Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dog + Cat = New Hybrid Pet!

Hybrid dogs are simply all the rage these days. Would-be dog owners looking for a dog with the smarts of a Poodle but with the family-friendliness of a Labrador can always get a Labradoodle. But what if you want a dog with better mouse-catching capabilities? Thanks to new cross-species breeding techniques, the answer is here: the PuppyCat. Whether you're looking for a Siamoodle or a Maine Coonhound, your ideal dog-cat mix is now just a few clicks away.

See these amazing new PuppyCats now ››

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stem Cell News Regarding Hip Dysplasia

Break through on stem cell surgery on dogs! Follow the link below to view videos that show the amazing results of dogs that have undergone this fairly minor procedure. The cost is about $2500 compared to $10,000 hip surgery!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Breakthrough discovery leads to powerful genetic test

From a cross-posted email sent to the Can-Gen-Ec list:

The challenge was posed nearly forty years ago; the trail has been hot for the last two. Long-standing partnerships have resulted in advances in diagnosing and understanding hip dysplasia in dogs, a disease that occurs when a specific combination of genes exists and results in hip osteoarthritis and disability.

Research indicates that, in addition to Labrador Retrievers, discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia will assist other breeds including Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Newfoundland dogs, and has the potential to offer insights into similar diseases in other mammals.

In 2007, with grant support from the Morris Animal Foundation and Pfizer Incorporated, Dr. George Lust and colleagues Dr. Rory Todhunter, Steven Friedenberg and Dr. Zhiwu Zhang discovered the first panel of genetic markers that could lead to genetic testing for the diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia. With a new sample of dogs, they plan to verify the accuracy of this panel of genetic markers for hip conformation that can predict the breeding value of the dog.

A breakthrough in diagnosis, these genetic tests are expected to be more accurate than current procedures, less expensive to perform, and enable earlier identification of both normal dogs and those at risk for hip dysplasia. Genetic tests may also reduce the need for progeny testing.

"This has been a long-sought goal," says Dr. Lust. "Now, with one DNA sample we are on the road to telling if a young dog will develop normally. We will not need to wait until the dog is old enough to undergo the current radiographic screening." The research team also identified a mutation in the gene for fibrillin 2 that segregates in a sample of dysplastic dogs and nondysplastic dogs. Fibrillin 2 is a gene expressed in the tissue o f hip joints. This is the first gene reported to be associated with canine hip dysplasia. The discovery opens opportunities for defining the biochemical basis of the disease.

In other related research, Dr. Lust partnered with Dr. Bernard G. Steinetz at the New York University Medical Center to study the relationship of two milk-borne hormones--- relaxin and estrogen---to the onset of hip dysplasia. In a controlled study, the investigators concluded that early anti-hormone treatments may be able to negate the effects of the milk-borne hormones as they relate to induction of canine hip dysplasia.

Exerpted from: The Baker Institute Annual Report 2008

Read more here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad Passing: Rachel Page Elliott

Click here to read the full obituary

Rachel Page Elliott
(February 27, 1913 - March 20, 2009)

Writer, researcher and world authority on dogs, Rachel Page Elliott, has passed away at the age of 96. Considered one of the world’s most respected authorities on canine structure and movement, Elliott was well-known in the show dog community for being the author the illustrated Dogsteps, a book on canine anatomy and movement published in 1973. A follow-up to Dogsteps, Dogsteps: A New Look, published in 2001, used cineradiography (moving x-rays) to provide more insight into bone and joint movement in moving dogs. Her research also debunked the long-held belief that ideal shoulder lay-back in a well structured dog should be 45 degrees. Her findings revealed that "as a dog stands with the forelegs in natural pose, a blade that sets about 30 degrees off a vertical plane - measured up the scapular ridge - is within normal limits for the average well-built dog" (Elliott, 2001, p. 68). And she apologized for doing so! "It is with a feeling of responsibility that I share the radiographic findings with fellow dog fanciers, for I realize how ideas that upset or challenge long standing theories or concepts can create controversy. I do not aim to persuade - I offer the new material in this edition only to present and discuss the findings as they have been revealed to me" (Elliott, 2001, p. xv).

Author's Introduction
(exerpted from R.P. Elliott (2001) Dogsteps: A New Look, Doral Publishing, USA, p. xiv)

"Dogsteps—A New Look is designed to make easier the recognition of normal and faulty ways in which the dog moves. Gait tells much about a dog's structure that is not revealed when he is standing still, as it reflects his physical coordination, balance of body and soundness. The correlation between gait and structure is frequently misunderstood and—in a time when growing interest in dogs as family pets tends to lessen awareness of the need for stamina and working ability—its significance is often overlooked.

Sound movement contributes to the health and normal lifespan of all dogs. It is as desirable a feature in the family pet as it is important to the usefulness of dogs for hunting, farm work, police duty or racing; and without it show winners can never achieve true excellence. Also, sound dogs are happier dogs. This emphasis is not to detract from the value of type and temperament, which are necessary for the preservation of any breed, but rather to underline the truth of the old saying, "As a dog moves, so is he built."

