The Paw Print Genetics Blog

Paw Print Genetics Adds New Canine Genetic Disease Tests to Ever-Expanding Offerings

Paw Print Genetics Adds New Canine Genetic Disease Tests to Ever-Expanding Offerings

With the current, rapid pace of new genetic discoveries, inherited disease testing is quickly becoming a common part of clinical veterinary diagnostics. Paw Print Genetics is excited to announce the release of six new canine genetic disease tests, including highly anticipated tests for three diseases in retriever breeds; macular corneal dystrophy and congenital myasthenic syndrome in the Labrador retriever and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 5 in the golden retriever.

Macular Corneal Dystrophy

With an estimated mutation carrier rate of 3.3% in a 2015 study of the UK Labrador retrievers, macular corneal dystrophy (MCD) is an inherited eye disease that that is likely to be encountered at some point in a small animal veterinarian’s career1.

Inherited in a recessive manner, Labradors with two copies of the associated CHST6 gene mutation typically present in middle age with MCD-associated vision loss. Affected dogs display decreased activity of an enzyme known as corneal glucosamine N-acetyl-6-sulfotransferase (C-GlcNAc6ST), which results in decreased sulfation of the corneal glycosaminoglycan, keratin sulfate (KS). Decreased sulfation of KS reduces its solubility, thus preventing its full metabolism and allowing for deposition into the extracellular space of the corneal stroma and Desmet’s membrane, and intracellularly in keratinocytes and corneal epithelial cells ...

Does Your Dog Suffer from Noise Anxiety?

Does Your Dog Suffer from Noise Anxiety?

Summertime is usually a very positive time for our pets.  The weather is pleasant, walks are more frequent, and general outside playtime is more regular.  Unfortunately, this is also the time of thunderstorms and increase fireworks use, especially around July 4th.  The loud noises associated with these events can cause fear and anxiety in some pets.  A new behavioral study out of the University of Helsinki suggests that sensitivity to noise, especially fireworks, is the most common form of anxiety in pet dogs.  In this study, 72.5% of all dogs showed some type of anxiety, whereas, 32% displayed a form of noise sensitivity1.

People who own pets with noise sensitivity usually recognize the classic display of anxiety behaviors such as trembling, panting, drooling, pacing, vocalizing, hiding, and trying to escape.  Often, dogs are confused about the source of the noise and therefore try to escape to the outside, or just the opposite, scratch at the door to come inside.  Because some rooms are better at dampening sound, these dogs may run to the basement or hide under or behind furniture. There are some displays of anxiety that owners may not pick ...

Separation Anxiety and the Myth of the Spiteful Dog

Separation Anxiety and the Myth of the Spiteful Dog

Your dog is not spiteful. In fact, I would dare to say that NO dog is spiteful. However, it’s pretty easy to feel like this might be the case if your dog predictably takes their own trip to Destruction Town nearly every time you leave them alone. The urine and feces on the floor, chewed up furnishings, carpet, doors, and other personal items are all the evidence you need to convince you that your dog was bent on revenge for leaving them in solitude. Even though it may feel personal, in actuality, this destruction might just be a sign that your dog suffers from a treatable disorder known as separation anxiety (SA), which happens to be most common in dogs which are highly bonded to their owners.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Dr. Suzanne Hetts, lists SA among the most common of 12 common causes of destructive canine behavior. It has been described as a “behavioral disorder of dogs when left alone or separated from their owner” (2). Though not exclusive to dogs with SA, many affected dogs are also described as being “hyperattached” to the owner. Affected dogs are often found to follow their owner from ...

National DNA Day

National DNA Day

Today, April 25th, is National DNA Day. This day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the DNA double helix, our blueprint of life, in 1953.  The first sequence of the Canine Genome was published only a couple of years later in 2005.  Since then, more than 3,500 species have had some of their genomes sequenced, with about 100 species having their genomes sequenced at a ‘reference quality’ meaning that they can be used to see differences among individuals and used to find genes that are responsible for certain diseases or traits.  Having the dog genome sequence has allowed researchers to identify genetic variants that make some dog breeds unique and have provided the ability to find mutations or genetic changes that are responsible for common and rare diseases.

Currently, more than 300 genetic changes in dogs are known that lead to phenotypic differences (the way a dog looks) or lead to inherited diseases.  Knowing these DNA changes or mutations allows laboratories like Paw Print Genetics to develop tests for these so that dogs can be tested to see if they are at-risk for a disease or to ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches Six New, Highly Anticipated Disease Tests

Paw Print Genetics Launches Six New, Highly Anticipated Disease Tests

Paw Print Genetics is excited to announce that it has launched six new, very desired disease tests.  These tests compliment the breed-specific assays that PPG already offers and shows our dedication to providing the largest menu of genetic tests for dogs. The following tests can be ordered as individual tests or may be found as part of one of our breed-specific panels. The breed-specific panels represent the most common and/or severe conditions in your breed and these tests should be considered for any breeding dog.

