Hereditary copper toxicosis in West Highland white terriers

Vet Pathol. 1986 Mar;23(2):148-54. doi: 10.1177/030098588602300207.


Histologic, histochemical and atomic absorption studies on liver tissue from 71 West Highland white terriers are reported. Twenty-seven dogs had histologically normal liver and copper concentration comparable to mongrel control dogs. Forty-four dogs had hepatic copper concentrations up to 22 times the mean copper concentration found in clinically normal mongrel dogs. Hepatitis, hepatic necrosis and cirrhosis were associated with the increased copper concentration in some dogs. Matings between dogs with high liver copper concentration produced pups with high liver concentration. The copper storage defect is inherited.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Copper / toxicity
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Liver / growth & development
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Male
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / pathology
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / veterinary*


  • Copper