Introduction Reference Forms Test Form Questionnaire Form
DNA Informed Consent OFA Link
Checklist Veterinary Instructions
Welcome to the Irish Water Spaniel Thyroid Study Website.

Welcome to Phase Three of the Irish Water Spaniel Thyroid Study. This website will update you on the progress of the Study, explain our next goals and clarify how to you can participate.

Our initial goal for the Study was to provide an opportunity for you and your IWS to take part in assessing and quantifying thyroid gland function in the Irish Water Spaniel and to determine the “normal” range of thyroid function for this breed. As different breeds and different groups of breeds can have different normal ranges, it’s useful to actually define and verify the breed-specific normal ranges for thyroid parameters for our breed. Until now, it was common to use the “normals” derived from the larger canine population as the standard reference ranges for thyroid gland analyses and evaluation of the IWS. Through the analysis of over 500 IWS submittals, we’ve determined that the general normal ranges used for similarly sized dogs is appropriate for our IWSs. Thank you to everyone whose work, participation and donations have helped us to confirm the appropriate ranges!

Thanks must also go to those IWS owners who submitted their dogs’ blood for DNA typing to the lab of Dr. Lorna Kennedy of the University of Manchester, England. We’re pleased to announce that Dr. Kennedy’s initial work culminated in identifying the region on Chromosome 12 that governs and controls thyroid function in our IWSs as well as several other breeds.

Our next step will be to define the specific genes that are actually responsible for thyroid function in our IWSs. The means of doing this will be to collect and analyze the DNA extracts of blood samples from closely related families of IWSs, whether they have normal or abnormal thyroid function.

We must also thank several “angels” who in the past have generously donated funds to underwrite and thereby continue our ability to subsidize the cost of blood sample collection and evaluation. Hemopet’s Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM, has also very generously supported the project by discounting our testing costs. We now have new underwriting in place to start this third phase of research, but donations are always welcomed and appreciated. Please contact Florence Blecher if you’re willing and interested in donating to this important work –

Why is this study important?
This work will put the Irish Water Spaniel breed at the cutting edge of canine genetic research.
This study is important because finding the specific marker gene(s) and fully understanding the thyroid gland is invaluable to dog owners and breeders. The thyroid is the gland that regulates metabolism of virtually all bodily cellular functions, such that reduced thyroid function can adversely affect almost all areas of health and temperament. (Click here for a link to a chart of the clinical signs of Hypothyroidism)
Cumulative Number of IWSs Tested for Thyroid Function by Year, 2007-2015
Year Total # Tested
2007 111
2008 193
2009 250
2010 437
2011 491
2012 504
2013 519
2014 534
2015 547

How does the Hemopet IWS Thyroid Study differ from the OFA Thyroid Database?

The tested values of the OFA Thyroid Database are different from the more complete Hemopet Thyroid panel.
The OFA Thyroid panel analyzes only 3 analytes, while the Hemopet test analyzes 5.
For the OFA to classify a dog as being hypothyroid, most of the gland has already been damaged, whereas the Hemopet analysis is more predictive of canine hypothyroidism.
The IWS Thyroid Study analysis is performed at Hemopet whereas the OFA Thyroid panel is performed at different labs including Antech.
The OFA requires separate payment for inclusion of results in their thyroid database, which Hemopet will forward to them.
When should I have my IWS's thyroid tested for this Study?
Wait at least 45 days after any vaccinations, especially rabies.
Wait until after puberty, once your IWS has reached sexual maturity.
For dogs, wait until they're at least 10 months old.
For bitches, wait at least 12 weeks after the start of their first or any heat season.
Draw blood 4-6 hours AFTER taking any thyroid medication if your IWS is taking thyroid supplements.
How can my Irish Water Spaniel and I participate in this Study?
There are three ways to take part in the Study.
#1 Submit Blood, Serum and paperwork to Hemopet for a complete new thyroid panel/Thyroid Profile 5™ + DNA analysis

This is Option #1.

Additional blood needs to be drawn for examination re the IWS DNA thyroid marker research.


Enclose: $80 payment to Hemopet along with the whole blood and serum. ** All payments must be in US dollars or by credit card.

#2 Submit Blood, Serum and paperwork to Hemopet for a new thyroid panel/OFA Thyroid Expanded Profile + DNA analysis and submittal to OFA Thyroid Database

This is Option #2.

Additional blood needs to be drawn for IWS DNA analysis as well as for the different tests needed to satisfy OFA’s Thyroid Database requirements.

[Please note that participation in the OFA Thyroid Database is currently a requirement for an IWS to receive a CHIC/Canine Health Information Center number.]


Enclose: $112 payment to Hemopet along with the whole blood and serum.

Enclose: $15 payment to OFA. ** All payments must be in US dollars or by credit card.

#3Helpful, Paperwork Option – no additional payment is required:

This is Option #3.

Submit Existing Complete Thyroid panels done on your IWS within the past 6 months.

This entails mailing photocopies of prior test results to Hemopet along with the Completed QUESTIONNAIRE.


## IWS owners living OUTSIDE of the United States who wish to submit samples for this Study also need to:

Enclose: an EXPLANATORY LETTER for US Customs along with all blood and/or serum samples.



This may all seem confusing because of the different participation options, all the paperwork, and the drawing and shipping different forms of blood. The Checklist/Option Matrix/C outlines everything at a glance.

Please give yourself plenty of time. Please do your best to complete the forms BEFORE you visit your veterinarian. Note that the OFA application requires registration numbers and registered names. Feel free to submit copies of photos, pedigrees or other information that helps explain any issues relating to your dog’s health.

If you have any questions, please contact Florence Blecher at or (323) 874-0944 and she’ll do her best to help you sort things out.

Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to do this to help our dogs!

Please Note: It is also possible to have additional blood testing and analysis done at the same time that you submit your sample to participate in the Irish Water Spaniel Thyroid Study. is the link to Hemopet’s test information page. Please also note that additional blood samples MAY be required to complete the added testing as well as additional cost, so please contact Hemopet directly to obtain the relevant information –