Category archives: Trixie's Paw Prints

How does that work?

How does that work?

Another non-intuitive but common behavior of genes is that one gene can have different but apparently unrelated effects. This is somewhat the opposite of different genes having the same effect (discussed in my previous blog). Making it even more confusing, the same condition could have both at work!

One gene may create a specific appearance but can also cause issues that would not necessarily appear to be related. In scientific terms the word pleiotropy is used to refer to the phenomenon "when one allele or pair of alleles has different effects - particularly when these effects appear unrelated."

Many examples of this phenomenon exist in the dog world. With on-going research, more will no-doubt be identified.

The gene causing Merle color pattern increases the chance for deafness and eye defects. Certain "white" dogs also have increased risk of deafness related to being white. In other breeds, very white appearing dogs (due to other genes) and dogs with albinism have no associated risk for hearing loss. In the case of the Merle and "white piebald" associations the effect begins on cells derived from the neural crest affecting both pigment, auditory and potentially other neural-derived cells, but not all Merles, double merles and ...

So what is it? Dominant, Recessive, not genetic at all?

So what is it?  Dominant, Recessive, not genetic at all?

One of the key issues that people often have in grappling with genetics disease is the fact that genes and disorders that are supposedly genetic don't always make sense (or at least not the sense that people expect them to make.) What they see occur does not pass their intuition or logic of what they think they should see if the condition is really "genetic."

A problem will be identified that has never occurred before and people will say in all honesty---"that has never happened in my line" and yet they are told it is "genetic." This happens in human families as well. A genetic condition is diagnosed in a child and the first thing that both grandmothers say is "that did not come from our side of the family!" In some cases they may be wrong and in others they may be right. Different genes follow different "rules."

Recessive disorders in fact come from both families and are due simply to the fact that both the sire and dam happened to carry the same detrimental recessive gene. These can be passed on for many generations unrecognized and only revealed when two carriers happen to mate AND both ...

Does your Dachshund sleep too much?

Does your Dachshund sleep too much?

Maybe your Doxie has Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an inherited condition known to affect Dachshunds. Narcolepsy is a disorder that affects a dog’s ability to stay awake for an extended period of time. Dogs with the inherited form of narcolepsy typically show signs of the disorder between one to six months of age. Affected dogs will fall asleep faster than normal dogs and appear sleepy more frequently. Episodes of narcolepsy tend to occur with positive stimulation like play or food. The affected dog may appear to collapse to the ground with a sudden loss of muscle tone but does not typically lose awareness. Symptoms do not progress over time and do not have other associated health problems.
Genetic testing of the HCRTR2 gene in Dachshunds will reliably determine whether a dog is affected with narcolepsy. Because narcolepsy is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, the breeding of two carrier dogs has a 25% risk of producing affected pups. Testing is available from Paw Print Genetics to determine the genetic status of your Dachshund. It is recommended that carriers with this mutation are not bred to avoid affected pups.

Why do we do this?

Why do we do this?

Why? For the love of dogs. There is nothing more heartbreaking than when a dog that is loved and has been invested in dies. This is heart breaking when that dog has lived a long full life beyond the expectancy for his size and breed and when that dog has fulfilled many hopes and dreams planned for them. It is far more devastating when that loss is premature due to genetic disease. It is devastating when a much anticipated and planned for litter results in a puppy or puppies that die at a day or weeks old. It is worse still when serious problems occur at a year or two years of age, when that puppy is already a part of their owners' life, plans or family. Whether a beloved companion, part of the family, a beautiful show prospect full of potential, a working dog where hours upon hours have been spent in developing their inborn skills to serve an important purpose, or a performance dog trained to (or not quite to) perfection (as the case may be for many of us) it is tragic when this time, energy, love, hope, money, potential is dashed due to premature death or ...

Does your Brittany have recurring infections?

Does your Brittany have recurring infections?

Complement is a type of protein that plays an important role in the body’s immune system by attacking invading organisms such as bacteria. Complement 3 (C3) deficiency is a disorder of the immune system that affects the Brittany hunting dog. In this disorder, the complement protein is absent. Dogs with C3 deficiency may present with pneumonia and other reoccurring infections, excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, loss of appetite, mouth ulcers and depression. C3 deficient dogs may also develop kidney disease which can lead to kidney failure and death. Genetic testing of the C3 gene PRIOR to breeding in Brittany dogs will reliably determine whether a dog is a carrier of C3 deficiency. Carriers do not have any features of the disease but when bred with another dog that also is a carrier, there is a 25% risk to have affected pups. If the breeding pair has not been screened, prospective buyers should have the puppy screened PRIOR to purchasing to avoid this devastating disease. Paw Print Genetics can help you avoid this disease in your puppies and eliminate this gene from your breeding program.

