Tag archives: canine genetic disease testing

Preventing Inherited Ataxias and Primary Lens Luxation in the Parson Russell Terrier and Related Breeds

Preventing Inherited Ataxias and Primary Lens Luxation in the Parson Russell Terrier and Related Breeds

Previously known as the Jack Russell terrier, the Parson Russell terrier’s nearly 200 year long history began in the 1800’s when Parson John Russell of England obtained a terrier named Scout with the purpose of training him for European red fox hunting. Russell eventually developed a particularly adept line of terriers meant to run alongside hunters on horseback and dispatch foxes.

The name, Jack Russell Terrier was previously used to encompass dogs which are now recognized as three separate breeds in the U.S, the Jack Russell terrier, the Parson Russell terrier, and the Russell terrier. Despite their close genetic relationship and very similar appearance, leg length and body shape can be used to help differentiate the three breeds. Parson Russell terriers possess the longest legs and a square-shaped body while the other two breeds display shorter legs and a rectangular body shape. The Russell terrier is the shortest of the three varieties. Parson Russell terriers and Russell terriers are both recognized by the AKC, however the Jack Russell Terrier remains unrecognized by the organization and is bred primarily for its ability to hunt rather than for its conformational merits. Despite these physical differences, the three breeds share many genetic similarities ...

Preventing Hereditary Cataracts in the French Bulldog

Preventing Hereditary Cataracts in the French Bulldog

Though there are mysteries in regards to the early origins of the French bulldog, it is probable that this spunky breed is a 19th century product of breeding early English bulldogs and miniature bulldogs with other small breeds. As these smaller, English bred bulldogs became popular, many were either exported to France from England or accompanied their English owners to France in search of employment. At some point in the mid to late 1800’s, the small bulldogs were given the name “Bouledogue Français” and were recognized as their own unique breed. Early French bulldogs with either “rose ears” (ears folded at the tip) or pricked “bat ears” were common. However, with the spread of the breed to the United States, American dog fanciers created the first French bulldog breed standard describing the “bat ear” trait seen in modern Frenchies as the “correct” ear type.  In the process of establishing their modern appearance and perfecting the breed, like other purebred dogs, French bulldogs have developed some inherited diseases that concern Frenchie aficionados today. One such disease is a disorder known as hereditary cataracts (HC).

A cataract, in general, is the clouding of the lens of the eye. This cloudiness interferes ...

Preventable Inherited Eye Diseases of the Chinese Crested

Preventable Inherited Eye Diseases of the Chinese Crested

Despite being one of the most recognizable dog breeds in existence due to their unique physical attributes, the early history of the Chinese crested is a bit mysterious due to a lack of adequate written records. Though early hairless dogs have been documented in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia, the relationship between these dogs is not well understood. Evidence to suggest that they may be related is found in the fact that at least 3 hairless breeds originating from different continents (Mexican hairless, Peruvian hairless, and Chinese crested) are all known to inherit the same FOXI3 gene mutation responsible for their hairlessness. It is most likely that a common ancestor to the hairless breeds developed a spontaneous FOXI3 mutation that was later passed to the individual breeds as they were developed. It is theorized that early hairless dogs travelling on shipping routes with their human companions played a role in the spread of the trait to numerous locations in the world.

In addition to genetic mutations responsible for particular physical traits, like other purebred dogs, Chinese cresteds are known to inherit some genetic mutations responsible for causing inherited disease. Inherited diseases of the eyes are of particular concern ...

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 ...

Preventable Inherited Diseases of the Old English Sheepdog- Part Two

Preventable Inherited Diseases of the Old English Sheepdog- Part Two

 In this second blog of a two part blog series (read part one here) about inherited diseases of the wonderful old English sheepdog (OES), we will examine two inherited diseases reported in multiple dog breeds in addition to the OES.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Historically a disease associated with the German shepherd dog, degenerative myelopathy (DM) has now been identified in over 100 dog breeds. A canine disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) which affects people, DM is a late-onset neurological disease caused by a mutation in the SOD1 gene. Affected dogs initially present around 7 to 10 years of age with weakness in the hind limbs and difficulty rising after lying down. As affected dogs gradually lose the ability to fully control their hind limbs, it is common for them to begin dragging their hind feet while walking and may occasionally lose their balance and fall over. In some circumstances, affected dogs will also suffer from urinary and/or fecal incontinence. Once initial signs of disease present, progression of the neurological dysfunction to the front limbs tends to be rapid with most dogs losing the ability to walk within 6 months to two years.

Diseases with a late ...

Preventable Inherited Diseases of the Old English Sheepdog- Part One

Preventable Inherited Diseases of the Old English Sheepdog- Part One

Though their early origins are vague due to a lack of documentation, the old English sheepdog’s (OES) easy going personality and intelligence are no mystery to those close to the breed. Most likely developed in western England in the early 19th century, the OSE was commonly used to help farmers drive livestock to market. Despite its natural instincts and desire to work, a well-exercised, modern OSE is just as content curled up on the couch with their favorite person as they are when working or participating in agility, obedience, or herding trials. Their characteristic thick, shaggy coat and docked tail help make the OES one of the most recognizable dog breeds in existence. However, one thing that can’t be recognized from physical appearance alone is an individual OES’s likelihood to produce puppies with inherited disease. Through the use of genetic testing and selective breeding practices, the incidence of some inherited diseases can be greatly reduced (or even eliminated) from blood lines.

