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Archive for March, 2010

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2008) — What makes a pointer point, a sheep dog herd, and a retriever retrieve? Why do Yorkshire terriers live longer than Great Danes? And how can a tiny Chihuahua possibly be related to a Great Dane?

Wendt Worth Corgis Ruff Housing in Leaves

Wendt Worth Corgis Ruff Housing in Leaves


Dogs vary in size, shape, color, coat length and behavior more than any other animal and until now, this variance has largely been unexplained. Now, scientists have developed a method to identify the genetic basis for this diversity that may have far-reaching benefits for dogs and their owners.

In the cover story of tomorrow’s edition of the science journal Genetics, research reveals locations in a dog’s DNA that contain genes that scientists believe contribute to differences in body and skull shape, weight, fur color and length — and possibly even behavior, trainability and longevity.

“This exciting breakthrough, made possible by working with leaders in canine genetics, is helping us piece together the canine genome puzzle which will ultimately translate into potential benefit for dogs and their owners,” said study co-author Paul G. Jones, PhD, a Mars Veterinary™ genetics researcher at the Waltham® Centre for Pet Nutrition — part of Mars® Incorporated, a world leader in pet care that has been studying canine genetic science for the past eight years. “By applying this research approach, we may be able to decipher how genes contribute to physical or behavioral traits that affect many breeds.”

Dogs originally derived from the wolf more than 15,000 years ago — a blink of the eye in evolutionary terms. Selective breeding produced dogs with physical and behavioral traits that were well suited to the needs or desires of their human owners, such as herding or hunting ability, coat color and body and skull shape and size. This resulted in the massive variance seen among the more than 350 distinct breeds that make up today’s dog population. Until now, the genetic drivers of this diversity have intrigued scientists who have been trying to explain how and why the difference in physical and behavioral traits in dogs changed so rapidly from its wolf origins.

An international team of researchers, which included scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute, the University of Utah, Sundowners Kennels in Gilroy, California and Mars’ Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom, studied simple genetic markers known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs, to find places in the dog genome that correlate with breed traits. Because many traits are “stereotyped” — or fixed within breeds — researchers can zero in on these “hot spots” to see what specific genes are in the area that might contribute to differences in traits.

The research used 13,000 dog DNA samples provided by Mars Veterinary, which holds one of the most comprehensive canine DNA banks in the world. This collection has been built up with the help of pet owners who have consented to their pets providing cheek swabs and blood samples for the database. Mars’ DNA bank allowed the study to cover most of the American Kennel Club recognized breeds that span a wide variety of physical and behavioral traits and differences in longevity.

“With further refinement and additional data, this method could be used to tailor products that may benefit the health of pets,” Jones said. “Pet owners and veterinarians may be able to develop better care regimes based on this knowledge. In addition, genetic information about behavioral traits, such as trainability and temperament, could also help veterinarians identify the most lifestyle-appropriate pet for an owner.”

This research may also have implications for human health, as dogs suffer from many of the same diseases that we do.

Mars is continuing its commitment to canine genetic science with ongoing investigations to better understand the makeup of a dog’s DNA to help benefit the lives of dogs and their owners. The Wisdom Panel MX™ mixed breed analysis test is the first product to use the knowledge gained through this research. Learn more about the Wisdom Panel and this new study at http://www.wisdompanel.com.

In Dogs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/06/080622225503.htm

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Bianca Clare | 16th March 2010

IF the wet weather and drop in temperature has you reaching for the cough syrup – you’re not alone.

Some of the pooches at Sippy Creek Animal Refuge have come down with a mild case of kennel cough.

During an infection, dogs generally keep up their normal activity level and don’t feel too sick.

However, SCARS volunteer Rosy Symons said while the four legged friends were recovering the centre had to shut its doors to the public.

“We have a responsibility to ensure kennel cough doesn’t spread,” she said.

“The dogs are safe and happy and because they have been vaccinated, they only have mild symptoms.

“In the meantime donations of sheets, towels, blankets and dry food, pasta and rice stocks would be greatly appreciated.”

Palmwoods Veterinary Clinic owner Brett Stone said dogs don’t need to be in kennels to contract kennel cough.

