California Miniature
Schnauzer Rescue

Schnauzer photo

Schnauzer Health

Miniature Schnauzers are one of the healthier breeds of dogs but, as is the case with all living things, Schnauzers do get illnesses and some suffer from genetic and/or congenital health disorders.

If your Schnauzer is ill, or acting abnormally, take him or her to the vet promptly before the condition gets worse or, sadly, your pet dies. DON'T waste valuable time during which your Schnauzer may get sicker while you read the Internet.

Be aware that there is a lot of poor quality and outright incorrect veterinary advice on the Internet, often written by pet owners with no veterinary training. The following two Internet websites have veterinary health information prepared by veterinarians.  Use them to learn more, AFTER having your Schnauzer seen by a qualified veterinarian.

Health Research and Genetic Tests

CMSR supports the efforts of the American Miniature Schnauzer Club and the AKC Canine Health Foundation to help eliminate genetic diseases in Miniature Schnauzers and to help find effective treatments for disorders found in the breed.

Information on Canine Melanoma

Information on Myotonia Congenita

Myotonia Congenita DNA Test

A DNA test for Myotonia Congenita became available from the Josephine Deubler Genetic Disease Testing Laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania on March 2, 2000. It was the first DNA test available for a disorder in Miniature Schnauzers. It gives Miniature Schnauzers the ability to completely eliminate Myotonia Congenita from the breed.

Each animal needs be tested only once during its lifetime. The cost of the test is $75 per animal, much less than laboratories are charging for DNA tests for disorders in other breeds.

On October 11, 2001, Dr. Urs Giger of the University of Pennsylvania reported that the Josephine Deubler Genetic Testing Laboratory had tested about 400 Miniature Schnauzers, and that more than 10% had proved to be carriers of Myotonia Congenita. He further reported that pedigree analyses suggest that most of the carriers are related to Ch. Blythewood Shooting Sparks, and that the test results provide evidence of this genetic mutation in Australia and Europe, as well as in the U.S. and Canada.  As of April 2002, another affected and several more carriers had been found. As of October 2002, Dr. Giger reports that there are several carriers as to whom the lab does not have sufficient pedigree information to determine if they are descended from Shooting Sparks, but still none definitively established not be be descendants of Shooting Sparks.

Information on the DNA Test For Myotonia Congenita, including instructions on how to submit blood samples.

Type A Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA Test

A DNA test for Type A Miniature Schnauzer PRA was developed by the Baker Institute of Cornell University and became available to breeders beginning in late October 2000. The test is offered through Cornell's affiliated testing laboratory, OptiGen.

OptiGen has reported that, through December 31, 2016, it had tested 299 Miniature Schnauzers for Type A PRA since the test became available to the public and that all have tested Type A normal, including 4 who had been diagnosed as affected with PRA.

We also know of a few animals who were clinically affected with PRA whose blood was tested while the test was being developed. All of them tested normal for Type A PRA. Cornell has advised us that the animals that tested as Type A affecteds or carriers (while the test was being developed) included both animals from its genetic bank and one or more animals presented at Cornell's eye clinics. However, we have no information as to the identity or pedigrees of any such dogs. Also, the research leading to the development of the test has not yet been published.

Check the OptiGen web site for all the details on how to obtain the test,

Persistent Muellerian Duct Syndrome (PMDS) Test

In late 2014, OptiGen began offering a test for PMDS in Miniature Schnauzers. PMDS in the Miniature Schnauzer is caused by a mutation in the MISRII gene and is inherited as a sex-limited autosomal recessive trait. This means that the disease is only observed in males that carry two copies of the mutation (are “homozygous”), for the MISRIImutation. Females that are homozygous for the mutation do not develop disease but may transmit the mutation to offspring. Carriers of one copy of the MISRII mutation do not have the disease.

MDS clinical symptoms/phenotype:
Males with PMDS have complete male internal genitalia however they also develop some of the female internal genitalia that can interfere with descent of the testes into the scrotum. Approximately half of the males with PMDS are either uni-laterally or bi-laterally cryptorchid. PMDS males with descended testes are fertile, however they frequently have reduced sperm count. PMDS males with bi-lateral cryptorchidism are sterile. Uni-lateral cryptorchid PMDS males have much reduced fertility. As in other cryptorchid dogs, PMDS-affected males commonly develop Sertoli cell tumors. Pyometra (infection of the uterus) is also reported in PMDS males. Because approximately 50% of the PMDS males are not cryptorchid and females do not show the disease, the frequency of the MISRII mutation in Miniature Schnauzers may be surprisingly high. A random selection of 20 unrelated Miniature Schnauzers previously tested for Type A PRA at OptiGen revealed that 7 of the dogs carried one copy of the MISRII mutation. These carriers were submitted from dogs originating in Europe, Asia and North America so the mutation does appear to have wide geographic distribution. As more dogs are tested, OptiGen will be able to provide updated mutation frequency to those who are interested.

During the 2nd quarter of 2016, one Miniature Schnauzer was tested for PMDS and was found to be normal.

Check the OptiGen web site for all the details on how to obtain the test,

© California Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc., 2012–2017
Last Updated: March 17, 2017