Researchers at the University of Helsinki, UC Davis and the University of Jyväskylä have discovered that the gene RBP4 for canine congenital eye disease is passed from the mother to the puppies in the womb.
The researchers have discovered that this recessive gene, which blocks the developing eyes of puppies from getting vitamin A, causes blindness. In order for the disease to occur, both the mother and puppy must have the mutated gene, which is why all puppies are not born blind.
It has also been determined that the RPB4 gene may be related to human MAC disease. So again, understanding canine diseases may lead to cures for humans.
An Irish Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, Photo: Lohi Research Group
The good news is that researchers have developed a DNA test that can identify those dogs that carry the gene. This will help both veterinarians and breeders control and hopefully eradicate blindness in this breed.
Enni Markkanen of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich along with other researchers have determined that breast cancer in dogs is similar to breast cancer in humans.
What the researches found was that the cancer cells in tumors produce substances that cause the healthy cells around the tumor to support the growth of the cancer cells, thus spreading the cancerous tumor.
The spread of breast cancer works the same in dogs as it does in humans. It does not react the same in rats or cells produced in the laboratory making the study of breast cancer in dogs important in understanding breast cancer in humans.
With permission from the dog’s owners, researchers study the surrounding tissue in dogs who have mammary tumors using molecular biology and immunohistological methods and conduct pathological tests to try and better understand the nature of the disease. This type of research will benefit both humans and dogs, hopefully leading to a cure for breast cancer for both.
Dr. Jonas Donner of Genoscoper Labratories, a Finnish company that specializes in animal genetics and testing has found that about 1 in 6 dogs carry the genetic predisposition for genetic disorders. They tested 7000 dogs that made up 230 different breeds. What was important about this research is that some of the diseases that showed up were in breeds that had not been previously reported as having that predisposition.
Because many of the canine inherited disorders are more widespread than previously thought, it indicates that further investigation and testing is needed to help veterinarians and pet owners improve the health of canines.
It also shows that it is important for breeders to conduct genetic testing before they breed their dogs. With breeder and pet owner cooperation, the overall health of our dogs can be improved.
If you plan to purchase a purebred dog, be sure that the parents have been genetically or other wise tested for the diseases and disorders common for that breed. A good breeder will have done this for the dam and sire of a litter. For example, a German Shepherd should be Orthopedic Foundation (OFA) certified free of hip and elbow problems. A Rottweiler should be tested to be free of the canine bleeding disorder, VWD.
The public demand for certain toy dogs to have rounded head shapes and short muzzles have caused them to suffer from Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia disorder.
Chiari malformation is when the bones in the skull fuse too soon and causes fluid pockets in the spinal cord. The fluid pockets which are called Syringomyelia can cause permanent damage to the spinal cord and pain for the dogs. The most common breed that is affected by this is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua and the Affenpinscher.
A new study using an MRI mapping technique has allowed scientists to study how this happens and hopefully will help them develop ways to correct this painful condition.
It goes without saying that breeders can help by carefully breeding dogs who do not suffer from this condition and not breed for a style or look but rather for the dog’s health and opportunity for a pain free life.
Read more at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170125145842.htm