Tag archives: veterinary care

For The Veterinarian: The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

For The Veterinarian: The Genetics of Shortened Limbs and the Association with Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Shortened legs are a major defining feature for some of today’s most popular domestic dog breeds. Although dogs with extreme shortening of the limbs likely come to mind when pondering this trait (such as dachshunds or basset hounds), many other breeds also display a more subtle or moderate limb shortening (e.g. West Highland white terrier, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, beagle). Unfortunately, in some breeds, dogs with shortened legs have also been found to be at an increased risk for early-onset intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). However, over the past several years, genetic discoveries and development of genetic testing have made it possible to better understand the short-legged appearance of some dog breeds and the genetic underpinnings which make some of these dogs more likely to develop IVDD.

Shortened Legs and Genetic Link to Intervertebral Disc Disease

Two genetic mutations associated with shorter limb length have been reported in domestic dogs2,4,5. Both mutations consist of a duplicated section of the canine FGF4 gene (called an FGF4-retrogene) which has been inserted into two aberrant locations of the genome; one copy has been inserted into a region on chromosome 12 (CFA12 FGF4 insertion) and the other copy has ...

Keep Breed-Specific Thinking from Delaying Your Diagnosis

Keep Breed-Specific Thinking from Delaying Your Diagnosis

Discovery of disease-associated, canine genetic mutations has greatly increased over the past two decades. As a result, identification of these mutations through genetic testing has quickly become a useful tool for dog kennels and veterinary practices by allowing for the identification of asymptomatic disease carriers, diagnosis of affected dogs, and prevention of inherited diseases through informed breeding practices. However, because mutation discovery is often funded by specific breed clubs with interest in a breed-related disease concern, study investigators may not perform extensive, species-wide population studies for a newly discovered mutation. Therefore, in many cases, additional breeds inheriting the same mutation (and developing the same disease) may remain unknown for quite some time after the initial discovery.

As any modern veterinarian can attest, for better or worse, animal lovers have more veterinary medical information at their fingertips than ever before. Occasionally, at Paw Print Genetics, we are contacted by breeders or owners whose veterinarian had opted not to pursue a diagnosis that the client suspected because of the veterinarian’s historical understanding of a disease’s breed-specific distribution rather than the current knowledge. For veterinarians building a differential diagnosis list, keeping the mind open to a particular inherited disease manifesting in an unexpected ...

Breeding Carriers of Canine Recessive Diseases- Why It Should be Considered

Breeding Carriers of Canine Recessive Diseases- Why It Should be Considered

The breeding of dogs identified as genetic carriers of recessive disease is a hotly debated topic in the canine breeding world with many breeders firmly entrenched in their own personal approach to the issue. With increasing regularity, dog breeders and their clients are bringing genetic questions (including those about breeding carriers) to their veterinarians under the assumption that most veterinarians would be up to speed on the current information and genetic testing available. Unfortunately, at Paw Print Genetics we occasionally speak to breeders whose veterinarians have given them advice about breeding carriers that may not be in the best interest of the kennel or the breed. Given the large number of variables and differences between the way kennels are operated and the recessive disease risks of individual breeds, there is not necessarily a breeding approach that would be appropriate in 100% of cases. However, understanding some guiding principles and the potential ramifications of doing so, can help a veterinarian advise their dog breeding clients in a way that will help them meet their goals without increasing the incidence of recessive diseases in a kennel or in the breed.

What is a “Carrier” of a Recessive disease?

As a quick refresher ...

Improving Client Experience and Clinical Outcomes with Canine Genetic Disease Testing

Improving Client Experience and Clinical Outcomes with Canine Genetic Disease Testing

The expanding role of the dog over recent decades as an anthropomorphized member of the modern American family has led to an increase in dog owners’ expectations of their veterinarians. With social media, where the old adages about the number of people a dissatisfied client will tell about their experience can be easily multiplied by a factor of hundreds, the pressure to meet client expectations is more intense than ever.

Far more actionable than the commonly used genetic testing for canine breed identification, canine genetic disease testing is an accurate and reliable tool to help veterinarians meet their clients’ expectations in new ways. Genetic testing for a variety of inherited diseases has become commonplace in the dog breeding community to help breeders produce puppies free of particular maladies. However, as we know, not every dog seen in practice is the product of two purebred parents which have been genetically tested and vetted to make sure they are a good genetic match. Having a solution to easily perform canine genetic disease testing for any dog in a clinical setting, no matter the breed, adds a level of sophistication and progressiveness to your practice which can also supplement and improve your overall ...

Paw Print Genetics Can Help You Better Integrate Genetic Testing Into Your Veterinary Practice

Paw Print Genetics Can Help You Better Integrate Genetic Testing Into Your Veterinary Practice

Paw Print Genetics has begun a new series of blogs aimed at helping veterinarians integrate genetics into their practice. These blogs help illustrate how the veterinarian might include discussions about genetics during new puppy visits, while helping a breeder with their breeding program, or considering genetic causes in developing a differential diagnosis for symptomatic dogs.

Veterinarians can assist clients in receiving genetic services in several ways. First, the vet may simply provide the dog owner information about testing options and clarify any questions that they might have.  Second, the veterinary staff assists the owner in setting up an individual account and performs the blood draw or cheek swabbing for the customer.  In this case, the genetic results would be uploaded to the customer’s account and the customer would have direct access to the information. Third, the veterinary clinic can set up a master account on the Paw Print Genetics website. Each customer’s dog is entered into the master account as orders are placed. For each dog, there is a field that allows the clinic staff to enter the dog owner’s name and contact information. After testing, the genetic results are uploaded to the clinic’s master account and the ...