The Paw Print Genetics Blog

Fireworks and Fido: How to Make It Through the July 4th Holiday

Fireworks and Fido: How to Make It Through the July 4th Holiday

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, you need to be mindful of how your dog reacts to fireworks and take this into consideration when planning Independence Day activities.

For some dogs, fireworks are a non-issue. For others, including hunting dogs that are used to loud noises, the thunderous booms that accompany the flash and sparkle of pyrotechnics can be a tumultuous experience.

The stress experienced by dogs during fireworks often triggers the fight-or-flight response. The loud noises usually make the dog want to leave the situation – animal-control services see a 30-percent increase in lost pets during July 4-6. While you need to take the appropriate steps to keep your pet safe and secure, you have to realize that the stress also increases the chance that your normally lovable dog might bite.

To keep your dog protected, make sure you provide a safe place for it during the holiday season – their crate is an excellent spot that is very secure both physically and psychologically. Always leash your dog before going outside to reduce the chance of losing them should they bolt because fireworks. Also, try to find them as quiet of a place as possible to spend time ...

Canine neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis or Batten disease

Canine neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis or Batten disease

The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses are a group of inherited lysosomal storage disorders.  Lysosomes are structures in cells referred to as the stomach of the cell that breakdown waste products and other byproducts in the cell.  NCL affected dogs lack one of several enzymes necessary for the normal breakdown of certain types of fat or protein in the cells (called lipopigments.)  As this "debris" accumulates in neuronal cells (and to a lesser extent in other cells), the animal's mental and motor functions deteriorate.

Dogs with NCL start out as apparently normal and fully functional dogs.  Depending on which subtype of NCL they have, they will begin developing symptoms anywhere from 6 months to 4-6 years of age (for the adult onset varieties).  NCL is found in both humans and dogs as well as other species and share symptoms that include a progressive loss of mental and physical nervous system functions.    These exhibit as mental/intellectual decline and motor disturbance progressing to seizures, motor problems such as lack of muscle coordination, abnormal gait, difficulty balancing, visual disturbances progressing to blindness and behavioral changes including aggressiveness, dementia, aimless wandering behavior with episodes of confusion, depression and ...

Dog Bites Cost Homeowners $489 Million in 2012

Dog Bites Cost Homeowners $489 Million in 2012

According to a recent report, dog bites account for one-third of all monies paid out to homeowners’ insurance claims – nearly half a billion dollars in 2012. 

While the $489 million paid out for dog bites pales in comparison to the estimated $2 billion spent on canine reconstructive-knee surgery (TPLO operations), it underscores the burden of responsibility every dog owner shares.

If you think a dog won’t bite, you’re wrong. No matter how small, cute or friendly a dog appears, if has teeth, it can bite; and all dogs have approximately 42 adult teeth that evolved to slash, tear, grip and kill. Or as the U.S Post Office puts it: “There are 70 million good dogs … but any dog can bite.”

The postal service released the slogan on a poster in support of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which was May 19-25. Postal workers are the third most-bit victims, behind the elderly and toddlers.

Young children, with their jerky, unstable motions, uncanny ability to surprise and eye-level height with canines, suffer the most and worst bites. The disfigurement of a child takes only a moment, but can last a lifetime. Those lasting bites are also the ones ...

Helping Our Local K-9 Heroes

Helping Our Local K-9 Heroes

The Spokane Police Department’s K-9 Unit is highly trained to fight crime and help keep our city safe. When highly trained canines used in police work are prematurely retired due to health issues, it costs the department extra resources and manpower to get new canines up to speed. German shepherds and Belgian malinois, two of the most popular breeds used for tracking, suspect apprehension, building and vehicle searches, as well as search and rescue, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Even if the dog comes with a financial or replacement-dog guarantee, the weeks of specialized and intense training with officers represent an un-recoupable monetary loss in man-hours.

To that end, Paw Print Genetics recently collaborated with our hometown police force, the Spokane Police Department, and their K-9 Unit to genetically screen the six dogs patrolling our streets. While none of the hardworking dogs have displayed any sort of symptom related to genetic disease, the information gathered from the screening will give the department a baseline reading of each dog’s genetic health, which could be useful in future health screenings, any medical issues and treatments.

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the Spokane Police Department conducts a small breeding ...

Tornados: Helping the Animal Victims

Tornados: Helping the Animal Victims

As yet another storm front that ravaged the Midwest with severe weather and deadly tornados moves east, the cleanup and rebuilding of communities, such as the devastated Moore, Okla., takes precedence.

A television special by Blake Shelton raised $6 million for the United Way, the Red Cross has a text-based donations system set up and there are several other local and national organizations mobilizing to help victims left homeless and injured by the lethal tornados.

The outpouring of emotion extends to pets too, such as this video that went viral after a woman found her missing dog among the rubble during a live television interview.

When it comes to helping animals impacted by the tornados however, no national organization is donating financial support or other needed supplies on a grand and prioritized scale. If you want to help support the animals displaced or injured by the series of tornados that have ravaged Oklahoma, it’s always best, as well as more efficient, to give directly to local organizations. This was true after the explosion that ripped apart the small town of West, Texas, and after other natural and manmade disasters – local organizations can put donations (money or supplies) to better ...

