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Wiser or Champion Digger, Want to know your Dog’s Genetic Secret, This might Help

Affordable Testing Kits work like DNA Testing.

DOGS KNOW SO much about us. Their soft eyes track us around the kitchen, waiting for scraps to fall from our fingers. Their sharp ears pick up every snorfle and wheeze we make in the night. Their high-resolution noses can detect everything from drugs to bed bugs. Yet we don’t often know much about them. We might think we have a cattle dog/collie cross from the shelter, but it’s really just a guess. And what we do know is often a sad crystal ball: The hips of a Labrador give out, the back of a dachshund fails.

The advent of relatively inexpensive  genetic testing gives us a chance to learn a little more about our best friends. It’s a process that can be surprisingly emotional. Angela Hughes, a veterinary geneticist at dog genetic testing company Wisdom Health, remembers a call from a couple who had recently adopted a shelter dog they thought was a shepherd mix. The test showed that the dog, who weighed a mere 18 pounds, was actually a Lhasa apso mix. “And they were calling in upset. You build the story and this background around this animal. It can be a real shock when you learn, no, that’s not your father. This is your father.”

As reported by the wisdom kits work much like human commercial DNA tests. They don’t “read” the entire genome; rather, they look at a specific number of markers. Some markers give you clear yes/no information—like the presence of a mutated version of a particular gene that causes this or that disease. In other cases, like a gene that affects hair length, one allele might confer long hair, another short hair. Breed testing is more complicated; the companies compare your dog’s genetic information with that of other dogs in their databases. It can be a little less exact. Algorithms are involved.

Priced between $85 to 150, Wisdom’s sleek kit comes with two brushie swabs you stick into the back of your dog’s mouth between gum and cheek, swirl around to collect the DNA, let dry, and repeat three times. (Dogs do not love this, and will look at you awful forlorn when they see the tiny little bottle brush thing come off the sideboard for a third scrape.)

Pop it in the mail, and Wisdom will run it through their system, looking at 20,000 genetic markers in all—around 1,800 for breed identification and the rest for diseases and traits. The basic panel gives you breed information and a yes/no on whether or not your dog carries two particular mutations. One leaves the animal prone to poor drug processing and another is linked to something called exercise-induced collapse. The Health panel offers you the full flight of genetic conditions, from Alaskan husky encephalopathy to X-linked tremors.


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Preventing water intoxication, heat exhaustion in dogs

Water intoxication is not common, but it’s a condition that can affect pets if they drink too much water.

Water intoxication is not common, but it’s a condition that can affect pets if they drink too much water. “It definitely throws off the electrolyte balance as well as causes the pet’s blood pressure to tank,” said Dr. Danielle Bell of the Animal Emergency Clinic of North Alabama. Bell says water intoxication can happen to a dog while playing in the lake, in a pool, or drinking from a hose. It can even happen while the dog is in the water and doesn’t appear to be drinking any. Symptoms for water intoxication include lethargy and nausea. Symptoms for heat exhaustion in dogs can be similar. “Is the pet having difficulty breathing, or is the pet taking in too much water and lethargic and have nausea at that point – so very difficult to identify.”  When pets are in the water, she says to be aware and keep an eye on timing. “I would say in an hour’s timing, an excessive amount could be harmful to a small dog”, said Bell. Breaks from outside activity can help, and she says remembers to make sure they have something to drink.

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Keep your dogs safe this summer

They’re asking people to be extra vigilant this summer after lots of residents flocked to the beach town to enjoy the hot weather.

They’re asking people to be extra vigilant this summer after lots of residents flocked to the beach town to enjoy the hot weather. Dogs can be very susceptible to heatstroke which can be extremely dangerous.

Some are more vulnerable than other: flat faced, short muzzled, seniors, puppies, sick, overweight and thick coated dogs carry a higher risk.

Some of the symptoms you should look out for: excessive panting, body temperature 104-110, bright red tongue/gums/ears, weakness, fainting, vomiting, diarrhoea and rapid heartbeat.

If you think your dog has developed heatstroke you have to cool them down as quickly as possible.

You shouldn’t force your dog to drink, hose them down or cover them in water-soaked towels and contact your vet immediately.

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What to Do When a Dog Is Depressed

Dogs get depressed just like people do.

Have you noticed lately that your dog’s energy level has dropped, his sleeping and eating habits aren’t the same, or he’s not as interested in the things he used to be interested in? It’s possible your dog is depressed.

Canine depression can often be triggered by the loss or departure of a family member, either a human or another pet. Depression can also be triggered from major changes in the dog’s routine whether it is a new baby, new pet, or even moving into a new house.  If you’re concerned about your furry companion, look out for these five warning signs of depression in dogs:

1. Appetite Changes

When dogs become depressed, they often eat less or even stop eating. There are also some dogs who will eat a lot more when they get depressed, because dog food can serve as a comfort to them.

If your dog has experienced extreme weight loss in a short amount of time, there might be a chance there is a chemical imbalance caused by clinical depression.

