Neonatal and Pediatric Health Committee

Chair: Carol Mattingley (610-469-6430; [email protected])
Members:  Chris Dostie, Pat Hogan, Leslie McCracken, and Janice Reilly


The goal of this committee is to obtain further information regarding pediatric and neonatal diseases in Portuguese Water Dogs. The committee will focus on acting as a resource to inform breeders/owners, establishing relationships with veterinary researchers, assisting breeders/owners with data collection, and facilitating future research collaborations in an effort to identify, control, and eventually eliminate (where possible) diseases affecting neonatal and pediatric Portuguese Water Dogs.

Committee Goals:

  1. To increase awareness of neonatal and pediatric illnesses of Portuguese Water Dogs.
  2. To increase awareness and encourage the use of diagnostic tools under the instruction of the owner/breeder’s primary care veterinarian to help identify the cause of neonatal and pediatric illness in Portuguese Water Dogs.
  3. To encourage the open sharing of information regarding neonatal and pediatric diseases in Portuguese Water Dogs as well as participation in DNA banks to assist with future research projects.
  4. To provide support and information to breeders and owners of Portuguese Water Dogs affected with neonatal and pediatric diseases, especially those diseases that do not have an established PWDCA health committee to which to refer these breeders/owners.
  5. To act as liaison and facilitator on behalf of the PWDCA with ongoing and future research studies regarding neonatal and pediatric illness.
  6. To record, document, and establish incidence of disease from information received on the existence of canine neonatal and pediatric illness among Portuguese Water Dogs.
  7. To assist researchers in determining whether there is a genetic predisposition for specific neonatal and pediatric diseases in Portuguese Water Dogs and work in collaboration with breeders, owners, the PWDCA, other breed clubs, other funding organizations, veterinarians, and veterinary researchers to facilitate further research in these areas.

Committee Composition and Duties:

  • A minimum of one member and a maximum of 5 members. Ideally, members should:
    • Have significant experience raising neonatal and pediatric puppies.
    • Be able to read and comprehend medical journals and textbooks in regards to disease information.
    • Have good communication skills to work with the general public as well as veterinarians, veterinary researchers, and funding institutions.
    • Geographical diversity of committee members is encouraged, but not required.
  • Members of the committee are required to sign a PWDCA confidentiality agreement and any and all information submitted to them will remain in strict confidentiality unless authorized by the owner/breeder in writing that the information submitted can be publically shared.
  • Breeders and owners of PWDs that are affected with neonatal or pediatric illnesses are encouraged to report these findings to the committee, complete a neonatal and pediatric health questionnaire, and file that data in the PWDCA Health and Litter Database.
  • Members may be asked to answer questions that arise from phone calls and e-mails from PWD owners and breeders regarding neonatal and pediatric diseases. These communications are designed to help breeders and owners obtain further information regarding specific diseases for which there is not an already established PWDCA health committee. In this way, members may assist breeders and owners with contact information of veterinarians, veterinary researchers, and published veterinary medical information where appropriate.
  • The PWDCA does not and cannot give out veterinary medical advice, as that is reserved for the veterinary professionals involved in these cases. As such, any and all general information regarding diseases will be accompanied by documented veterinary medical references with any and all specific medical questions being redirected to the veterinarian involved with the case who has a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (primary care veterinarian).
  • One goal of this committee is to collect data on the types and incidence of neonatal and pediatric diseases in PWDs. One method for collection of this data is by utilizing survey tools as well as encouraging reporting of neonatal and pediatric disease to the committee.
  • Results of data collected will be included in the committee’s annual report, however, no specific animal information or owner information will be included in that report in order to maintain confidentiality.
  • In addition, where possible, breeders and owners are encouraged to participate in DNA banks where DNA samples along with pedigree and health information is stored for use in future research projects.

Funding: At this point in time, no dedicated financial participation by the PWDCA is required, although occasional funding for supporting health tents, survey tools, and other forms of data collection may be requested of the PWDCA by this committee. 

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