Archives for September 2014

Why do genetic testing in your dog?

Why do genetic testing in your dog?

Bringing a new puppy into the family is a financial and emotional investment.  Once the kids fall in love with that new puppy, there is no turning back, no matter what might happen.  Whether you are a professional dog breeder or simply a careful buyer, genetic testing can help you understand the potential genetic threats to your dog’s health. It will also inform you of potential inherited diseases that may get passed on if you decide to breed. By testing both the dam and sire, this information will help you select the proper mate to produce the healthiest puppies thereby increasing the value of your breeding program.  If both the dam and sire are clear, all of the puppies will be clear by parentage. Thus, those that are diligent about testing will save money over time. However, every time a new dog is brought into a breeding program, that dog should be screened for all known disease mutations to make sure you are not introducing new mutations into your lines.

Paw Print Genetics was founded by geneticists and veterinarians committed to quality genetic testing and outstanding customer service. Paw Print Genetics offers the largest selection of tests ...

Degenerative Myelopathy: Should you be concerned for your breed?

Degenerative Myelopathy: Should you be concerned for your breed?

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) can be a devastating disease. Some breeds with this disease will lose the ability to walk in their later years – certainly after the age most dogs are bred. The mutation has been found in more than 120 breeds (1), which indicates that the original mutation might have occurred hundreds or thousands of years before many of the modern dog breeds emerged.

However, the frequency of the mutation varies between breeds and certainly the risk of developing the clinical disease seems quite distinct and breed-specific. For example, the frequency of carriers and homozygous mutation (affected) dogs in the Kerry blue terrier is about 52%(1), while carriers and affected dogs make up 91% of Pembroke Welsh corgis in Japan(2). Although wire fox terriers have a similar combined carrier and at-risk frequency of 90%, none have ever developed the clinical signs of DM(3).

In a 2001 study by Moore et al., German shepherd dogs had nearly twice the risk for death associated with spinal cord diseases, compared with Belgian shepherd dogs among military dogs(4).  Although we don’t know for sure if the spinal cord disease was DM, certainly DM is one of the more common causes of this ...

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

It’s easy to see why the beagle has been ranked near the top of AKC registered dog breeds since their acceptance in to the AKC registry in 1885.  Their amiable personality, fantastic sense of smell, and natural talent as a hunter and guard dog have kept them popular with American dog lovers for the past 130 years. Unfortunately, like most popular, purebred dog breeds, particular inherited diseases can make life tough for some beagle blood lines. Luckily, the genetic cause of some of the beagle’s known inherited diseases have been discovered. Thus, allowing laboratories such as Paw Print Genetics to develop genetic tests that allow for the elimination of these disorders through informed selective breeding. The following genetic tests are available at Paw Print Genetics:

Musladin-Lueke Syndrome

One of the largest inherited disease concerns for beagle breeders is a disease known as Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS). MLS is listed on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) as a required test for the beagle and is typically identified in affected puppies by 2 to 3 weeks of age. MLS is a connective tissue disease that causes stiff, contracted joints, and inelastic skin giving affected dogs a characteristic tip-toe walk described as ...

Inherited Diseases of the Border Collie

Inherited Diseases of the Border Collie

If you are a dog owner that values intelligence and obedience above all else when choosing a dog, it’s likely you are familiar with the border collie. This hardworking canine breed who received its name from its likely place of origin along the border of England and Scotland, has historically been bred for working ability above all and is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent breeds in the world. Though generally considered a relatively healthy breed, like other purebred dog breeds, the border collie is known to inherit several genetic diseases; some of which are known to be caused by specific genetic mutations. Discovery of the specific mutations responsible for genetic diseases allow laboratories like Paw Print Genetics to develop tests to identify dogs that carry the mutation. This information allows breeders to selectively breed these carrier dogs to dogs that are clear of the mutation in order to avoid producing puppies with these diseases. Three specific inherited diseases are listed on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) website as optional recommended tests for the border collie. Testing for these diseases is available from Paw Print Genetics:

Collie Eye Anomaly

One of the biggest inherited disease concerns for ...

The USBCHA Sheep Dog Finals

The USBCHA Sheep Dog Finals

The United States Border Collie Handler’s Association (USBCHA) holds an annual event to find the best of the best herding dogs. The USBCHA is the sanctioning body for sheep and cattledog trials throughout the United States and Canada. Founded in 1979, the USBCHA has grown into an organization of more than 800 members. Members who qualify at sanctioned open trials during the year are eligible to compete in the USBCHA National Sheep and Cattle Dog Finals to determine the champion open dog and handler for that year. The first Sheep Dog Finals were held in 1979 with the first National Cattledog Finals held in 2001.  This year, the finals will be held at the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, Co September 8-14, 2014. The 460 acre ranch is at an altitude of 7000 feet and offers stunning views of Mount Sopris and the Elk Mountain Range in Western Colorado.

Paw Print Genetics will be on-hand to answer questions about genetic screening for Border Collies and other herding dogs.  Paw Print Genetics and the USBCHA have partnered to help educate its members about inherited diseases and to provide discounts to the USBCHA members.  Working dogs are an investment and ...

Knowledge is Power in Dog Breeding

Knowledge is Power in Dog Breeding

I was recently contacted by a friend who is looking to buy a new puppy and wanted to make sure that the parents had been tested, and if not, that the prospective puppy had been tested for all of the disease that are found in that breed.  When she asked the breeder if testing had been done, the answer was “no”. When she asked if she could have a sample sent to Paw Print Genetics prior to buying the puppy, the breeder promptly returned her deposit and said that the puppy was no longer available. Feeling devastated, my friend knew that she was asking the right questions. After all, she is looking for a new family member!

Was the breeder hiding something or just simply afraid of what she might find if she were to do genetic testing?  We won’t know the answer, but I think a lot of what keeps some breeders from testing is fear of the unknown.  What if they find something in their lines?  Will they be stuck with dogs that they can’t sell?  Will others think that they have “bad” dogs?  Actually, doing genetic testing will increase the breeder’s ...

Germline and Somatic Genetic Mutations in Dogs

Germline and Somatic Genetic Mutations in Dogs

My last blog discussed the complexity of inherited cancer predisposition syndromes.  A concept was introduced about the types of genetic mutations that can predispose a dog (or human) for cancer.  Some genetic mutations are passed through the blood line, while other genetic mutations are NOT passed on to the next generation.  Today, I would like to address this idea in greater detail.  These genetic mutations are called germline and somatic

Germline mutations are passed through the generations.  These are the mutations that show different modes of inheritance: dominant, recessive, X-linked, and mitochondrial.  Germline mutations are present in the sex cells (sperm and/or egg) and can affect multiple pups in a litter.  These are the mutations Paw Print Genetics offers testing for, which may impact breeding practices.  Breeders equipped with this information have the power to reduce, and maybe even eliminate, these mutations from breeding lines.  

Somatic mutations are genetic changes in the cells of the individual.  These mutations are usually not present at birth and can occur in any cell or organ over time.  These are usually due to environmental influences, although the exact triggers are often ...