Category archives: Trixie's Paw Prints

Road Trips for #K9health

Road Trips for #K9health

Meeting our customers face to face and personally answering their questions is a high priority for Paw Print Genetics. In the last month, several members from our team have hit the road to attend dog shows. We had the pleasure to meet hundreds of dogs and their owners to talk about the value of inherited disease testing when breeding and buying a puppy.

In late September, Casey, our DVM and Assistant Medical Director and I travelled to Salem, Oregon for The Poodle Club of America’s Regional Specialty. We met poodles of all sizes and colors from all over the region. The poodle owners spent hours grooming and attending to their canines, but when they had a moment they stopped by our booth to talk about their concerns regarding genetic diseases.  Our Poodle Panel  includes six inherited diseases found in the breed. After discussing health concerns with these owners, most indicated that they always test for PRA-PRCD and neonatal encephalopathy. Many people were unaware that several breeds, including poodles, are possible carriers for degenerative myelopathy, a devastating disease with onset later in life.

Before returning to Spokane, we had one more show to attend in Kennewick, Washington for the 80 ...

Have You Connected With Us On Facebook?

Have You Connected With Us On Facebook?

Social media has been a very successful avenue for Paw Print Genetics to reach our customers. We have connected with fans all over the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and even Australia! Dog lovers all over the world understand the importance of optimal canine genetic health and are choosing Paw Print Genetics for their testing needs.

One of the most valuable reasons to connect with us via Facebook is for our special discounts and promotions. Each month has a theme for our Breed of the Week posts which discuss the breeds history, health, temperament, and includes a special discount on testing. We also post any show discounts or current promotions for you to use at checkout. Our Facebook fans and newsletter recipients are the first to know when new disease tests are released. 

On our website we have a wide selection of blogs and our Facebook fans are the first to read them.  Several authors write informative articles that explain genetic diseases, canine safety tips, breed of the week profiles, and developments within our lab and in the canine health world.

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and others who share the same passion ...

Inborn Errors of Metabolism: The Invisible Genetic Diseases of Dogs?

Inborn Errors of Metabolism: The Invisible Genetic Diseases of Dogs?

Inborn Errors of Metabolism are a large group of inherited diseases that occur in both humans and dogs.  These disorders are well defined in humans but far less understood and recognized in dogs.  Individually, each of the inborn error of metabolism disorders is rare, but collectively they are an important and relatively common category of diseases in both man and dogs.  In dogs these disorders are rarely considered by veterinarians as the possible cause to be studied when their patient is ill and failing.  We recently told you the story of Rigel, a blue Afghan hound puppy who ultimately succumbed to one of the many known inborn error of metabolism disorders, mucopolysaccharidosis type 1.  We also discussed that if it were not for one astute veterinarian (out of many veterinarians who evaluated Rigel and his similarly affected sister, Trudy) their condition would have gone undiagnosed and this previously unrecognized genetic disorder would have continued to go unidentified in this breed. 

Cases like Rigel and Trudy’s raise an important question; how often are similarly "invisible" biochemical disorders occurring in dogs and going unrecognized and undiagnosed? Human and canine genetic research discoveries have illustrated repeatedly that ...

Which Breeds are Affected by Degenerative Myelopathy?

Which Breeds are Affected by Degenerative Myelopathy?

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) can be a devastating disease. Some breeds with this disease will lose the ability to walk in their later years – certainly after the age most dogs are bred. The mutation has been found in more than 70 breeds, which indicates that the original mutation might have occurred hundreds or thousands of years before many of the modern dog breeds emerged.

However, the frequency of the mutation varies between breeds and certainly the risk of developing the clinical disease seems quite distinct and breed-specific. For example, the frequency of carriers and homozygous mutation (affected) dogs in the Kerry blue terrier is about 52%(1), while carriers and affected dogs make up 91% of Pembroke Welsh corgis in Japan (2). Although wire fox terriers have a similar combined carrier and at-risk frequency of 90%, none have ever developed the clinical signs of DM (3).

In a 2001 study by Moore et al., German shepherd dogs had nearly twice the risk for death associated with spinal cord diseases, compared with Belgian shepherd dogs among military dogs (4). Although we don’t know for sure if the spinal cord disease was DM, certainly DM is one of the more common causes of this type of disorder ...

Canine Genetic Counseling

Canine Genetic Counseling

A fascinating and enlightening weekend was enjoyed by those attending the AKC-CHF Parent Club health conference in St. Louis, MO August 9-11.  Thank you to the AKC-CHF and sponsor Nestle Purina for hosting such a fun, educational, informative and classy event!  I was able to attend many presentations on new gene discoveries and gene testing/diagnostics available and coming for our dogs. In addition, I learned about new treatments and therapies including stem cell therapy for injuries, certainly not my area of expertise but absolutely fascinating and exciting for the future of dogs and man!

