Veterinary professionals

Vets encouraged to support Westie Lung Disease Project

Veterinary researchers have launched final recruitment call for vets and owners of Westies interested in participating in a study. 

West Highland White Terrier

Launched in 2021, The Westie Lung Disease (WLD) project, led by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, is looking to identify an improved treatment option, which could result in a major benefit for canine welfare. 

The two -year project, due to end later this year, is evaluating the effectiveness of a novel treatment approach in Westies with WLD and is offering the trial of an immunosuppressive treatment, which has shown initial promising results. It is also collating owners perceptions of the disease and their experiences of treatment success via a survey. 

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)/Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonitis (NSIP) 

WLD, otherwise known as IPF or NSIP, causes the degeneration of lung function over time and can eventually result in respiratory failure. It is most frequently seen in Westies, but can affect other breeds. Prognosis is poor due to limited success with current treatment options. 

Researchers from the R(D)SVS were the first to report WLD in 1999 and since, with others, have tried to better understand the disease.  

Differential diagnosis

Researchers at the Dick Vet, after analysing data from high-resolution CT (HRCT) images, believe that WLD may be closely related to a disease found in humans known as Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonitis (NSIP). This condition in humans has responded well to treatment with mycophenolate mofetil, which may offer some hope for dogs with WLD. 


Our results so far with mycophenolate have been very promising with a clear benefit and improvement in quality of life for affected dogs, but to be convinced we need to evaluate the response in a large number of dogs.

Professor Brendan CorcoranPersonal Chair of Veterinary Cardiopulmonary Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

Can you help? 

Vets or owners with Westies with WLD symptoms are welcome to enquire about joining this study. Participation can be remote, however cases can also be seen at the R(D)SVS as a referral if it is convenient. Clinical researchers from the R(D)SVS will provide guidance and advice on patient management throughout the trial. 

Any Westies who have been diagnosed with WLD by their vet either via HRCT or via x-ray are welcome to get in touch regarding the clinical trial, and diagnosis does not have to be confirmed to get in contact regarding completing our survey.   

The study is funded by the Westie Foundation of America. To learn more about the study or email  

Related links

WLD study blog


About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies   

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.   

The School comprises:   

The Roslin Institute   

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems   

The Roslin Innovation Centre   

The Hospital for Small Animals   

Equine Veterinary Services   

Farm Animal Services   

Easter Bush Pathology   

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education   

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.