Archives for August 2014

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

An earlier article discussed congenital vs. adult onset conditions.  There seems to be some confusion as to the importance of the timing of disease symptoms.  I wanted to expand on the topic that we refer to as “age of onset”, or the age in which a condition starts to show symptoms.  Breeders may initially only be concerned with conditions that are congenital – present at birth.  While I agree that genetic screening for congenital disorders is important, screening for adult-onset conditions is also important, and should not be ignored.

Testing for congenital genetic conditions is probably a “no-brainer” for most breeders.  Genetic testing gives someone the knowledge to selectively breed dogs in order to reduce (or even eliminate) genetic diseases in the newborn pup.  As you may already know, breeding takes time and considerable resources.  Most breeders are also emotionally invested in the dogs they breed.  For many, it’s not just a hobby; it may be a full-time job or even a way of life.  Congenital diseases may cause a lot of discomfort to the affected pup, and can cause anxiety for everyone involved.  The cost of medical care may ...

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Since we opened Paw Print Genetics in April of 2013, we have had the opportunity to work with many breeders and other dog owners who already had previous experience with genetic testing of their dogs. Though the vast majority of these clients have praised us for our ease of ordering, unrivaled customer service, and quick test results, some clients have expressed some confusion in regards to why (or how) we use cheek swabs as our default method of DNA collection opposed to other methods that they were already familiar with.

In The Beginning

When making choices about how Paw Print Genetics would operate, we decided we wanted to eliminate as many barriers to canine inherited disease testing as possible. Not only did we want to make testing more convenient by offering as many disease tests as possible under one roof, we also wanted to make the experience of DNA collection easy and more convenient. To accomplish this, we chose to allow our clients to collect DNA in their own home or kennel with cheek swabs we provide (at no additional cost) after an order is placed. This decision eliminates the time, effort, and expense our clients had previously had to ...

Preventing Cranial Cruciate Ligament Damage

Preventing Cranial Cruciate Ligament Damage

Cranial cruciate ligaments in dogs perform the same task as the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in humans. They both act as important stabilizers inside the knee and both can be damaged during exercise. In dogs, the ligament and related damage can be more complex than in humans, resulting in varying degrees of lameness and tearing.

While at the Purina Sporting Dog Summit, Dr. James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR, discussed several topics, one of which was the importance of warming your dog up prior to exercise and competition.

“Never take a dog straight from a crate to the performance realm,” said Cook, referring equally to the conformation ring, agility course, hunt-test or field-trial line, etc. “If you’re going straight from the crate to performance, you’re an idiot.”

Now, that might sound harsh to those of us who pull our dog out of the box and get in line for competition, but the truth is: he’s right. Would an elite human athlete get out of bed and immediately strap on the skis, run a marathon or get on the court of competition without so much as stretching? Would you get off the couch and undergo physical exercise ...

Why is my dog so itchy? Part 4: Fleas and Ticks

Why is my dog so itchy? Part 4: Fleas and Ticks

Click for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this ongoing blog about itchy dogs.

In part 3 of this series of blogs about itchy dogs, we took a look at two common parasites of dogs; lice and mites. In this fourth and final part of these blogs we will discuss fleas and ticks, two other common parasites that can make our dogs’ lives miserable at times.


Though there are multiple species of fleas that can infest our dogs, the most common flea type in North America is the “cat flea”, known to scientists by the name Ctenocephalides felis. Fleas are commonly acquired by our dogs through close contact with other infested animals or from environments suitable for flea development and dormancy. Regions with higher environmental temperatures and high relative humidity allow fleas to develop more quickly and to survive for extended periods of time off of a host. Once infested, there are two important pieces of information that should be considered to eliminate fleas and prevent a reinfestation of your dog; flea control on the host and flea control in the environment.

Since female fleas must take a blood meal before they can lay eggs, controlling the fleas ...

Core Conditioning for Your Dog

Core Conditioning for Your Dog

While attending the Purina Sporting Dog Summit, several experts gave advice on ways to keep your dogs healthy and injury free. Jennell Appel, DVM, CCRT; James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR Purina’s Arleigh Reynolds, DVM, PhD, DACVN all stressed the importance of warming a dog up prior to competition/hunting/exercise and then cooling down afterwards. They also stressed cross-training conditioning – swimming, running, strength training, balance and more – with the thought that a well-rounded and conditioned dog is less likely to undergo a serious injury.

During Dr. Cook’s seminar, he mentioned core conditioning. Puppy Pilates, if you will. Like humans, a strong provides a strong foundation for the rest of the body and keeps in aligned. A few simple daily exercises with your dog can help your dog maintain flexibility and strengthen its core, which can reduce the chance of injury. These are exercises that can be done from puppyhood throughout life.

Nose to butt: With your dog sitting, use a treat to get him to twist his head towards his seated back end on each side. The dog must remain seated during this exercise. The goal is to turn the trunk of the body, stretching the ...

Six Common Training Mistakes that Hamper a Dog's Ability to Learn

Six Common Training Mistakes that Hamper a Dog's Ability to Learn

As humans, we gesture, talk, yell, squeal, use sarcasm and other means of communication to get our point across to other people. Unfortunately, we also use some of these communication vehicles when relating to and training our dogs. Which doesn’t work.

In this great article, the author points out 11 things humans do that dogs hate. Among those things: using words more than body language, hugging your dog, petting a dog’s face/head, walking up to a strange dog and looking it in the eye, lack of structure and rules, forcing a dog to interact with dogs or people they don’t like and keeping a tight leash on walks, among others.

The author does a good job of explaining how dogs perceive the world and why these things can interfere with your communication and relationship with a dog (in general, of course). To this general list of physical and psychological actions, I’d add smiling at a dog. In humans, smiling conveys happiness, but in the animal kingdom, even among many other primates, baring of teeth can be an aggressive action (used from either the dominant or submissive role).

Here are a couple of things I thought about that could also ...

Purina Sporting Dog Summit: An Experience with the Best in the Field

Purina Sporting Dog Summit: An Experience with the Best in the Field

Last week I attended the Purina Sporting Dog Summit in Gray Summit, Mo., at the Purina Event Center, which is part of the larger Purina Farms that is open to the public year-round and provides free family entertainment and education. The theme of the summit was “achieving a performance edge” and it featured some of the best trainers and handlers of high-performance sporting dogs from across the country, as well as media representatives.

Just to be in the same room with these trainers and handlers was an honor. The sheer amount of dog knowledge in that room, across all venues, was astounding. As a hunter and hunt-test fan, to meet and talk with the biggest names in the retriever and pointing-dog worlds was overwhelming – trying not to sound like a star-struck idiot was even more of a challenge. Here’s just a glimpse of the people in attendance:

Tom Dokken: Owner of Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels, the largest gun dog training kennel in the upper half of the US, and Dokken Dog Supply, Tom invented the popular Dokken Deadfowl Trainer and has been training gundogs for more than 30 years.

Danny Farmer: Elected to the Retriever Hall of Fame in ...