaucoma tests  across many dog breeds are standard in order to check the health of the eyes.  This to determine if they are at risk from developing the condition.  The tests are usually completed by owners to assist understanding of any health implications the dog may have, especially when considering the potential for breeding.  Degenerative conditions can be passed along generational breed lines, deteriorating the health of a breed and its future generations.  The ideal is to be able to identify those dogs that have a predisposition or are carrier of certain conditions, to prevent its onward transmission, in the hope that health of the breed can be improved and maintained for many years to come.

The current Glaucoma test usually comprises of an Ophthalmologist performing an examination of the eye through a gonioscopy and an ocular ultrasound or ultrasound biomicroscopy.  But these tests are not 100% accurate.  

It goes without saying that having an eye that has succumbed to Glaucoma is very painful and the eye is sightless, with the most humane course of action being to remove the eye.  Caring for a dog who is showing clinical signs of Glaucoma means administering eye drops twice daily, regular visits to eye specialists to check the eye pressures and watching for signs of pain.    Clinical signs inevitably will result in the disease taking the sight of your dog, usually within 9 months.


The UK Spanish Water Dog Club, the official breed club of the Kennel Club, are seeking assistance to obtain funding to support research to find the DNA signpost that identifies the Gene that causes a predisposition to primary Glaucoma in Spanish Water Dogs.  By developing such a test, it will allow confirmed identification of the disease, prevent its spread in future generations, with the aim to eradicate it from the breed altogether.

Currently the club has partnered with the Eye Veterinary Clinic at Leominster and the Canine Genetics Department at the Animal Health Trust to help conduct the research, with the latter having previous success at identifying the gene to support DNA testing in Border Collies. 

All money donated will go directly towards funding the research to identify and create the DNA test.

We welcome and thank you for any support you can offer to our campaign.

An example of the condition in the breed.

In 2016 Kiki represented Spanish Water Dogs as part of the Spanish Rapidz Flyball Team at the Euros 2016.  She went on to be awarded Top Flyball Dog 2017. In 2019, at the age of 9, her career was suddenly halted when she lost her first eye to Glaucoma.  8 months later she lost her second eye and is now blind.  Kiki enjoyed Toss and Fetch, Agility, achieved silver level in Natural Aptitude Water Tests and won several Best of Breed's at Gundog Shows.   There was no warning that she was going to lose her sight.  At the age of 2 years she had a standard Gonioscopy test which produced a CLEAR result.

Whilst we use this story to highlight an example of the condition, the campaign is NOT to raise funds for Kiki.  Like many other Spanish Water Dogs Kiki tested clear for Goniodysgenesis through the current testing system, but still went on to develop the condition in later life.  This has happened to countless other Spanish Water Dogs. 

The purpose of the campaign it is to raise funds to support the research and find the DNA gene responsible for Glaucoma, so that all Spanish Water Dogs can benefit from better, more conclusive health testing of this condition in the future.


  • Michael Cosgrove
    • £30 
    • 8 mos
  • Janet Peart
    • £25 
    • 3 yrs
  • Jayne Gray
    • £100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Linda Cook
    • £30 
    • 3 yrs


Spanish Water Dog Club

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