“It’s highly contagious and a sniff of another dog with the bug or a slurp out of its water bowl can be enough to pick it up,” he said.

“Symptoms can dry hacking and coughing, retching, sneezing and snorting.

“Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present.

“It’s not life threatening.”

Dr Stone said pet owners could vaccinate for kennel cough as early as four weeks of age.

Annual and sometimes bi-annual boosters are needed.

FACTBOX

Kennel Cough is an infection of the upper respiratory tract which results in a resultant hacking cough, with production of a whitish phlegm.

The cough is often worse at night, and can be exacerbated by exercise, excitement, or pulling on the collar.

Uncomplicated kennel cough will usually resolve within one to three weeks.

As with the human flu – vaccination will not prevent infection, but the presence of antibodies in your dogs system will lessen the length and severity of the disease.
Full Article here

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By Jamie Hall Mon, Mar 8 2010

Carol Mazurek from Montreal came upon the discussion I posted recently about choosing a kennel for your pet when you go away and has some wise advice to share. It’s not just about what you see when you check out these facilities, says Carol, it’s also about what you smell, and what you intuit from the animals.

Wendt Worth Corgis Napping

Wendt Worth Corgis Napping


Here’s what she has to say:

Several years ago, my husband and I owned a Golden Retriever named Ukiah. If we couldn’t find someone to dog-sit, we would board her at a kennel.

I thought I was being very diligent by interviewing the manager of the facility, getting a tour, and trying to catch a glance of the dogs that were being boarded. The manager guaranteed me that the dogs get the best of treatment, and they even get a complementary bath before returning home.

We boarded Ukiah at the facility for a week-long trip, but we had to cut our trip short by two days. I called the boarding facility to let them know we were on our way to get Ukiah. The staff member sounded very concerned because Ukiah didn’t get her bath. I told them not to worry about it because I would bathe her the next day. When they brought Ukiah to the front desk of the boarding facility, she was covered in diarrhea and acting extremely skittish. Ukiah didn’t stay there again.

I was considerably more aggressive about my inspection of the next facility. I verified that baths were not routinely given, but were an option at an extra charge. I asked to see dogs that were boarded at the kennel while they were in their dog-run (long narrow pen). I carefully inspected several dog-runs for cleanliness, suspicious odors of rotting food, urine, etc., and I looked at each dog’s posture for signs of stress such as ears and tail down, cowering in the corner, etc.

The new kennel was located next door to a veterinary clinic that could care for her in an emergency. Each time Ukiah stayed at the new kennel, I watched how she walked to the front desk. At the end of each stay, her ears and tail were up, and she had that classic dopey grin of a Golden. I believed she was getting reasonable treatment at this facility.

My recommendation is to evaluate the kennel with your nose as well as your eyes. Never have the pet bathed before your arrival. If the kennel or your pet smell bad, assume there is a problem and find a new kennel. Watch your pet as well as the pets of other customers for signs of stress when being picked up at the end of their stay.

If you can turn any of this into helpful hints for your readers, then I hope someone’s pet will benefit from it.
Click here for the article

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By Nick Allen in Los Angeles

The dispute centres on Tudor’s decision to leave almost everything to her eldest son, virtually cutting out her three other children from a £1.2 million will.

Tudor, once described as an “unconventional Martha Stewart,” was famous for living an idyllic, back-to-basics life in New England where she went barefoot, spun flax to make linen for clothes, raised Nubian goats for milk, and looked after her beloved Corgis.

She painted gentle watercolours, wove baskets, held elaborate doll weddings and marionette shows, and floated birthday cakes down the river for her children.

She illustrated books including the The Secret Garden, Little Women and Mother Goose as well as producing her own works such as Corgiville Fair and The Great Corgiville Kidnapping, which were popular all over the world, especially in Japan and Korea. Fans would take £100 tours of her home, a replica late 18th-century farmhouse.