2. Changes in Sleeping Habits

Like humans, when dogs get depressed, they often sleep a lot more than they usually do. You might come home from work and find that your dog doesn’t want to get out of bed.

Excessive sleeping could signify depressed behavior.

3. Loss of Interest

A major symptom of depression in dogs is no longer showing interest in going for walks, nor in all the other activities your dog used to enjoy. Again, these depression symptoms are remarkably similar to humans.

4. Avoidance or Hiding

If your dog suddenly starts hiding from you or wants to be left alone, that’s a strong indication that something is bothering her. It could be a physical injury, or it could be purely emotional.

5. Excessive Licking

Depressed dogs will often lick their paws to soothe themselves. If it seems like your dog is displaying excessive licking or biting behavior, he may be depressed.

What to Do?

So, what should you do if your usually happy dog has the symptoms of depression? First, take your dog to the vet to make sure these symptoms are not caused by a physical ailment.

If the vet finds that your dog is physically healthy, the best thing you can do is maintain the routine that you and your dog had before the traumatic event, to get her back to a sense of normalcy. Keep feeding times and amounts the same, and take her on plenty of walks so that she can get enough exercise. Continue to try to engage her with activities she used to enjoy, like going to the dog park, and make sure you pay her extra attention.

If several months go by and your dog is still depressed or experiencing anxiety, a vet might prescribe medical treatment. Antidepressants like Prozac are only given to dogs with severe cases of depression, and usually for short periods of time. Canines are usually able to get over dog depression on their own, with loving attention from their owners.

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Dogs can catch the flu? What dog parents need to know.

Did you know that humans are not the only ones who can catch the flu? Unfortunately for man’s best friend, dogs are also susceptible to their own version of it.

Did you know that humans are not the only ones who can catch the flu? Unfortunately for man’s best friend, dogs are also susceptible to their own version of it.

Dog flu is a year-round illness that can easily spread from dog to dog, but isn’t contagious to humans. Spring or early summer is a great time for pet parents to talk to their veterinarians about vaccinating their dogs against dog flu, either for the first time or for re-vaccination, because warmer weather means more time spent outside socializing with other dogs – and more social time can increase a dog’s chance of getting sick. Dog flu is highly contagious and can pass between dogs through virus particles in the air, physical contact with other dogs, indirect contact with an infected dog or contact with a person who has interacted with an infected dog. Since dogs have no natural immunity against dog flu, almost all non-vaccinated dogs that come in contact with the virus will become sick.Dog flu is not seasonal, it is year-round; but because dogs tend to be more social in the spring in many parts of the country, they are more likely to encounter a contagious dog. Plus, with summer approaching, dogs that will be boarded should finish the dog flu vaccination at least two weeks before the planned date of boarding. Dogs vaccinated for the first time need two vaccinations, two to four weeks apart. Annual re-vaccination just requires one vaccination.  Bivalent vaccines, which are vaccines that contain both strains of dog flu, were introduced to the market in 2016 and 2017. Millions of dogs have been vaccinated against dog flu.Summer weather is exciting for both pet parents and their dogs – it means it’s time to get outside and play. Avoid the risk of dog flu by talking to a veterinarian about vaccination and visiting to find a veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a dog flu vaccination for your pet.

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Skin-deep itch that ticks off pets

Every third adult dog coming to my chamber is down with tick fever these days,” says vet.

Every third adult dog coming to my chamber is down with tick fever these days,” says vet Krishanu Ghosh, who sits at Animal Planet’s Salt Lake and New Town centres. “If diagnosed early, medicines can cure the dogs but in some cases it’s too late.” It’s pet parents who are fretting the most. “We lost our Labrador Snowy to tick fever last year and this time our other Lab Buddy has got it,” said Ananya Mitra of Uni world City, who had rushed Buddy to Animal Planet for a tick bath and doctor’s consultation. The Telegraph Salt Lake speaks to vets to understand why ticks are so dangerous and how to keep our dogs safe from them. Ticks are the tiny eight-legged parasites that stick to your dog’s body. “They feed on mammals, birds and reptile’s blood.

“The problem at hand is the Brown Dog Tick, that prefers dog’s blood and that is spreading rapidly at present.” While a dog’s normal body temperature is 101°F, an infected dog would have 103° to 106°F fever for three to four days. Warning signs are a dry nose and muzzle, excessive panting, lethargy, weakness and loss of appetite.

If your dog shows symptoms, consult a vet and arrange for blood tests. It is best to have the dog’s blood collected when he is running temperature. “Many people feel that ticks are unavoidable on dogs and that’s a dangerous thought. A single infected tick can kill a dog and so the existing ones must be eliminated and new ticks must be stopped from latching on,” says Ghosh, adding that there is no vaccine against these diseases.


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What to do if your Dog is Choking

Not knowing what to do when your dog is choking is a prospect that likely strikes fear into the hearts of many.

Not knowing what to do when your dog is choking is a prospect that likely strikes fear into the hearts of many, especially those whose pets are prone to chewing on any object that they can get their paws on. Rather than descend into a state of sheer panic, learning how to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on your dog could help clear their windpipe safely and swiftly when blocked.

