Monthly Archives: July 2016

cocker spaniel

New DNA Tests and IVF

New DNA testing scheme for Cocker Spaniels

The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Acral Mutilation Syndrome (AMS) in Cocker Spaniels, following consultation with the Health Coordinator on behalf of the breed clubs.
This test is offered by Antagene (www.antagene.com) and further details can be obtained directly from them. As the Kennel Club does not have an agreement in place for the direct receipt of results from this laboratory, results can only currently be recorded upon owner submission.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club is constantly reviewing DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are able to continue breeding healthy dogs.
“We are pleased to be announcing this new DNA test for Cocker Spaniels, which will help breeders make informed decisions when it comes to breeding, enable potential puppy buyers to be aware of issues which could affect their chosen breed, and ultimately protect and maintain the health of the breed.
“The Kennel Club continues to work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators, in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs. We are happy to accommodate a club’s request to add a new DNA test to its lists and would normally need a formal request from the breed’s health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs.”
Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website. Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves.
If the owner includes the original registration certificate for the dog (not a copy) then a new registration certificate will be issued, with the DNA result on it, free of charge.

Please send any DNA test certificates to Health & Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB or scan and email copies of the certificates to hbs@thekennelclub.org.uk.

New DNA testing scheme for Alaskan Malamutes

The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Cone Degeneration (CD) in Alaskan Malamutes, following consultation with the Health Coordinator on behalf of the breed club.
To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, please refer to the worldwide DNA testing list.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club is constantly reviewing DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported in breeding healthy dogs.
“We are pleased to be announcing this new DNA test for Alaskan Malamutes, which will help breeders make informed decisions when it comes to breeding, enable potential puppy buyers to be aware of issues which could affect their chosen breed, and ultimately protect and maintain the health of the breed.
“The Kennel Club continues to work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators, in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs. We are happy to accommodate a club’s request to add a new DNA test to our lists and would normally need a formal request from the breed’s health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs.”
Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog, on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website. Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves.
If the owner includes the original registration certificate for the dog (not a copy) then a new registration certificate will be issued, with the DNA result on it, free of charge. Please send any DNA test certificates to Health & Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB or scan and email copies of the certificates to hbs@thekennelclub.org.uk.

IVF Dogs

A team from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, led by Professor Alexander J. Travis, has announced that a litter of seven puppies delivered by caesarean section on July 10 are the first to be born through IVF.
The story has been widely reported in the media, and the procedure is being hailed as having the potential to save endangered dog species and help prevent breed-related genetic disorders.
The paper entitled Live Births from Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) Embryos Produced by In Vitro Fertilization concentrates on describing the techniques used to but does also indicate possible ways in which this technique may be used in future and concludes by saying; “Successful IVF makes possible a variety of applications, including opening new opportunities for gamete rescue of endangered species or targeted propagation of domestic dogs of high genetic value. Importantly, the dog is also a preferred model for studies in stem cell transplantation and gene therapy, and has well-characterized breed predispositions to hundreds of traits and pathologies that also plague humans. But the full potential of dog genetics has not been realized because of lack of IVF/ART. Methods shown here enable new gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas to be applied to the dog in an efficient manner. This approach will allow genes identified as candidates to cause or predispose an individual to a pathology or undesired trait to be tested empirically. This in turn will facilitate both development of targeted treatments and genetic screening tests to be used to remove those genes from affected breeds, with broad positive impacts on human and companion animal health and welfare.”
The ability to carry out IVF raises not only technical challenges but also a number of ethical issues which relate not only to fertility treatment but also the use of gametes and embryos in research. In humans the primary purpose of IVF is to enable people who have fertility problems to have a baby, and although IVF for this purpose is well established it is nonetheless acknowledged that there are ethical issues raised by the treatment, which is why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority exists.
So, now that IVF is technically possible in the dog, the ethical issues raised will need to be considered. We are aware that the technique is already being used in other species and would appreciate your comments on whether you think that there are particular ethical issues in regard to the use of this technique in dogs.
Please send your comments to Dr Sally Everitt, Head of Scientific Policy for BSAVA – s.everitt@bsava.com

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About Irish Whiskey and Spent Hops

You wouldn’t think that dogs would join in with the owners on having beverages but apparently they do!!

The VPIS said this about alcohol poisoning in dogs:

“Dogs will drink most forms of alcohol (e.g. beer, wine, spirits), but do seem to have a fondness for a particular brand of Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur ; indeed almost 20% of our canine ethanol cases with follow up involved this type of alcoholic drink.

The signs of ethanol intoxication are similar to those in humans with vomiting, depression, ataxia (walking all over the place), disorientation, vocalisation, drowsiness and coma. In severe cases there may be hypoglycaemia (low sugar), hypothermia (low temperature) and respiratory (breath) depression.

Treatment is supportive with warming measures, rehydration and nursing care. They are likely to be depressed and lethargic (or “hung over”) during recovery.”

