Hernia in the kooikerhondje

Do you own a kooikerhondje with a herniated disc (IVDD) diagnosis? Have you had your dog genotyped or are you open to do so? If your dog has been diagnosed with Intervertebral disc disease, or herniated disc through an x-ray, neurological exam, MRI or CT scan you may be able to help us prevent the spread of this disease in the breed.

As part of her PhD project, veterinary geneticist Citlalli Limpens is currently studying the genetic background of this disease in the kooikerhondje. Within this project, we aim to investigate whether mutation in the FGF4 gene is related to IVDD in the kooikerhondje breed.

For this study, we are looking for pedigree kooikerhondjes diagnosed with IVDD by a veterinarian.
If your dog is eligible, and you are interested in participating, please contact us at: c.limpens@uu.nl or ecgg@uu.nl.

About the study

If your dog meets the above requirements, a veterinary specialist will review their veterinary records to verify the IVDD diagnosis. Once your dog is confirmed to meet the study’s criteria, we would like to receive a blood sample from your dog. If DNA of your dog was previously stored at Utrecht University (when the dog was sent in for ENM or VWD diagnosis), you only have to give us consent to use this data for the study. If your dog was also genotyped using a commercial kit, such as Embark, you can additionally share this data with us, by filling in the following survey:


During this study, your dog’s pedigree and genotype data will be analyzed and compared to a group of kooikerhondjes that did not develop IVDD. This will help us with future breeding advice with regard to IVDD in the kooikerhondje.

As part of this study, you will receive a report with the relevant genetic information from the population. You will also be informed on the final results of the study.

About IVDD

Intervertebral Disc Disease is a degenerative disease that affects the dog’s intervertebral discs. When herniation of the intervertebral disc takes place, this will compress the spinal cord, causing the clinical signs: pain and mobility issues, keeping the neck low and inability to lift the head, neck or back pain, weak, abnormal or uncoordinated limb movement, incontinence, shivering, paralysis, and hunched back. The clinical signs can vary depending on the area of the neck or back the herniation takes place.
This disease can be diagnosed via an X-ray, CT scan, MRI and neurological exam.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please send over all clinical data you have available of your dog (including clinical images).