Dogs do not all move alike. Differences in size and shape influence their way of going. The flashy step of a small terrier, for example, or the brisk trot of a Welsh Corgi, is not the same as the easy, loose stride of Bloodhounds or Newfoundlands. And the spirited drive of proud-headed Setters lends contrast to the patient scent- trailing action of Basset Hounds. Through the centuries man has developed various kinds of dogs to meet his needs and his fancies, and their individuality today is the result of long years of selective breeding.

Varied as dogs are, however, the principle by which they cover the ground is the same for all and is dictated by nature. This is the law of balance and gravity, which is constantly directed toward efficient forward motion with a minimum waste of effort—the key to good movement. When man upsets this law through inattention to sound structure, nature has to compensate for his mistakes with counterbalances which show up in faulty gaiting patterns.

Incorrect movement, either temporary or permanent, can also occur as a result of lameness due to sprains, breaks, cuts, bruises or other reasons, but these should be recognized for what they are and not confused with inherited defects. Faults vary in severity and frequency from dog to dog and frombreed to breed, but they are universal to the canine world - constantly challenging out search for perfection.

While one does not have to be a student of anatomy to appreciatedogs, the ability to recognize good and poor movement is basic for a working knowledge. To be sure, movement is quicker than the eye, but the educated eye knows better what to look for, and the eye that understands is not easily deceived. In the course of my study on this subject, I have taken slow-motion movies, from which I have drawn animated sequences showing various phases of leg action at different angles to the viewer. Included also, are a few skeletal suggestions to help the reader visualize bone and joint movement beneath coat and muscles. Some of the illustrations may appear to be exaggerated—actually they are not; most are tracings from my movie films.
There is no intention to associate any of the technical sketches with a particular breed— for all are vulnerable. Except for some of the pencil drawings showing dogs at work, most of the studies portray dogs moving at the trot, as this gait is considered best for evaluating movement as it relates to build. However, some examples of other gaits have also been included for identification and comparison. For newcomers, interest in Dogsteps - A New Look may be simply in owning a good dog. Nevertheless, we hope there is something of value here for all dog fanciers, and particularly the many breeders who are striving to raise better puppies" (Elliott, 2001, p. xiv).

(exerpted from R.P. Elliott (2001) Dog Steps: A New Look, Doral Publishing, USA, p.124)

"At risk of being considered a "fault finder," the author may appear to have dwelt rather heavily on what makes a dog move incorrectly—and not have stressed enough the features that make him move well. Unfortunately, faults tend to linger in one's impression, and too often override the total perspective. Such an imbalance was not our intent, but if our emphasis has stirred awareness of a few structural pitfalls that threaten the quality of many present day breeds, then it will have served a useful purpose.

Although you might find it difficult to put into words what you are looking for in good movement, you may have sensed it without knowing why. It may be just the feeling of pleasure over the flashy gait of a stylish entry in the show ring, or the thrill of excitement that comes with watching a hunting dog work smoothly across a field and suddenly freeze on point. You may instinctively have sensed the importance of stamina if you have hunted over a retriever that swims strongly and eagerly at the close of a strenuous day in the marshes. Or, if you are one who has handled a willing dog through obedience or agility competition, where advanced training demands constant effort in jumping, you have experienced the need for soundness.

Too often puppies are selected solely on the basis of their expression, personality, color, coat texture or size-traits, which, to be sure, give each its special appeal and add to the joy of the owner. But these traits alone are not enough. Structure must also be considered if a breed or strain is to be kept strong. So it is to the breeders who know what to look for and what to avoid, who know what makes a good dog move well and why, that novices should turn for guidance and learning. Experience is a good teacher, but knowledge—with a little luck!—steers the shortest way to lasting success" (Elliott. 2001, p. 124).

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Big Shout-Out for the Shawnee Kennel Club!

The Shawnee Kennel Club in Winchester, Virginia has donated 15 sets of pet oxygen masks to the Winchester Fire Department. These masks can deliver 100% 02 Oxygen to a pet that has inhaled smoke. The Shawnee Kennel Club raised the money for the oxygen masks through it's dog shows, and they already have more plans in the work for another donation to the Winchester Fire Department.

Click here to read the full story and watch the video footage

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The more people I meet, the more I prefer my dog!

Prefer dogs to humans? You're not alone (or unbalanced)

The finding, Kurdek wrote, supports the idea that "people strongly attached to their pet dogs do not turn to pet dogs as substitutes for failed interactions with humans."

To Gavriele-Gold, the intensity of the relationship between people and their pets is unsurprising.

"Humans tend to be very disappointing - notice our divorce rate," Gavriele-Gold said. "Dogs are not hurtful and humans are. People are inconsistent and dogs are fairly consistent."