Author archives: Rob Westra

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Early Onset Risk Modifier

Pembroke Welsh Corgi  Early Onset Risk Modifier

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a chronic, progressive neurologic condition that typically develops in the latter third of a dog’s life. DM starts in the central portion of the spinal cord then gradually progresses to involve all spinal cord segments. 1 Although DM is unique to the dog, it is a natural-occurring model of human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.3,4 In dogs, the common form of DM results from a DNA change (mutation) in the SOD1 gene. This is a recessive condition, meaning that dogs with two copies of the mutation are at risk for developing DM. For most affected dogs this condition develops late in life, however a change in the DNA at a different gene than the SOD1 gene has been identified in some dogs that modifies the risk for DM in the Pembroke Welsh corgi. In dogs that have two copies of the at-risk DM mutation and have one or two copies of a mutation found in the SP110 gene, will reduce the age of onset for DM.   

Typical DM presents with dysfunctional and abnormal movements of the pelvic limbs around 8 years of age or later. Dogs may ...

Tissue Management Prior to Genetic Testing

Tissue Management Prior to Genetic Testing

Nothing brightens the schedule like seeing an 11:20am slot given to Mrs. Doe who is bringing in a three-day old litter for assessment, tails and dewclaws.  The whole clinic reminds you all morning that puppies are coming in.  Then the magic hour arrives and in comes Mrs. Doe with a laundry basket covered in a towel that is making a surprising level of grunts and squeals.  Wow! Thirteen little fuzzballs in varied states of activity from litter-surfing to dreamless slumber that makes you a little jealous.  You go through the exam; each one is fully formed with no gross congenital defects.  While prepping your tools for dewclaw removal and tail docking, Mrs. Doe asks that you save the remnants so she can have the litter tested with Paw Print Genetics for known disease-causing mutations in this breed.  Hmmm, what does this entail?

Typically, we recommend to clients who choose to submit cheek swabs to wait until they begin weening the pups off mom. This allows them to separate the puppies from their mother to reduce possible contamination by the mother’s milk that may remain in the puppies’ mouths.  Given that testing takes ...

Does Your Dog Suffer from Noise Anxiety?

Does Your Dog Suffer from Noise Anxiety?

Summertime is usually a very positive time for our pets.  The weather is pleasant, walks are more frequent, and general outside playtime is more regular.  Unfortunately, this is also the time of thunderstorms and increase fireworks use, especially around July 4th.  The loud noises associated with these events can cause fear and anxiety in some pets.  A new behavioral study out of the University of Helsinki suggests that sensitivity to noise, especially fireworks, is the most common form of anxiety in pet dogs.  In this study, 72.5% of all dogs showed some type of anxiety, whereas, 32% displayed a form of noise sensitivity1.

People who own pets with noise sensitivity usually recognize the classic display of anxiety behaviors such as trembling, panting, drooling, pacing, vocalizing, hiding, and trying to escape.  Often, dogs are confused about the source of the noise and therefore try to escape to the outside, or just the opposite, scratch at the door to come inside.  Because some rooms are better at dampening sound, these dogs may run to the basement or hide under or behind furniture. There are some displays of anxiety that owners may not pick ...