A Twitter user who goes by the name Kass has shared a diagram that demonstrates various techniques that you can employ if you find yourself in that particular predicament. The first step from the diagram that she has followed in the past with her own pet is to sharply pat the dog with your hand in between the shoulder blades. Next, she holds the dog by its hind legs like a wheelbarrow so that the object causing it discomfort may become dislodged. The third step involves holding the dog’s jaws open and using your finger to sweep from side to side to see if you can remove the stuck object. Next, Kass uses her fist to compress her dog’s abdomen from underneath. However, if your dog is awake, you need to exercise your judgement when debating whether it’s wise to place your fingers in its mouth or not.

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What having a dog does to your Brain and Body

The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin is traditionally the way a mother bonds with her child.

The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin is traditionally the way a mother bonds with her child. But scientists say it’s also behind another long-lasting relationship – between dogs and their owners.

Scientist and author Meg Olmert says a cuddle with your pup triggers oxytocin release, helping you to bond with your pet and alleviate stress. It also disperses the ‘pleasure hormone’ dopamine, boosting both your mood and long-term memory. Ms Olmert said that different breeds can illicit a range of hormonal responses in your brain, with social dogs like golden retrievers triggering a chemical release that is distinct from breeds that we perceive as aggressive, such as bull dogs

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These Canines are real

Like us they need warm places and blankets to sleep in.

Why do people have dogs if they do not love and look after them properly? It breaks my heart that in the freezing weather we have been experiencing, people leave their dogs outside without proper protection and warmth. I would like to make those owners spend a night outside without protection. Dogs feel the cold the same as we do. A neighbour said her dog does not like the kennel. She is so ignorant. The dog does not like the kennel because it is so small, it cannot fit into it. Please, give your dogs warm places and blankets to sleep in, otherwise, give your dogs to people who care. I struggle to fall asleep in winter because I am worried about all the dogs left out in the cold.

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Heritability of Canine Hip Dysplasia

A large number of genes are involved in the development of the painful disease that affects all breeds, mostly large and giant dogs, and usually both hip joints are affected, says Evžen Korec

A healthy dog has the globular head of the femur (thighbone) deeply articulated into the acetabulum (hip socket) and the hip joint capsule is tight. The articular surfaces of the bones fit to each other. The healthy joint performs only a circular movement and does not perform any side movement under normal load. Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) occurs if there is an abnormal development of the hip socket, head of the femur, and the joint capsule or a ligament. Besides the normal circular movement in the hip, a side movement of the head of the femur affects the joint during the load.  Due to this side motion of the joint, the degenerative changes of the joint appears (arthrosis).

Clinical signs of CHD in young dogs (3-12 months) are reluctance to exercise,  very slow standing up, limping, difficulty climbing the stairs, jumping from heights and problems to jump in the car. Sometimes, it is possible to hear unusual clacking sound while walking. In older dogs, CHD is manifested mainly by significant limping. Advanced stadiums of CHD are treatable surgically only and some of them by total hip replacement (endoprosthesis).

Diagnosis & classification

The diagnosis of CHD is determined according to the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standards by X-ray examination. This method is used for CHD diagnosis in all countries that are members of FCI (majority of European countries, Russia, South America and Asia). In the US and Canada, a different standard is used – OFA (Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals). In the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, BVA/KC standard (British Veterinary Association/ Kennel Club) is used.

According to the standards of FCI, the X-ray examination is performed at the age of 12-18 months. The exact age, when the examination is performed, is determined for each breed by binding conditions of a relevant breeding club. The result of the examination at the specified age is necessary for the decision, whether the individual will be included in the breed or not. For successful surgical treatment, the examination should be performed much earlier, optimally at the age of 3-4 months.

Heritability Factor

Currently, an intensive research of genes that might be responsible for the origin of CHD is underway. It is obvious that a large number of genes are involved in the development of dysplasia, which makes it a complex polygenic inheritance. The disease can also arise in dogs with a healthy genetic origin, but with the enormous load on the joints during puppy development, such inappropriate loading can be too long and too intensive movement not equal to the age of the puppy or jumping from the heights in young puppies. The cause of arising CHD can also be an inappropriate surface for puppy movement. It can also occur if the puppies do not get proper nutrition. The development of puppies of large and giant breeds requires a sufficient amount of calcium and added supplements containing substances that form joint cartilage. For a good development of the joint, it is necessary to add glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, MSM and hydrolysed collagen that can be found, for example, in Apto-flex supplement.

Breeding Value

Recently, a number of genes have been described that are responsible for the origin of CHD. These findings can be used to determine the breeding value (EBV). The introduction of Breeding Value for CHD and breeding only those dogs with optimal breeding value can significantly contribute to reducing the incidence of CHD in each breed. The breeding value can be estimated only by a geneticist and these data are not available for most of the breeders. An extensive research done in the US in 1970-2015 on 60 dog breeds showed that phenotypic selection only, i.e. including the individual into breeding process according to x-ray examination, leads to a significant reduction of CHD presence in all dog breeds.

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