Something I noticed from many attendees with regard to new genetic testing were many questions and a seeming frustration and/or concern about what to do with this new information - namely what does a dog "with the gene" mean for the breeding of that dog?  One thing that people were told was that dogs may have a dominant gene and in turn have the potential to produce affected puppies, but that they should be concerned about the "gene pool" and about removing dogs with the gene from breeding, especially if a large percentage of dogs in the breed have the gene mutation ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches New Tests

Paw Print Genetics Launches New Tests

After extensive laboratory validation, Paw Print Genetics has launched 29 new breed-specific tests, bringing the total number of tests offered to 115.  This is one of the largest menus offered by any canine genetic testing laboratory in the world.

Among the new tests are diseases that no other laboratory offers in North America are multifocal retinopathy in the American bulldog, myotonia congenita in the Australian cattle dog, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis in the Australian shepherd and dachshund, hemophilia B in the beagle, copper storage disease in the Bedlington terrier, complement 3 (C3) deficiency in the Brittany, ichthyosis in the golden retriever, inherited myopathy in great Dane, startle disease in Irish wolfhound, and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) in Russell terrier, just to name a few.

Search our website to find more new tests for your favorite breed or the specific diseases that most concern you.

Paw Print Genetics offers three approaches to testing depending on whether you are screening for potential carriers or testing for affected dogs: 

In the first approach, choose only those diseases that concern you; choose one or more tests.

For the second approach, choose the breed-specific panel that has been carefully selected based on the medical ...

The Tragedy of Canine Genetic Disease

The Tragedy of Canine Genetic Disease

Dedicated in loving memory of Rigel - the blue star Afghan - may his star burn brightly.

Many understand the "need for canine health testing".  People will dutifully test their dog’s hips, eyes (CERF exam), maybe elbows, thyroid, knees and the one DNA test for the BIG recessive genetic disease that has been known to exist in their breed for years.  This sequence is what they have been taught that they must do to be a responsible breeder by the forefathers in their breed clubs.  But how much do people really understand the need for genetic testing?

What about uncommon genetic disease in the breed?  Every individual carries recessive non-working or disease genes; many of which are uncommon and can run silently in the family for generations before two carriers are bred together and produce affected puppies.   It has often been touted that one reason for inbreeding is to identify and weed out recessive disorders, but how often is this actually done?  If the problem is uncommon and unknown, affected individuals, especially those that die young, can go undiagnosed, especially if each and every puppy is not extensively evaluated.   So the problem occurs unrecognized, unidentified and ...

Before You Buy Your Puppy - Educate Yourself About Your Breeder!

Before You Buy Your Puppy - Educate Yourself About Your Breeder!

As discussed in my last blog, before buying a puppy, there are many things that the careful and wise buyer wants to educate themselves about to ensure the best experience possible.  Once you have figured out which breed(s) suits/interests you and have educated yourself about the positives, negatives and potential issues, including health issues, the final step is to find possible breeders of interest and most importantly at long last - your puppy!  Many breeders are doing their due diligence to produce and raise the best puppies possible.   0thers are just giving this lip service, and with all the seemingly "right" answers to questions, it is not always easy to tell the difference.

No one can guarantee a healthy puppy.  Just like human couples that do "everything right" during the  pregnancy will say "we do not care if we have a boy or a girl, as long as the baby is healthy".  Even with the utmost of caution, things can and do go wrong.  Some have perpetuated the notion that a responsible breeder can guarantee a perfect and normal outcome in every way and that anything wrong is the breeder's fault.  Just ...

Before You Buy Your Puppy - Educate Yourself!

Before You Buy Your Puppy - Educate Yourself!

Before buying a puppy, there are many things that the careful and wise buyer wants to educate themselves about in order to have the best experience with what should be many happy years with their dog.  First questions are about yourself and what type of dog will best suit you.  Then it is important to learn about the breed, what are the positive and negative attributes, and what health and genetic issues the breed, or particular family of dogs, may be at risk for.  Finally, it is then important to find a breeder whose goals and investment coincide with yours.

The first thing to consider in purchasing a puppy is what type of dog do you want?  Or better stated, what are the qualities in a dog that will get along well with your personality and activity level.  Do you want a puppy at all?    Do you want to raise a puppy; socialize it, potty train it, teach it commands, and, in general, how to be a model canine citizen?  This involves living through the stages of puddles and landmines, puppy chewing with the potential destruction of some of your favorite items, adolescence ...

Are There Risks for Genetic Disease with Cross-breeding?

Are There Risks for Genetic Disease with Cross-breeding?

Some people will say that there is little or no risk for genetic disease in crossbreeding and no need for genetic testing by virtue of the fact that the dogs are crossbred. I use Progressive Retinal Atrophy as an example to illustrate the potential genetic consequences of such breeding, but the premise and the potential risk for disease holds true for any possible genetic condition that affects dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited progressive eye disease that affects the part of the eye called the retina.  Light striking special cells of the retina (primarily photoreceptor cells called rods and cones) leads to the creation of the picture that is seen by the brain.  The retina is often compared to the film of a camera.  PRAs can progress from vision impairment, to night blindness or to hesitancy in certain situations and lead ultimately to total blindness.  Total blindness in a PRA affected dog may not be recognized until they are taken to an unfamiliar environment while other dogs may be recognized far earlier due to dilated pupils, an attempt by the eye to let in more light, and eye shine that occurs when the retina ...