Archives for February 2014

Breed of the Week: Pug

Breed of the Week: Pug

One the oldest breeds known, the pug has always been a companion animal that has wanted to be around people. It dates to at least 400 B.C., and likely served as a foundation for several other breeds – including the bulldog, Pekinese and King Charles spaniel.

The pug is believed to have originated in Asia, likely China. Buddhist monks in Tibet were among the first to keep pugs as pets. Pugs were then taken to Japan, followed by Europe in the 16th Century. They were imported by the Dutch East India company and quickly became a favorite to royalty – including House of Orange (legend has it that a pug saved the life of the prince by alerting him to assassins), William III and Mary II, as well as Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Joséphine, and Queen Victoria and her grandson (King George V) and great grandson (King Edward VIII). The pug made its way into the homes and hearts of Americans in the 19th Century and was recognized by the AKC in 1885.

Ever a people-dog, pugs have been depicted in paintings and writings throughout history as accompanying their owners on travels, at parties, sitting in portraits and ...

If a cavalier King Charles spaniel falls in the woods and no one’s around, is it episodic falling syndrome?

If a cavalier King Charles spaniel falls in the woods and no one’s around, is it episodic falling syndrome?

There aren’t many things sweeter in life than a cavalier King Charles spaniel (CKCS). From their friendly, outgoing demeanor to their adorable, pouty eyes, they have definitely become one of my favorite breeds over the years. It appears that others understand my enthusiasm for the breed as well. In the ten years from 2002 to 2012, CKCS have moved up from 40th place to 20th place on the AKC’s registration statistics and are one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, like other popular dog breeds, cavaliers have their share of inherited diseases that can potentially reduce their quality and quantity of life. At Paw Print Genetics, we strive to control these diseases for our canine companions.

One interesting yet, debilitating disease unique to the CKCS is an inherited neurological condition first reported in 19831, known as episodic falling syndrome (EFS). Affected dogs begin showing signs of spastic muscle contractions of the limbs and trunk between 14 weeks and 4 years of age particularly during exertion, excitement, or frustration. As an episode starts, affected dogs most commonly develop rigid hind limb extension, a convex bending of the spine (“roach backed”), and hold their head near the ...

Dermoid Sinus: Are we on the “ridge” of a paradigm shift?

Dermoid Sinus: Are we on the “ridge” of a paradigm shift?

Since early in canine domestication, humans have been selecting individual dogs with desirable behavioral and physical traits to be founder breeding animals for the hundreds of dog breeds we have today. Early on, the traits selected for were often of great importance for their role as working animals. With time, as the world of dog fanciers took shape, dogs with particular physical traits of aesthetic value began to be the chosen bearers of future generations regardless of their ability to work. Unfortunately however, there are multiple examples of selected physical traits that are significant risk factors for disease.

One important example is a disorder seen in Rhodesian ridgeback (RR) dogs known as a dermoid sinus that has been associated with the characteristic “ridge” trait in the skin overlying the spine. In 2007, a large genetic duplication on canine chromosome 18 was identified as the underlying genetic cause of the ridge in this breed.2 Unfortunately, the same genetic duplication responsible for ridge formation has also been found to predispose RRs to formation of dermoid sinuses.1,2

Dermoid sinuses are tubular to round shaped cavitations in the skin often filled with hair and keratin that are present at birth. It ...