Author archives: Casey Carl

Preventing Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter in the Toy Fox Terrier

Preventing Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter in the Toy Fox Terrier

With a personality much bigger than their diminutive size, the toy fox terrier (TFT) is a fun and feisty breed well known for their charming and entertaining personalities. Originally created by the breeding of various toy breeds to the smooth fox terrier, like other terriers, TFTs still love the thrill of the hunt and are at their happiest giving chase to any small mammal willing to run. Though toy fox terriers have occasionally been described as headstrong and have been known to take control of a house, a well socialized and well trained toy fox terrier is a wonderful addition to many families. Still retaining tenacity from their terrier roots, their disposition is also tailored by the variety of toy breeds used to make this fine breed. Unfortunately, like other purebred dogs, the TFT has developed some inherited disease concerns along their path to the modern breed. Luckily, some of these diseases can now be prevented by performing genetic testing on dams and sires prior to breeding and by implementing selective breeding strategies based upon these results. One such genetic condition known to occur in TFTs is congenital hypothyroidism with goiter (CHG), a disease caused by a genetic mutation in ...

Preventing Inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy in the Irish Setter

Preventing Inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy in the Irish Setter

Despite its once prominent role as a talented upland gamebird hunting dog, by the mid-1900s the Irish Setter’s popularity in the field was on the decline. Despite developing significant interest and success as a show dog, the breed had nearly disappeared from the hip of gamebird hunters. Around this time, outbreedings to field champion English setters were performed in an effort to resurrect the popularity and improve the talents of the Irish setter as a hunting companion. In many locales, this field bred variety of Irish setter became known as the red setter while the Irish setter name is now most closely associated with the show variety of the breed. In the United States however, red setters still fall under the umbrella of the Irish setter name. Found in multiple colors and coat patterns in its early history, the breed’s modern solid red coat color became entrenched in the breed due to its popularity in the European show ring of the late 1800s.

Like other purebred dogs, the Irish setter has developed some inherited disease concerns along its path to its modern state. However, through the use of modern genetic testing technology and selective breeding practices, some inherited diseases can now be ...

Preventing Ectodermal Dysplasia/Skin Fragility Syndrome in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Preventing Ectodermal Dysplasia/Skin Fragility Syndrome in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Like other popular retrieving breeds such as the Labrador, golden, and flat coated retrievers, the American bred, Chesapeake Bay retriever can trace its roots back to the St. John’s water dog, a purpose bred dog originating in the Canadian providence of Newfoundland. With its wavy and slightly oily, waterproof coat, the Chessie has become a prominent fixture at the side of bird hunting enthusiasts since its development in the 19th century. Not surprising to those that have lived and worked with a great Chesapeake, the breed has increased in popularity in the US over the past several years as indicated by their jump in the AKC registration rankings from 49th in 2009 to 40th in 2014. Unfortunately, like other pure bred dogs, along its path to modern popularity the Chesapeake has developed some inherited genetic disease concerns that are known to cause medical issues for some dogs and can be a source of heartache for those that love them. One particularly severe, inherited condition unique to the Chesapeake Bay retriever, is a condition known as ectodermal dysplasia or skin fragility syndrome (ED/SFS).

What is ED/SFS?

ED/SFS is a severe, inherited disease in which affected dogs are ...

Canine Halloween Hazards

Canine Halloween Hazards

The leaves are falling and the pumpkins are reaching their proper jack ‘o lantern size. Soon children everywhere will be dining on a steady diet of Halloween candy while many of us adults relive our youth by taking full advantage of the one day every year we can pretend to be someone (or something) else. Though many dogs also enjoy all of the excitement that Halloween brings, this time of year can sometimes present additional hazards and stressors for our canine friends.

Alcohol and Party Food

Themed parties are a common source of fun around Halloween. Unfortunately for our opportunistic dogs, parties can also be a great chance for canine indulgence on potentially dangerous foods and drink. Tending to the needs of partygoers and the chaos associated with such a social gathering, often leads to greater difficulty keeping watch over the dogs of the house. In addition, it is not uncommon for party guests to innocently set down a plate of food or their glass of wine only to find out that it quickly disappeared down the gullet of a sly canine with a taste for human cuisine.

Alcoholic beverages are a particular concern for dogs at parties. Dogs under ...

Happy Responsible Dog Ownership Day

Happy Responsible Dog Ownership Day

If an intelligent, alien visitor happened to land on Earth, I can’t help but think they would be fascinated by the relationship between humans and dogs. Developed over thousands of years, our once important working relationship with dogs has given way to a deep friendship built more upon our common needs for social connection and acceptance than a hard day’s work. However, without an understanding of what it means to have a dog, one might think that humans were getting a raw deal. We spend our time and hard earned money feeding, entertaining, providing shelter and medical treatment, and otherwise spoiling our dogs with little expectation of a tangible payoff, other than love. But, as any dog owner can attest, it’s hard to put a value on the love from your favorite fur ball.

One of the most impressive examples of our culture’s commitment to our canines is the AKC’s Responsible Dog Ownership Days (RDOD). This time of year since 2003, the AKC has asked its 5000 affiliated clubs around the country to hold community events in an effort to entertain and educate the public about the best practices in responsible dog ownership. Events vary around the country, however it is ...