Genetic mutation may make your Old English Sheepdog sterile

Genetic mutation may make your Old English Sheepdog sterile

Cilia are found on the surface of a large number of cells and beat together in waves to move objects, such as to remove particles and mucus from the windpipe and lungs. In this manner, cilia protect the respiratory system from pathogens that can lead to infection. The structures that make-up the cilia are also found in the flagellum or tails of sperm. Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an inherited disorder of the cilia that can be found in the Old English Sheepdog. In PCD, affected dogs have cilia that do not function properly. Fluids cannot be moved in the respiratory tract and can lead to infection. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and frequent respiratory infections. Affected dogs may be sterile due to the inability of the sperm to swim properly. Genetic testing of the CCDC39 gene can reliably determine whether a dog is a genetic carrier of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). Carrier dogs do not have features of the disease but when bred with another dog that also is a carrier, there is a 25% risk of having affected pups. Testing should be done PRIOR to breeding so that carriers of this disease are not bred together. Screening ...

Genetic screening in Labradors: Pyruvate Kinase deficiency

Genetic screening in Labradors: Pyruvate Kinase deficiency

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed in the U.S. and in addition to making great pets, are commonly used as working dogs for hunting, seeing-eye dogs, and therapy dogs. Labradors carry a particularly large burden of genetic diseases, including diseases that can affect young pups. One such disease is Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency of the red blood cells (PKD). Symptoms may present as early as 2 to 3 months of age, presenting after the puppy has been purchased and delivered to their new owners.

Affected dogs have a hemolytic anemic that results in fewer red blood cells. The affected dogs tend to be smaller and weaker than their littermates. Other symptoms include exercise intolerance, pale mucous membranes, fast heart rate and heart murmurs. Enlargement of the spleen and liver is usually present by a year of age, and bone marrow and liver failure may occur by 5 years of age. Bone marrow transplant has been successful in treating the symptoms in affected dogs, although the cost prohibits this treatment in most affected dogs.

Genetic testing of the PKLR gene in Labrador Retrievers is available. Because this disease is inherited in a recessive manner, the mating pair may be carriers ...

Genetic screening in Beagles helps to select dogs for training

Genetic screening in Beagles helps to select dogs for training

All dogs are special, but Beagles play an important role as working dogs, especially in the areas of airport security and customs/immigration. In these roles, Beagles are trained to use their keen noses to identify agricultural items and substances, such as drugs, that are forbidden to be brought into the U.S. Estimates are difficult to come by, but there may be as many as 1,250 dogs being used for customs and border patrol at U.S. airports and borders. More difficult to obtain are the estimates for the costs associated with training a Beagle for these important functions. Some estimate the costs to be $16,000 to $20,000 per dog. Therefore, it is imperative that these dogs are physically fit to perform their duties once trained. In the breeding of Beagles, their top-notch sniffing abilities, desire to learn, and loyalty to humans were desired traits that were retained during their evolution. However, along with these desired traits, Beagles have a particularly high burden of genetic diseases. Many of these diseases to not manifest until the dog is mature and will impair the animal and prevent it from performing its work. Diseases such as degenerative myelopathy, Musladin-Lueke ...

Inherited disease in Poodles may cause neurological problems

Inherited disease in Poodles may cause neurological problems

Neonatal encephalopathy with seizures (NEWS) is an inherited neurologic condition known to affect all types of Poodles. Affected dogs appear small at birth and begin to develop abnormal neurologic symptoms around 3 weeks of life. Symptoms include muscle weakness, tremors, and abnormal body movement and affected dogs tend not to interact with their littermates. The disease quickly progresses with the onset of seizures and affected dogs typically die or are euthanized by 7 or 8 weeks of age. Genetic testing of the ATF2 gene that causes NEWS is available. Possible testing outcomes of this recessive disease include normal (clear), carrier and affected. Carrier dogs have one copy of the gene and although they do not have any features of the disease, when bred with another dog that also is a carrier of the same condition, there is 25% risk of having affected puppies that have two copies of the mutated gene. Genetic testing should be implemented PRIOR to breeding. Paw Print Genetics can provide you with Genetic Counseling to help eliminate this disease from your breeding lines. If testing has not been performed, genetic testing should be used PRIOR to buying that new puppy to avoid this devastating disease.