Author archives: Casey Carl

Do you have a test to screen for hip dysplasia?

Do you have a test to screen for hip dysplasia?

Since I started my work with Paw Print GeneticsTM and began discussions with many in the canine community, I have been asked more about hip dysplasia (HD) than any other disease.  Perhaps it is due to the significant decrease in quality of life it can create for affected dogs or perhaps it is because historically, it has been one of the most extensively studied canine diseases.  Regardless of the reason, it is clear to me that dog owners and breeders are concerned about the disease and would love to see it eradicated.  Unfortunately, we may be years off from fully understanding all of the contributing causes and thus, preventing this often debilitating disease.

In the most basic sense, HD is simply a condition of loose hip joints, but it is the secondary consequences of these loose joints that cause the clinical condition we recognize in dogs.  In affected dogs, laxity in the hip joint leads to abnormal alignment between the head of the femur and the pelvic socket (acetabulum) that serves as the gliding surface for the head of the femur during movement.  This improper alignment leads to abnormal wear and tear of the ...

My dog appears to be going blind. Is it genetic?

My dog appears to be going blind.  Is it genetic?

Just like people, blindness or an otherwise significant reduction in vision is a relatively common occurrence in our canine friends. Whether your puppy loses his sight in bright light or your old faithful companion’s eyes are looking a little "cloudy", the profound impact it can have on the life of both pet and owner, makes preventing or treating eye disease a major concern for veterinarians.

Though there are hundreds of possible biological processes responsible for blindness, these processes can be grouped into two major categories: Non-genetic (acquired disease) and genetically inherited disease caused by mutations in a dog’s DNA (the genetic material found in all cells). Though mutations in DNA are present at birth, disease can present in a variable timeframe from puppy to older dog, depending on the specific mutation present.

Though not all eye diseases have an inflammatory component to them, some of the most commonly acquired, non-genetic eye diseases involve chronic inflammation of the eye’s internal and external structures. External chronic eye inflammation gradually damages the structure of the cornea and can eventually lead to difficulty seeing. Most of the cases involve physiological abnormalities (i.e. eyelashes rubbing on the eye) or trauma resulting ...