 

Acral Mutilation Syndrome

Acral Mutilation Syndrome, or AMS, is a neurologic disease affecting Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, English Spring Spaniels, French Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers, Old English Sheepdogs and the Pointer. This inherited disease can present around 4 months of age with insensitivity to pain in the lower limbs, repetitive licking and biting of the paws, which eventually can result in self-mutilation. Because affected dogs are unable to feel pain in their feet, they will continue to walk without obvious discomfort. This is an autosomal recessive condition that requires two copies of the mutation to be affected. Screening for carriers will allow breeders to avoid producing puppies with this condition.

Craniomandibular ...

New information regarding pet transmission of COVID-19

New information regarding pet transmission of COVID-19

By Robert Westra

Researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China have pre-released a study that indicates the virus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the COVID-19 disease, can infect and replicate efficiently in cats.  They have also found that cats can transmit the virus to other cats via respiratory droplets.  There is still little evidence to suggest that cats can be a source of viral transmission to humans.  This study also found that dogs appear to have low susceptibility to the virus. 

Accordingly, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) makes these recommendations when it comes to COVID-19 and your pets.

- If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).

- Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking ...

COVID 19 and Your Pets

COVID 19 and Your Pets

By Robert Westra

With the COVID -19 Pandemic creating many challenges today, we thought we would provide information to help you understand the condition and reduce any risk to you or your furry family members.

A novel coronavirus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong reported on March 4th, 2020 a pet dog had repeatedly tested weak positive for SARS-CoV-2.  This is consistent with a low level of infection.  The transmission was most likely human to animal, as the dog lived with a human that tested positive for the virus.  The pet was quarantined for 14 days and never developed clinical signs. Sadly, the pet passed away shortly after its quarantine from unrelated causes. 

Although this case is concerning, we don’t really know if SARS-CoV-2 can infect dogs, cats and other animals.  The World Health Organization stated there is no evidence at present that dogs and cats can be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 ...

For The Veterinarian: The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

For The Veterinarian: The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Shortened legs are a major defining feature for some of today’s most popular domestic dog breeds. Although dogs with extreme shortening of the limbs likely come to mind when pondering this trait (such as dachshunds or basset hounds), many other breeds also display a more subtle or moderate limb shortening (e.g. West Highland white terrier, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, beagle). Unfortunately, in some breeds, dogs with shortened legs have also been found to be at an increased risk for early-onset intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). However, over the past several years, genetic discoveries and development of genetic testing have made it possible to better understand the short-legged appearance of some dog breeds and the genetic underpinnings which make some of these dogs more likely to develop IVDD.

Shortened Legs and Genetic Link to Intervertebral Disc Disease

Two genetic mutations associated with shorter limb length have been reported in domestic dogs2,4,5. Both mutations consist of a duplicated section of the canine FGF4 gene (called an FGF4-retrogene) which has been inserted into two aberrant locations of the genome; one copy has been inserted into a region on chromosome 12 (CFA12 FGF4 insertion) and the other copy has ...

New Year - New Swabs!

New Year - New Swabs!

   At Paw Print Genetics, quality and accuracy are at the heart of everything we do. When it comes to the sample collection on your dog that is used to extract DNA, we continue to hold ourselves to this standard. We have recently changed our cheek cell collection method to a new preferred swab. We believe that this new swab will not only allow us to achieve higher quality DNA from your dog, but it will also make your life more convenient. You may notice these swabs have a few differences…

1. One swab does the job

This new swabbing method will now only involve swabbing your dog’s cheek one time, rather than 3 separate times with different swabs. By using this single swab, we are now able to collect more than enough cells to get the DNA that we need.To collect enough cells, be sure to swab your dog for a slow count of 30. This is super important given that you only get once chance, with one swab, to get enough sample for us. It is our goal is that using a single swab will make the swabbing process simple and easy!

 

2. New look & ...

The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Shortened legs are a major defining feature for some of today’s most popular domestic dog breeds. Although dogs with extreme shortening of the limbs likely come to mind when pondering this trait (such as dachshunds or basset hounds), many other breeds also display a more subtle or moderate limb shortening (e.g. West Highland white terrier, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, beagle). Unfortunately, in some breeds, dogs with shortened legs have also been found to be at an increased risk for early-onset intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). However, over the past several years, genetic discoveries and development of genetic testing have made it possible to better understand the short-legged appearance of some dog breeds and the genetic underpinnings which make some of these dogs more likely to develop IVDD.

Intervertebral Discs and the Spinal Cord

In order to understand IVDD, we must first understand the role, location, and structure of the intervertebral discs (IVDs) and their anatomical relationship to the spinal cord. IVDs play a crucial role as cartilaginous ‘shock absorbers’ for the spine and allow for spinal flexibility. IVDs are often compared to a ‘jelly doughnut’ sitting between the vertebrae as they are composed of an outer ring of tough ...