She died at the age of 92 on June 18, 2008, following complications from a stroke, and grievances among her children are now spilling out in a probate court in Marlboro, Vermont. Her will, written in 2001, left the bulk of the estate to Seth Tudor, 67, and his son Winslow.
Click here to continue reading the full article

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By Pete Wedderburn Last updated: March 15th, 2010

Yogi, the magnificent Hungarian Vizsla who won “Best in Show” at Crufts yesterday, had been recognised as a prize-winner since his arrival in the UK in the summer of 2005. During the following four years, he produced 827 descendants – 517 (1st generation), 299 (2nd generation) and 11 (3rd generation). In the same period a total of 4977 Vizsla puppies were registered. This means that Yogi sired more than 10 per cent of the newly registered Hungarian Vizslas in the country. His story provides a good example of the way that over-use of the “best dogs” in the pedigree world can end up contributing to a narrow genetic pool, with an increased potential for inherited disease.

In fact, the Hungarian Vizsla Club is deeply committed to tackling these types of problems. The club takes a serious and responsible stance, recently expelling a member for breaking their code of best practice and even writing to non-club members if they spot that someone has bred a dog under-age or bred from a bitch on consecutive seasons. Such dedication to the health of the breed is admirable, and if other breed societies had the same attitude, the health of the nation’s dogs would dramatically improve. The rapid turnover of generations in the dog world means that changes can happen surprisingly quickly.

The Crufts dog show is over for another year, but the heated debate about breeding pedigree dogs is showing no sign of going away. While I was attending Crufts myself on Saturday, I met both Jemima Harrison (the producer of Pedigree Dogs Exposed) and Jeff Sampson, the Kennel Clubs Senior Canine Geneticist, so I was able to hear both sides of the discussion for myself. In the April edition of Dogs Today magazine, Jemima has written an open letter to the Kennel Club, with nine specific questions. I put these questions to Jeff, and his answers are worth repeating:
Click here to read the Q & A

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What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease ?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a catch-all term. It is used to describe many conditions with similar signs but different causes. It can be quite confusing to owners and veterinarians alike because IBD is also called, Chronic Colitis, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lymphocytic-plasmacytic Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Regional Enteritis, Granulomatous Enteritis or Spastic Bowel Syndrome depending on what symptoms predominate. Basically, any time your dogs intestine remains irritated over long periods of time, some form of IBD is present. The signs of intestinal parasites can be similar to IBD. The classification is too complicated for anyone to agree on. This always happens when several poorly understood diseases cause similar signs. If you got to this page and you are uncertain if your pet has IBD, go here.

To further confuse matters, Irritable Bowel Syndrome in dogs, a stress-caused problem in dogs with similar signs to IBD , is often confused with IBD.

Occasional intestinal and stomach disorders are very common in dogs . Most cases are caused by eating things your pet shouldn’t – like spoiled foods, spicy treats, or trashcan waste. These usually cause a big mess and then correct themselves in a matter of days. But dogs with IBD have loose stools and diarrhea day after day.

In all forms of IBD, defense cells, accumulate in the walls of your pet’s digestive system. Sometimes this occurs because the pet is consuming things that do not agree with it or shouldn’t have been eaten. But just as frequently or more so, it is just that the pet’s body defenses have gotten out of whack and are mistakenly attacking compounds in the intestine that are really not a threat to the dog.

What Happens In Inflammatory Bowel Disease

When things irritate the lining of your pet’s intestine, they cause food to move through it faster. With time, this irritation causes the lining to thicken and become inflamed. Blood and tissue cells that normally fight bacteria and other invaders, accumulate within the lining of the inflamed intestines causing cramping, pain, colic, diarrhea and distress. These fragile intestines are more likely to bleed and they allow unhealthy intestinal organisms to proliferate and displace the healthy ones. These changes also make it harder for your pet to absorb nutrients from its food. When the beginning portions of the intestine are involved, the pet may also vomit or loose its appetite. When the final portions of the intestine are involved, the stool is loose, frequent, watery and sticky with mucus. Bright blood is often present when the lower intestine is involved (colitis).

These problems can be occasional or continuous. When they are continuous, pets often loose weight. It is also common for dogs with this condition to eat or chew on unusual items (pica) and it can be difficult to decide if pica is the cause or result of the problem.

Flatulence is also a common problem and so is a dull hair coat and heavy shed. When the lower intestine or colon is inflamed, the pet may strain and defecate more frequent, mucous-covered, stools.

