Archives for March 2015

Cystinuria and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration in the Labrador Retriever

Cystinuria and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration in the Labrador Retriever

In this fourth and final blog in a series about preventable inherited diseases in the Labrador retriever (see previous blogs here; part one, part two, and part three), we will examine a potentially life-threating urinary disease and a cause of blindness in dozens of dog breeds including the Labrador.


Urinary tract obstruction is one of the most urgent and potentially life-threatening conditions in dogs. One common cause of urinary obstructions in dogs is the presence of bladder stones which leave the bladder during urination and become lodged in the urethra. The inability to urinate results in a toxic buildup of certain electrolytes and waste products in the body including potassium, which tends to be the most concerning in regards to health effects. Excess potassium in the body prevents the heart from beating normally, ultimately resulting in death due to cardiac arrest. Though it is not the only cause of bladder stones in Labradors, a genetic mutation in the SLC3A1 gene is reported to cause an early-onset disease known as cystinuria, which can result in bladder stone formation.

While normal kidneys reabsorb a variety of nutrients and electrolytes from the urine, dogs affected with cystinuria lack the ability to produce ...

Exercise-Induced Collapse and Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis in the Labrador Retriever

Exercise-Induced Collapse and Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis in the Labrador Retriever

In this third part of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases in the Labrador retriever (See previous blogs here; part one and part two) we will be examining a relatively common neuromuscular condition known as exercise-induced collapse and a skin disorder unique to the Labrador known as hereditary nasal parakeratosis.

Exercise-Induced Collapse

There aren’t many inherited diseases more concerning to Labrador lovers than exercise-induced collapse (EIC). This potentially fatal condition caused by a mutation in the DNM1 gene results in an inability to produce adequate amounts of a protein called dynamin 1, which plays an important role in nerve signal transmission in the body. As its name suggests, dogs affected with EIC typically present during periods of intense exercise, often before 2 years of age. During an episode of collapse, affected dogs will commonly develop an awkward, wobbly gait that progresses to severe weakness, dragging of the hind limbs, and collapse lasting for 5 to 10 minutes. Though unable to rise, dogs experiencing an episode of collapse are usually mentally alert and pain-free. Most dogs completely recover within 30 minutes and appear normal between episodes. Most concerning however, is that in some cases affected dogs can progress ...

Skeletal Dysplasia 2 and Retinal Dysplasia/Oculoskeletal Dysplasia 1 in the Labrador retriever

Skeletal Dysplasia 2 and Retinal Dysplasia/Oculoskeletal Dysplasia 1 in the Labrador retriever

In this second part of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases of the Labrador retriever (see part one here) we will be examining two diseases known to cause dwarfism in the breed.

Skeletal Dysplasia 2

Skeletal dysplasia 2 (SD2) is an inherited disease of collagen resulting in disproportionate dwarfism in the Labrador. Disproportionate dwarfism is marked by abnormal size discrepancies between the limb length of affected individuals and the size of their torso. In the case of SD2, the limbs of affected dogs tend to be shorter than normal despite an average sized torso. International breed standards of the Labrador list shoulder heights of 56-57 cm in males and 54-56 cm in females. In the publication describing the COL11A2 gene mutation associated with SD2, the authors found that most of the affected males had shoulder heights of less than 55 cm and most affected females showed heights of less than 50 cm. However, there is some overlap of shoulder heights between those of normal dogs from blood lines of smaller size and affected dogs from larger sized blood lines. Though the front limbs tend to be more severely affected (and sometimes slightly bowed) with SD2, the long ...

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics partners with a number of different organizations. In many cases, the organization comes to us wanting help in providing members with educational materials on genetics to promote genetic testing among their members. In other cases, we see a need in an organization for better education and we want better visibility to their membership.  In either case, our partnerships are limited to providing genetics education when desired, discounts to members to promote testing, and supporting their events with raffle items or prizes, such as gift certificates for free testing. 

You may have noticed that some of the organizations and clubs that we have partnered with may be considered nonconforming in the sense that some are not AKC recognized, nor are they well known.  Some individuals have recently questioned our integrity or intentions with these groups.  In partnering, our only agenda is to promote healthy dogs and genetics education.  We do not have any other agenda.  Paw Print Genetics will accept samples from all dogs, regardless of breed, color, conformity to published standards, registered, rescued or adopted.  We do not discriminate when it comes to promoting genetic testing and healthy dogs.  ...

Degenerative Myelopathy and Centronuclear Myopathy in the Labrador Retriever

Degenerative Myelopathy and Centronuclear Myopathy in the Labrador Retriever

It’s not hard to love a Labrador retriever. Their outgoing, family friendly personality, great rapport with children, receptiveness to training, and their ability to hunt both waterfowl and upland game have made them a highly desirable and well-loved breed. This popularity is reflected by their place at the top of the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics for the past 24 consecutive years.

When adopting or purchasing a new canine family member or hunting companion, we would all like to know that our enormous investments in love, time, and money will see a sizable return. For a family dog, we’d like to know that they will be healthy and live as long as possible. For a hunting or working dog, in addition to a long life, we’d also like to know they will be able to have a long, healthy career performing the specific task for which we’ve prepared them. Though we could never eliminate or predict all disease risks for our dogs, genetic testing technologies have made elimination and prediction of some inherited diseases easier than ever before.

This blog is the first of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases of America’s favorite dog, the Labrador retriever. What ...

Dog Breeds of Irish Origin: Part 2 – Terrier Breeds

Dog Breeds of Irish Origin: Part 2 – Terrier Breeds

In the spirit of the impending annual homage to one of the most widely recognized patron saints of Ireland, St. Patrick, we are taking a look at the wonderful dog breeds of Irish origin and some of the inherited diseases that are reported to affect them. In part one, we discussed dogs developed in Ireland that fall outside the terrier group such as the Irish wolfhound and the Irish setter. In this second blog of the two blog series, we will discuss four terrier breeds gifted from the Emerald Isle to the rest of the world for dog lovers to enjoy!

Kerry Blue Terrier

Like many terrier breeds, the origins of the Irish-bred Kerry blue terrier are closely linked to their abilities in controlling a variety of vermin nuisances. Though not a particularly popular breed in the US (most recently ranked 128th based upon their AKC registration statistics), the Kerry blue is easily recognizable by their characteristic progressive gray (“blue”) wavy to curly coat. Born black, this attractive breed slowly develops their characteristic gray/blue color over their first 2 years of life in a process referred to by breeders as “clearing”. Though variability exists in regards to the ...

Dog Breeds of Irish Origin: Part 1 - Non-terrier Breeds

Dog Breeds of Irish Origin: Part 1 - Non-terrier Breeds

It’s the time of year to break out your green attire, shine up your Claddagh ring, and water your shamrocks because St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! In the spirit of this traditional Irish holiday, it is also time to take a look at some of the dog breeds that the people of Ireland have so graciously developed for the rest of the world’s dog lovers to appreciate. In addition, we will also take a look at some of the inherited diseases reported to affect these breeds and the genetic tests available through Paw Print Genetics. Through the implementation of genetic testing and selective breeding, these diseases can be completely eliminated from any dog breeding program.

Irish Wolfhound

One breed with its roots firmly planted in Irish soil is the Irish wolfhound. One of the most ancient and arguably the most visually striking dog breed of Irish origin, the Irish wolfhound, was originally developed as a fierce hunting companion, military dog, and guard dog. However, the temperament of the modern wolfhound bares little resemblance to ancient descriptions of the ferocious canines known for their selfless bravery in battle. Now much more known for their quiet, confident, and introverted demeanor, there ...