Today, I was reading about hops and microbreweries and how spent hops tends to get a dog spent or worse!  This is what the VPIS sent in their article yesterday:

“Hops, humulus lupulus, are used to flavour beer, as well as in herbal products targeting stress and insomnia. Whilst herbal hops preparations, such as some sleeping aid tablets, rarely cause great concern, the VPIS has received calls reporting severe clinical signs after dogs have been exposed to spent hops from brewing. It is the flower cones of the female plant which are used in brewing. As the home “microbrewery” grows in popularity, owners must be advised of the risks to their pets.

The main concern in dogs post exposure is malignant hyperthermia, although the exact cause is unknown. Dogs can present with signs within 8 hours such as panting, abdominal (belly) discomfort, restlessness, tachycardia and tachypnoea. In severe cases, ingestion of spent hops can also lead to myoglobinuria (fast heart rate), metabolic acidosis, acute renal impairment, convulsions, respiratory distress and cardiovascular collapse. The case below demonstrates the potential lethality of poisoning:

A 23 kg, 4 year old Border collie lived on a brewery and became unwell after ingesting used hops. The owners noticed the dog was very hot and panting, but were not keen to bring her to a veterinary practice. They attempted to cool her down using a hose. She presented in practice 27 hours post ingestion with hypersalivation, panting, agitation and hyperthermia (41.8 °C). Once started on intravenous fluids, the dog suffered a convulsion and sadly died soon after. The body temperature following death was reported to be “off the scale”.
The VPIS advises gastric lavage in dogs that have ingested spent hops. This may still be of benefit several hours after the incident, with cases reporting of hops remaining in the stomach more than 6 hours post ingestion. Activated charcoal may also be of benefit. Vital signs should be closely monitored, in particular the temperature. Aggressive cooling measures, such as cool water baths and ice packs, may be required. IV fluids are recommended to ensure adequate hydration, promote urine output and prevent renal impairment.”

persian cat

The curse of a short nose…

I found this article on “short-nosed” breeds of cats & dogs (brachycephalic is the correct word)

BVA and BSAVA statement on brachycephalic breeds
Following recent calls urging veterinary surgeons and their professional associations to take action to address the health problems experienced by brachycephalic dog and cat breeds, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have issued the following statement:

BVA and BSAVA’s members are seeing concerning trends in dog and cat health and welfare linked to the rise in ownership of brachycephalic breeds and we are unequivocal in the need for all those with roles to play – including vets, breeders, breed societies, the pet-buying public as well as others – to take action to combat the health problems that brachycephalic breeds experience due to extreme conformation. Both organisations are committed to using scientific evidence and data – now readily available – to understand and tackle extremes of conformation.

BVA and BSAVA both strongly recommend that animals which show extremes of conformation that negatively affect their health and welfare should not be used for breeding. Vets have a duty to always prioritise the best interests of their pet patients, which, for affected animals, can involve performing surgical procedures to correct conformational disorders. They have a concurrent duty, for example acting through professional associations such as BVA and BSAVA, to be part of initiatives that aim to address the health and welfare of a breed beyond the individual affected animal.

This is why BVA, at the recent BSAVA Congress, promoted the importance of vets submitting data on caesarean sections and conformation-altering surgery to the Kennel Club, to improve the future of dog health and welfare.

We recognise and take seriously our responsibility to develop and contribute to all such initiatives that aim to address the health and welfare of these animals and we will continue to work with all stakeholders who can positively influence and improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic breeds.”

So what does that mean then practically?  What is all the “fuss” about?

Short-nosed cat and dog breeds often suffer a few anatomical challenges, to say the least.  As the term states, short-nosed means lack of nose and lack of distance from front to back of nose.

There are a few structures in the nose that need to be considered in this.  First there are the nostrils.  Those are often “collapsed” or “narrowed” in short-nosed breeds, making it difficult for them to breathe.  That’s the front position.

Lets have a look at the middle position.  There is a duct running from the eyes to the inside of the nostrils and this duct lets the tears flow through a mini canal.  When that canal gets squashed, the tears have nowhere to go but “over the top”.  So you’re getting tear stripes and tear stains, wetness and possible fold eczema as a result of this squashed little nose.

Then there is also the back position to consider.  The soft palate has its length but the nose hasn’t.  This leads to a lot of flapping about of a loose bit of kit in the back of the throat.  That’s OK most of the time if you like to hear a bit of snoring at night.  But when it gets hot outside, things heat up for pets.  They’re relying on panting to get rid of heat as well as lying on cold surfaces.  They don’t sweat.  I have seen pets come in during an emergency, blue tongue, gasping for air and being short nosed.  That dog had been panting all afternoon, vibrating its super-long palate in the process.  This had caused the soft palate to swell up and block the entrance to the trachea, the air pipe.  No view of the trachea, the air pipe at all on inspection, just one big swollen blob!

Finally, there is also the birthing to be considered of pets with big heads and short noses.  It hardly goes to plan in a natural way.  The heads are big, the bodies are small and the birth canal can only take that much.  Often the brachycephalic end up in elective caesarians and it’s not because they’re too posh to push.  There is often no way they’re going to pass.  So welfare in those breeds are a big issue and the checks are a must.