Category archives: All Things Dog

Resources and information for the dog owner or breeder.

Mother's Day- Introducing A New Dam to Your Breeding Program

Mother's Day- Introducing A New Dam to Your Breeding Program

If you are anything like me, planning for Mother’s Day can be like planning for a future litter of puppies. Caught up in the whirlwind of life, work, fun, kids and family, sometimes the important planning that goes into celebrating our mom or getting our prospective canine mothers prepped for their 9-week puppy rearing adventure, slips to the bottom of the “to do” list.

Luckily, most human moms are easy to please if we simply make a small effort to show that we care. An eleventh hour bouquet of flowers or a last minute lunch date is often enough to let mom know that she really matters, despite our procrastination. Unfortunately for the canine mothers in our life, procrastination in regards to planning a new dam’s first litter, can mean the difference between a healthy group of puppies and a sickly one. In addition to setting aside the time for veterinary health clearances of the heart, eyes, hips, and elbows, genetic testing of a new potential dam (or sire, for that matter) is of utmost importance to puppy health and the reputation of your breeding program. Unfortunately, accidentally putting off genetic testing until your dam is fully ready to breed ...

My Furry Valentine- Our Unconditional Love of Dogs

My Furry Valentine- Our Unconditional Love of Dogs

Love. True Love. The ever elusive feeling that everyone understands, but no one can quite explain. The feeling that we associate with our friends, spouses, children, and family members… especially the four-legged ones. The feeling that can make us feel as high as the clouds and as low as dirt. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I contemplate the concept of unconditional love. In particular, unconditional love as it pertains to our dogs. I’m not sure what their secret is (and maybe they are conspiring together), but somehow dogs have tricked us into feeling the closest thing to unconditional love that is likely to exist.

Arguably, one of the major glues that holds love together is the feeling of trust. Like the trust that the one I love won’t vomit on my carpet or furniture on a semi-regular basis. Like the trust that my love won’t chew a hole in my socks and underwear when I leave to go to work. Like the trust that my love won’t embarrass me by relieving them self on the floor when company is over. All things that the dogs in my life have done… many times. Yet, still I love them.

Respect in the ...

The Newfoundland, the PICALM gene, and the SAS Controversy

The Newfoundland, the PICALM gene, and the SAS Controversy

Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), one of the most common inherited cardiac diseases in dogs, is a major concern for many owners of large breed dogs including the Newfoundland, golden retriever, American Staffordshire terrier and Rottweiler. SAS is caused by an abnormal ring or ridge of tissue in the left ventricle of the heart resulting in a partial obstruction of the left ventricular outflow tract; the pathway that allows blood to flow from the left ventricle, through the aortic valve and into the aorta which carries oxygenated blood to the body. In mild cases, dogs live a normal life, free of clinical signs related to the vessel narrowing. However, in moderate to severe cases of SAS, the increased strain placed upon the heart to pump blood through the partially obstructed aortic valve can result in structural changes of the heart muscle, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden death. SAS also predisposes dogs to development of potentially lethal bacterial infections of the aortic valve. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict the severity of disease in puppies by examining the hearts of affected parents. Mildly affected parents can have severely affected puppies and vice versa. On average, SAS-affected dogs only live to ...

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: An Inherited Dental Disease of the Italian Greyhound

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: An Inherited Dental Disease of the Italian Greyhound

The Italian greyhound (IG) is a wonderful breed. As a true greyhound, the IG is happiest when provided an opportunity to exercise frequently. However, in their down time IGs are just as content laying on the couch with their human family. Their sweet demeanor combined with easy grooming has made this breed desirable to many. Unfortunately however, like most pure bred dogs, the IG can develop a handful of inherited diseases that make life a challenge for the breed and those that love them.

It isn’t a secret among IG aficionados that one of the biggest health concerns for the breed is their oral health. Though the exact reason is yet to be fully understood, it is not uncommon for IGs to develop early-onset dental disease resulting in significant problems in early adulthood. Though a commitment to daily tooth brushing can help prevent many dental issues, there is also an inherited dental disease in IGs that can now be eliminated through genetic testing of dams and sires prior to breeding!

In the “Health Concerns” section of the Italian Greyhound Club of America website, there is a discussion about “a condition in IG's where the teeth are small ...

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

When we look at the vast majority of genetic tests currently available for canine inherited diseases, we find a large number of diseases that can be predictably diagnosed with our current technology. For most of the available canine genetic tests, dog breeders understand that there are three commonly used designations applied to a dog for any given inherited disease; normal, carrier or affected. By knowing the way a disease is inherited (recessive vs dominant vs X-linked) and the number of copies of a mutation present in an individual, genetic testing laboratories like Paw Print Genetics can give predictable information about these diseases because they have a clear, 100% correlation between the cause and the illness. 

Unfortunately for dog breeders, inheritance is not always as clear cut as a simple recessive or dominant pattern. In fact, the diseases with a clear-cut inheritance pattern likely only make up a small percentage of the diseases with inherited components. Some of the most frustrating diseases for dog breeders and geneticists are those which pose an increased risk by the combined effects of multiple genetic mutations and/or environmental conditions. In these multifactorial diseases, rather than a 100% correlation between a singular genetic mutation ...