Some types of IBD are genetic and are associated with certain breeds. The lymphocytic/plasmacytic form is one of these. It is most common in German Shepherd and Shar Pei dogs. Basenjis have their own form of the disease called immuno-proliferative IBD. Boxers suffer from a form called histiocytic ulcerative colitis while Irish setters have a wheat gluten-sensitive form of the disease.

The second most common form of IBD is Eosinophilic IBD. It tends to be more severe than the lymphocytic form, but it often gets better when diet changes are made. Eosinophils are blood cells involved in allergies – so food allergies are a suspected cause.

What Are The Signs Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease ?

The most common complaint is persistent loose stools, straining and diarrhea leading to accidents in the house. This occurs because the intestine is moving too fast and not given time to remove enough water from the things your dog ate. Irritation of the colon and anus causes the straining. We all know what that is like.

Dogs with this problem can also vomit. Some veterinarians include conditions that cause stomach irritation and vomiting in the IBD complex. I prefer to call those conditions gastritis . When vomiting occurs with IBD, it is due to inflammation in the upper small intestine just below the stomach. It is possible for a pet to have both conditions simultaneously.

Certain things hint as to what portion of the digestive tract is most inflamed. When vomiting and infrequent, bulky loose stools and weight loss predominate, we tend to think of a problem high in the intestine. When frequent smaller stools, straining, blood or mucus-flecked stools occur, we tend to think of a problem lower down in the intestines. Most often, a bit of both is occurring but one predominates.

Dogs with the high form may run low fevers. The may also have secondary bacterial intestinal infections. In general, pets with the high form of IBD look more ill.

WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE ?

The most common form of IBD in dogs is the lymphocytic/plasmacytic form (LPIBD). This describes the type of cells that pathologists see when they examine biopsies from the pet’s intestine. Some of these cells are always there, but it is abnormal when they are found in large numbers. Since we rarely find anything present that should have drawn these cells to the area, we currently consider it similar to a false fire alarm. IBR is a common disease in humans, and physicians are just as stumped. When we find better treatments for pets, it will come through research designed to help humans with similar problems.

The second most common form of IBD is the form where pathologists see mainly eosinphils in unusually high numbers in the intestinal wall. These cases of Eosinophilic Inflammatory Bowel Disease are probably caused by food allergies. They can also be called food hypersensitivities. These are the cases where changing the protein sources in your pet’s diet helps most. Some dogs are not really allergic to food ingredients that bother them. It is their inability to digest or absorb certain nutrients (maldigestion-malabsorption) that leads to intestinal upset every time they are exposed to the ingredient(s). This is sometimes called mal-assimilation syndrome as well.

Chronic intestinal infections with bacteria, fungi or protozoa can also cause chronic diarrheas. Although pets get better when given the correct antibiotics, they often have an underlying intestinal problem that gave the organisms the opportunity to get out of control. However, salmonella and campylobacter infections can cause chronic IBD-like symptoms without underlying disease.

Granulomatous enteritis is another condition said to cause IBD in dogs. Granulomas are nodules of the body’s defense cells that accumulate around infectious organisms or foreign particles within the body. It is a specific disease in horses, but it may not represent any specific disease of dogs.

Dogs, especially older dogs, sometimes develop tumors of the intestines. When these tumors involve large segments of the intestine, they can cause symptoms similar to IBD.

To further confuse you, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not the same as Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD). IBS has many of the same symptoms. But in IBS, the intestines are hyperactive, not from irritation, but from excessive nerve stimulation. The stimulation is usually psychological and due to stress, fear or nervousness. It occurs in dogs and is similar to what occurs in humans.
Click here to find out treatments, tests, other conditions and medications for IBD

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10/26/2008 by wendtworth

By Sharon L. Peters

COLORADO SPRINGS — When Nancy Leader learned a few weeks ago the cancer she successfully fought two decades ago now has invaded her liver and is regarded as terminal, she began systematically working through her most heartfelt responsibilities..

She has spoken with her sons and grandchildren, assuring each she’s not afraid, that her faith is a cloak of comfort. While it’s still possible, she has tackled every matter she can tend to in order to reduce loose ends for her husband. And she has made arrangements for her beloved cats, Mollee and Rocky.

“They’re my cats, always have been,” she says, “and it would not be fair to my husband, who’s really not a cat person, to have to deal with them.”