My Dog’s Mouth Has Been Bleeding? What Could Be Wrong?

My Dog’s Mouth Has Been Bleeding?  What Could Be Wrong?

In my years as an undergraduate college student, struggling to make ends meet, I lived next door to a woman with an old, Labrador mix named Bubba.  By initial impression, he seemed to be a very normal, happy and well-socialized dog.  However, one day, during my daily greeting from Bubba, I noticed some blood around his mouth.  At the time, I was a biology major trying to wade through prerequisites for admission to veterinary school and I hadn’t yet been exposed to the world of clinical veterinary medicine.  So, when I saw the blood around Bubba’s mouth, I didn’t pay much attention.  I had seen blood in my own dog’s mouth on occasion after chewing on a toy or a bone and it never amounted to much.  So, my uninformed mind had little to worry itself about.  I later learned from Bubba’s owner that he had bled like this since he was young.  However, the owner had never taken Bubba to a veterinarian for a diagnosis and to this day I still don’t know what was wrong with him.  Though the memory of Bubba had ...

"Health Guarantees" when Buying or Selling a Puppy?

"Health Guarantees" when Buying or Selling a Puppy?

In a continuation of our discussion of puppy "health guarantees" the question is: is it feasible to expect breeders to guarantee against all congenital and genetic defects and what should breeders guarantee or promise?  It is a pervasive "wisdom" that "good" breeders will only produce healthy puppies with no genetic problems or congenital defects and a "responsible breeder" certainly would never sell a puppy with a congenital or genetic defect.  This has long been a stated or implied expectation that breeders have placed on themselves and others and a notion that has passed on as conventional wisdom regarding the purchase of a puppy.   As a result, when a problem occurs, it is to be approached with chagrin, shame or denial on the part of the breeder and blame placed on the breeder by others.  But is this expectation reasonable?    Is expecting breeders to recognize the presence of all congenital defects even feasible?

Articles like Empowering international canine inherited disorder management by BJ Wilson and CM Wade published in Mammalian Genome in Feb of 2012and the increasing volume of canine health and genetic research illustrates the reality of genetic risk inherent in dog breeding ...

"Health Guarantees" when Buying a Puppy

"Health Guarantees" when Buying a Puppy

For as long as I can remember, when someone was purchasing a purebred puppy from a pet store (as my family did when I was a kid) or from a breeder, that puppy came with a "health guarantee".  If anything was wrong with the puppy you could return that puppy for a "full refund".  For some, offering the health guarantee is a "get out of jail free card" because of the "catch".  The catch being that the person who purchased the puppy had to return the puppy/dog in order to get their money back.  Of course the vast majority of people will have fallen in love with the puppy by then and will not give them up for any amount of money.

Some people will see that a "health guarantee" is offered and say  "oh-that means this is a reputable seller/breeder".  The presence of a health guarantee certainly does not ensure that the puppy was well bred or that the breeder is ethical.  It partially depends on the "fine print" of the health guarantee.  Nevertheless--a "health guarantee" is a standard practice among dog breeding, selling and purchasing.  People purchasing a ...

What We Do Right! Not Your Ordinary Canine Genetics Lab

What We Do Right! Not Your Ordinary Canine Genetics Lab

At Paw Print Genetics, we’re seeking to raise the standard of canine genetic diagnostic and carrier screening testing from start to finish. We strive to provide the best customer service in the industry and have implemented procedures that are above and beyond those currently used in the marketplace. Here’s just a quick look at what we’re doing to help serve you and your dog better:

Postal Standards: The U.S. Postal Service has outlined how animal specimens may be shipped, and that includes cheek swab samples tested in labs all across the country. Among those requirements: triple-packaging of samples, a rigid fiberboard or equivalent container to protect the samples, the use of the international biohazard symbol on the second packaging and the words “exempt animal specimen” on the outside of the shipping package. Because these standards are necessary and exact, we provide the kits to you with each order that conforms to the USPS standards.

Reports: Our detailed reports will clearly state the results of every test you ordered and will give actionable information that you can use. These interpretations and recommendations give you the knowledge to breed your dog more conscientiously, information about any known genetic ...

Paw Print Genetics Community Events are Important

Paw Print Genetics Community Events are Important

Paw Print Genetics is committed to excellence in customer service. To that end, we are reaching out to our potential customer base by providing seminars to various breed, specialty and community clubs, becoming involved in individual breeder’s breeding programs and attending dog shows.  We attended the Rose City Classic dog show in Portland, Ore in January and talked with hundreds of attendees that were concerned about the genetic health of their dog.  The breeders and dog owners expressed the desire to do informed breeding whereby they use genetic information to avoid producing puppies with inherited disease and eventually “breed out” the genetic diseases to produce healthier lines.

We have provided seminars on genetics to several clubs in the Spokane, Wash area including the Inland Empire Collie Club, Panorama Poodle Club of Mt. Spokane, and the Inland Empire Kennel Association.  We are delighted to provide these presentations as it gives us an opportunity to interact with club members and really understand their needs and concerns regarding inherited genetic disease.

This week, we will be at the Spokane Kennel Club dog show at the Spokane County Fairgrounds, Friday-Sunday, May 24-26.  Please stop by our booth to talk about ...