It is accepted that, unfortunately, bloat has been known in Irish Setters for many years. In 1972 Rasbridge in his breed notes wrote “ While this condition is not is not as common in Irish Setters as in some other breeds and while my limited experience suggests to me that it is less prevalent now than in say the 30’s it certainly occurs. It would appear to have at least a partial genetic basis perhaps nothing more than an inherited tendency for the condition to occur under certain conditions.” and he names Ch Norna (dob 1926) as dying from bloat.
There have been several research projects into bloat over the years and the most recent is being conducted by Wilko Jansen from The Netherlands. He is not a scientist or vet but has been working as someone with a very keen interest in the Irish setter having owned them since 1968. He has been a member of the Ierse Setter Club (The Irish setter Club of Netherlands) since 1968 and was made an honorary life member in 2015.
In 1970 he was involved first hand with a dog which bloated and died whilst he was looking after the kennels of friends who were also breeders. He had a granddaughter of this bitch who also bloated and another bitch who blew up regularly after meals.
In 1974, as a member of the Breeding Advisory Committee of the Ierse Setter Club he had access to records held by the club and became aware of several cases of bloat that had been reported. He has had a continuing interest in the health of the breed and was instrumental with Wim Van Gemert in introducing the breeding controls and collection of health data by the club. Although bloat was reported there were other potential health problems reported as well. The club was the first breed club to send out questionnaires to members and owners of Irish Setters aged 2 years old and this health data was kept on cards.
In 2012, the Animal Health Trust announced a genetic investigation of bloat in the Irish Setter which was believed to be the first investigation to consider the probable genetic component. Unfortunately although the results raised a suspicion that there is an inherited component to the condition, confounding factors prevented the results reaching statistical significance and therefore proof so there was no clear conclusion.
He has recently been given the records and notes of Nel van der Sijde (Goldwyn) a prominent breeder of Irish setters in The Netherlands after the Second World War which mentioned several Irish setters which bloated.
He started his project on bloat in 2014 and at the beginning of 2016 he contacted the Ierse Setter Club and was given permission to use their health database “ZooEasy” for his research in the Dutch population of Irish Setters.
He has concentrated on pedigrees and family relationships between dogs that are known to have bloated. He has published a paper of his own personal opinion based upon his pedigree studies of reported bloat cases by owners and breeders.
He has many Irish setter pedigrees on his database and is continuing to collect information on Irish Setters which have bloated. If you have bred or owned a dog that has bloated then please pass on your information to him.
If you would like a copy of his paper dated November 2016 please contact him directly.
His email address is: wilkomalcompetsupplies [dot] nl