Exercise-Induced Collapse

One concern of the OES lover is a disease often associated with the Labrador retriever known as exercise-induced collapse (EIC). EIC is a troubling neuromuscular disorder caused by a mutation in the

DNM1 gene. As its ...

Cystinuria and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration in the Labrador Retriever

Cystinuria and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration in the Labrador Retriever

In this fourth and final blog in a series about preventable inherited diseases in the Labrador retriever (see previous blogs here; part one, part two, and part three), we will examine a potentially life-threating urinary disease and a cause of blindness in dozens of dog breeds including the Labrador.

Cystinuria

Urinary tract obstruction is one of the most urgent and potentially life-threatening conditions in dogs. One common cause of urinary obstructions in dogs is the presence of bladder stones which leave the bladder during urination and become lodged in the urethra. The inability to urinate results in a toxic buildup of certain electrolytes and waste products in the body including potassium, which tends to be the most concerning in regards to health effects. Excess potassium in the body prevents the heart from beating normally, ultimately resulting in death due to cardiac arrest. Though it is not the only cause of bladder stones in Labradors, a genetic mutation in the SLC3A1 gene is reported to cause an early-onset disease known as cystinuria, which can result in bladder stone formation.

While normal kidneys reabsorb a variety of nutrients and electrolytes from the urine, dogs affected with cystinuria lack the ability to produce ...

Exercise-Induced Collapse and Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis in the Labrador Retriever

Exercise-Induced Collapse and Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis in the Labrador Retriever

In this third part of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases in the Labrador retriever (See previous blogs here; part one and part two) we will be examining a relatively common neuromuscular condition known as exercise-induced collapse and a skin disorder unique to the Labrador known as hereditary nasal parakeratosis.

Exercise-Induced Collapse

There aren’t many inherited diseases more concerning to Labrador lovers than exercise-induced collapse (EIC). This potentially fatal condition caused by a mutation in the DNM1 gene results in an inability to produce adequate amounts of a protein called dynamin 1, which plays an important role in nerve signal transmission in the body. As its name suggests, dogs affected with EIC typically present during periods of intense exercise, often before 2 years of age. During an episode of collapse, affected dogs will commonly develop an awkward, wobbly gait that progresses to severe weakness, dragging of the hind limbs, and collapse lasting for 5 to 10 minutes. Though unable to rise, dogs experiencing an episode of collapse are usually mentally alert and pain-free. Most dogs completely recover within 30 minutes and appear normal between episodes. Most concerning however, is that in some cases affected dogs can progress ...

Skeletal Dysplasia 2 and Retinal Dysplasia/Oculoskeletal Dysplasia 1 in the Labrador retriever

Skeletal Dysplasia 2 and Retinal Dysplasia/Oculoskeletal Dysplasia 1 in the Labrador retriever

In this second part of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases of the Labrador retriever (see part one here) we will be examining two diseases known to cause dwarfism in the breed.

Skeletal Dysplasia 2

Skeletal dysplasia 2 (SD2) is an inherited disease of collagen resulting in disproportionate dwarfism in the Labrador. Disproportionate dwarfism is marked by abnormal size discrepancies between the limb length of affected individuals and the size of their torso. In the case of SD2, the limbs of affected dogs tend to be shorter than normal despite an average sized torso. International breed standards of the Labrador list shoulder heights of 56-57 cm in males and 54-56 cm in females. In the publication describing the COL11A2 gene mutation associated with SD2, the authors found that most of the affected males had shoulder heights of less than 55 cm and most affected females showed heights of less than 50 cm. However, there is some overlap of shoulder heights between those of normal dogs from blood lines of smaller size and affected dogs from larger sized blood lines. Though the front limbs tend to be more severely affected (and sometimes slightly bowed) with SD2, the long ...

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics partners with a number of different organizations. In many cases, the organization comes to us wanting help in providing members with educational materials on genetics to promote genetic testing among their members. In other cases, we see a need in an organization for better education and we want better visibility to their membership.  In either case, our partnerships are limited to providing genetics education when desired, discounts to members to promote testing, and supporting their events with raffle items or prizes, such as gift certificates for free testing. 

You may have noticed that some of the organizations and clubs that we have partnered with may be considered nonconforming in the sense that some are not AKC recognized, nor are they well known.  Some individuals have recently questioned our integrity or intentions with these groups.  In partnering, our only agenda is to promote healthy dogs and genetics education.  We do not have any other agenda.  Paw Print Genetics will accept samples from all dogs, regardless of breed, color, conformity to published standards, registered, rescued or adopted.  We do not discriminate when it comes to promoting genetic testing and healthy dogs.  ...