Leader and the cats have met with volunteers from Safe Place, a non-profit that has found homes for more than 400 pets for terminally ill people in southern Colorado. And when Leader believes the time is right — “when I can no longer care for them” — Mollee and Rocky will be placed into a carefully selected home similar to the one they’ve always known.

“It cushions things a bit,” Leader says, knowing the cats will be loved after she’s gone.

Non-profit programs such as Safe Place are quietly sprouting all over the country to ensure that critically or terminally ill people have one less stressor.

“Most people regard their pets as an important part of the family,” says Safe Place founder Joanne Bonicelli. “The peace of mind of knowing that this animal will be cared for is very significant.”

Some ill people have few relationships and therefore no alternative-care option for their animals; for various reasons, sometimes even those with many friends and relatives can’t place their cat or dog with them when the time comes, Bonicelli says.

People who ask for Safe Place assistance, which is provided without charge, dictate the timing of pet relinquishment. Some, particularly those who have been in declining health and haven’t been able to give proper care and attention to their animals, turn them over months before the final days arrive. Others keep their pets with them until hours before they die.

Peace of mind goes a long way

Although the group puts adopters through rigorous screening, it has never been unable to find a pet a home after temporary placement with a foster-care volunteer.

“We place animals with the same tenacity we would employ if we were placing children,” Bonicelli says. “Our mission brings a different kind of adopter forward. Many people, we’ve discovered, want to provide homes for pets of the terminally ill. It’s almost a public service for them.”

In Tulsa, the Pet Peace of Mind program of Hospice of Green Country provides a range of services to its clients, from transportation to and payment for vet care or grooming to buying food, medication or cat litter.

“We do the part or parts the hospice clients can’t do. Sometimes that’s a little, and sometimes that’s a lot,” says veterinarian-turned-hospice chaplain Delana Taylor McNac, who started the program in July with money from an anonymous donor.

“We’ve had people weep for what we can do. Sometimes the only one who’s rallied around the person during illness is the pet.”

All too often, she says, terminally ill patients give up their pets because they can’t afford pet food or vet care, and in many cases, this has “triggered a rapid decline” in people. Conversely, when they can keep their animals and the stress of paying for decent pet food or medications has been removed, “they are more content, more at ease with the process they are going through.”

Most of the 50 Pet Peace of Mind clients already have made arrangements with friends or family to take their pets after they die. When they haven’t, Taylor McNac works with local rescue groups to find homes, “and they say this is a great comfort to them.”

“Many patients aren’t afraid to die,” Bonicelli says. “They’re afraid of unfinished business, and the care after they’re gone of their pets can be a very large piece of unfinished business.”

Food and vet care also needed

Some of the growing number of pet-care non-profits serve not only the terminally ill but also those on low incomes who are disabled, chronically ill, HIV/AIDS symptomatic or elderly. P.A.L.S. (Pets Are Loving Support) Atlanta is one of them.

“When people become ill or disabled or homebound for any reason, the animal is sometimes the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning,” says Kevin Bryant, P.A.L.S. Atlanta operation director.

The group delivers free pet food and cat litter and pays for annual vet visit and shots. The assistance often is the tipping point that allows a person to keep a pet, Bryant says. In many cases, it gives people who were skipping meals or medicine to feed their animals the little boost necessary to take better care of themselves.

Bryant tells of one elderly client who used to pass up doctor visits to feed her beloved dachshund mix. Now she gets regular dog food deliveries. “It’s like you’re breathing air into her lungs when you arrive with that food. That little extra support makes a world of difference to her life.”

PETS PROVIDE MUCH COMFORT

Wendt Worth Corgis Goes To School

Wendt Worth Corgis visits local kids at school to teach responsible ownership and the joys of owning a dog.


Scores of studies have shown physical and emotional benefits come to ill or aging people who have contact with animals. Experts cite several, including:

• Petting a dog has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

• Pets in nursing homes boost moods, heighten alertness and enhance social interactions.

• Dog owners require less medical care for stress-related aches and pains than people without dogs.

• Heart patients owning pets are significantly more likely to be alive a year after hospital discharge than those without pets.

• Ill people with regular animal contact report fewer feelings of isolation.
USA Today article click here

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