Canine Genetic Disease Testing Prior to Other Health Clearances- Why It Makes Sense

Canine Genetic Disease Testing Prior to Other Health Clearances- Why It Makes Sense

Once only a dream for dog lovers, technological advances in the sciences have now made testing for certain inherited diseases a mainstay of modern dog breeding. With knowledge of a specific, disease-causing genetic mutations and an understanding of how diseases are inherited, tests can be developed to identify dams and sires at risk of developing the disease or producing affected puppies. With this knowledge, informed decisions can be made in selecting mates and making choices about whether or not to breed a particular dog.

As the Associate Medical Director at Paw Print Genetics, I have heard many different strategies employed by our clients to get their dogs’ required or recommended health clearances performed prior to breeding. Some choose to break up their testing over time in order to spread out the cost and many choose one type of health clearance to be performed first with other testing to be completed upon the results of the first round of testing. Based upon the most common testing performed on pure bred dogs, breeders should consider performing their genetic disease testing first, followed by the other clearances they need to pursue before breeding.

Test at Any Age

One advantage to performing genetic health ...

Preventing Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome in the Border Collie

Preventing Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome in the Border Collie

The history of the modern border collie is generally regarded to have started with a dog named Old Hemp who was born in late 19th century England. Old Hemp was a tri-colored sheepdog with unique and extraordinary abilities in herding. According to reports, Old Hemp was a product of his owner, Adam Telfer’s attempts at developing a sheepdog with a milder temperament than other sheepdogs of the time while still maintaining a high level of ability to control livestock. Old Hemp’s success in the field was paramount in him siring over 200 puppies and thus, creating a foundation stock for the border collie we appreciate today.

Widely regarded as one of the most intelligent and obedient dog breeds in existence, the border collie has branched from its roots as a working dog as breeders began showing their dogs in the conformation ring in the last quarter of the 20th century. The movement of border collies into the show ring has remained controversial as some breed lovers are concerned that border collies bred for aesthetic purposes are at risk of losing their natural abilities as herding dogs. Due to an emphasis on breeding dogs for working ability over form ...

Friendship Day and Our Relationship with Dogs

Friendship Day and Our Relationship with Dogs

Though reliable sources for the early origins of a holiday to celebrate friendship in the US are scarce, it is probable that the first Friendship Day was proposed by the Hallmark greeting card company in the early 1900’s. Despite Hallmark’s attempt, the holiday’s luster had faded by the end of the century only to be resurrected by citizens of several Asian countries in the early 2000’s. Renewed interest in a day of friendship eventually led the UN General Assembly to proclaim July 30, 2011 the first International Day of Friendship in over 40 countries. Aside from the International Day of Friendship celebrated on July 30 annually, other countries (including the US) celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August or other dates. In 2015, Friendship Day will be celebrated by the US on August 2.

The ambitious intentions of the UN-established holiday were to promote friendship between cultures, countries, and individuals in an effort to maintain peaceful relationships on a global scale. On a less ambitious level, the holiday gives us a reason to be mindful of the great people in our life that we are privileged to call our friends. For us simple dog lovers, a day of ...

Degenerative Myelopathy- Should Yorkshire Terrier Lovers Be Concerned?

Degenerative Myelopathy- Should Yorkshire Terrier Lovers Be Concerned?

The adorable Yorkshire terrier has become an important fixture in American households since its introduction to the United States in the late 19th century. Originally bred in Scotland and going by the name “Scotch terrier”, the Yorkshire terrier was given its modern name after great improvements in the breed were made in the county of Yorkshire in northern England.

Like most dog breeds, the Yorkie has developed some inherited diseases on its path to the modern breed. The genetic mutations responsible for some better known, inherited diseases of Yorkies such as primary lens luxation (PLL) and a form of progressive retinal atrophy known as progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA-prcd) have been identified. The identification of these mutations has made it possible for Yorkie breeders to test their dams and sires prior to breeding and to use informed selective breeding practices to prevent the birth of puppies with these conditions. While most Yorkie breeders are familiar with PLL and PRA-prcd in the breed, another inherited condition known as degenerative myelopathy (DM) is less well known by Yorkie breeders. However, DM may be a concern worth investigating further in the Yorkie as the associated mutation has been identified in the breed.

What ...

Preventing Inherited Von Willebrand Disease in the Kerry Blue Terrier

Preventing Inherited Von Willebrand Disease in the Kerry Blue Terrier

The Irish-bred, Kerry blue terrier (KBT) is historically a well-rounded working dog with its roots in hunting small game and rodents. However, their intelligence and diverse abilities have also led to their success as guard dogs and as a herding breed. Like many terriers, the KBT is known for its high energy and tends to benefit greatly from daily exercise. Though early KBTs were often selected for their tenacity and aggressiveness to perform their duties as hunters and guard dogs, these attributes historically made them less suitable companions for other dogs. However, modern breeding efforts have focused on maintaining their high energy while decreasing tendencies toward aggression.

One of the most striking attributes of the KBT is their characteristic hair coat. Kerry blue terriers are born black, but develop their beautiful, soft and wavy blue/gray coat during the first two years of life in a process of color fading, commonly referred to as “clearing”. Dogs displaying black coloration on the body after 18 months of age are disqualified from the AKC show ring. However, black on the extremities (muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet) is allowed at any age.

This spirited breed, though relatively healthy, has developed some inherited disease concerns ...