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

It’s easy to see why the beagle has been ranked near the top of AKC registered dog breeds since their acceptance in to the AKC registry in 1885.  Their amiable personality, fantastic sense of smell, and natural talent as a hunter and guard dog have kept them popular with American dog lovers for the past 130 years. Unfortunately, like most popular, purebred dog breeds, particular inherited diseases can make life tough for some beagle blood lines. Luckily, the genetic cause of some of the beagle’s known inherited diseases have been discovered. Thus, allowing laboratories such as Paw Print Genetics to develop genetic tests that allow for the elimination of these disorders through informed selective breeding. The following genetic tests are available at Paw Print Genetics:

Musladin-Lueke Syndrome

One of the largest inherited disease concerns for beagle breeders is a disease known as Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS). MLS is listed on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) as a required test for the beagle and is typically identified in affected puppies by 2 to 3 weeks of age. MLS is a connective tissue disease that causes stiff, contracted joints, and inelastic skin giving affected dogs a characteristic tip-toe walk described as ...

Inherited Diseases of the Border Collie

Inherited Diseases of the Border Collie

If you are a dog owner that values intelligence and obedience above all else when choosing a dog, it’s likely you are familiar with the border collie. This hardworking canine breed who received its name from its likely place of origin along the border of England and Scotland, has historically been bred for working ability above all and is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent breeds in the world. Though generally considered a relatively healthy breed, like other purebred dog breeds, the border collie is known to inherit several genetic diseases; some of which are known to be caused by specific genetic mutations. Discovery of the specific mutations responsible for genetic diseases allow laboratories like Paw Print Genetics to develop tests to identify dogs that carry the mutation. This information allows breeders to selectively breed these carrier dogs to dogs that are clear of the mutation in order to avoid producing puppies with these diseases. Three specific inherited diseases are listed on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) website as optional recommended tests for the border collie. Testing for these diseases is available from Paw Print Genetics:

Collie Eye Anomaly

One of the biggest inherited disease concerns for ...

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Since we opened Paw Print Genetics in April of 2013, we have had the opportunity to work with many breeders and other dog owners who already had previous experience with genetic testing of their dogs. Though the vast majority of these clients have praised us for our ease of ordering, unrivaled customer service, and quick test results, some clients have expressed some confusion in regards to why (or how) we use cheek swabs as our default method of DNA collection opposed to other methods that they were already familiar with.

In The Beginning

When making choices about how Paw Print Genetics would operate, we decided we wanted to eliminate as many barriers to canine inherited disease testing as possible. Not only did we want to make testing more convenient by offering as many disease tests as possible under one roof, we also wanted to make the experience of DNA collection easy and more convenient. To accomplish this, we chose to allow our clients to collect DNA in their own home or kennel with cheek swabs we provide (at no additional cost) after an order is placed. This decision eliminates the time, effort, and expense our clients had previously had to ...

Preventing Cranial Cruciate Ligament Damage

Preventing Cranial Cruciate Ligament Damage

Cranial cruciate ligaments in dogs perform the same task as the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in humans. They both act as important stabilizers inside the knee and both can be damaged during exercise. In dogs, the ligament and related damage can be more complex than in humans, resulting in varying degrees of lameness and tearing.

While at the Purina Sporting Dog Summit, Dr. James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR, discussed several topics, one of which was the importance of warming your dog up prior to exercise and competition.

“Never take a dog straight from a crate to the performance realm,” said Cook, referring equally to the conformation ring, agility course, hunt-test or field-trial line, etc. “If you’re going straight from the crate to performance, you’re an idiot.”

Now, that might sound harsh to those of us who pull our dog out of the box and get in line for competition, but the truth is: he’s right. Would an elite human athlete get out of bed and immediately strap on the skis, run a marathon or get on the court of competition without so much as stretching? Would you get off the couch and undergo physical exercise ...

Core Conditioning for Your Dog

Core Conditioning for Your Dog

While attending the Purina Sporting Dog Summit, several experts gave advice on ways to keep your dogs healthy and injury free. Jennell Appel, DVM, CCRT; James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR Purina’s Arleigh Reynolds, DVM, PhD, DACVN all stressed the importance of warming a dog up prior to competition/hunting/exercise and then cooling down afterwards. They also stressed cross-training conditioning – swimming, running, strength training, balance and more – with the thought that a well-rounded and conditioned dog is less likely to undergo a serious injury.

During Dr. Cook’s seminar, he mentioned core conditioning. Puppy Pilates, if you will. Like humans, a strong provides a strong foundation for the rest of the body and keeps in aligned. A few simple daily exercises with your dog can help your dog maintain flexibility and strengthen its core, which can reduce the chance of injury. These are exercises that can be done from puppyhood throughout life.

Nose to butt: With your dog sitting, use a treat to get him to twist his head towards his seated back end on each side. The dog must remain seated during this exercise. The goal is to turn the trunk of the body, stretching the ...