Tag Archives: Akita

Two new genes dis­covered in the de­vel­op­men­tal de­fects of can­ine enamel

In addition to humans, hereditary disorders of enamel development occur in dogs, greatly impacting their dental health and wellbeing. A recent study reveals canine enamel disorders similar to those found in humans, linking them with ENAM and ACP4, two genes previously described in humans.
Dog tooth enamel study

New variants in the ENAM gene that codes enamelin were discovered in Parson Russell Terriers

The enamel that covers teeth is the hardest structure in the entire body. Its development is a complex process, and related developmental disorders may result in low enamel quantity, its absence or structural weakness. Alongside aesthetic issues, enamel defects have an impact on dental health and general wellbeing. Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) is a group of hereditary developmental disorders affecting enamel, with more than ten associated genes reported in humans.

AI causes a significant wellbeing problem for dogs as well, yet the diseases, poorly known in canine medicine, often remain undiagnosed. Canine AI has earlier been linked with the ENAM and SLC24A4 genes in two breeds. In a recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, two novel recessively inherited enamel disorders were described in dogs, and associated with causative variants in ENAM and ACP4. The identified genes have previously been linked with hereditary enamel development defects also in humans.

“We have observed enamel defects in several breeds. In this study, we found new gene variants in the ENAM gene of Parson Russell Terriers and the ACP4 gene of Akitas and American Akitas. The ACP4 finding was of particular interest, as its role in the development of tooth enamel is not well known, and there are no previous descriptions for any animal models,” says Marjo Hytönen, PhD, the first author of the study.

ENAM codes for enamelin, the key enamel protein, and is significant for achieving the correct enamel thickness during tooth development. A considerable part of human AI disorders are associated with mutations in the ENAM gene, whereas ACP4 codes for the phosphatase enzyme, whose specific significance to tooth and enamel development is currently unclear, but which may influence cellular differentiation and mineralisation. Dogs with an ACP4 mutation expressed thinning of the enamel and a slight mineralisation disorder.

Unlike mice, dogs have primary and permanent teeth just as humans, and the number of teeth is also similar. Therefore, dogs serve as an excellent model for human dental diseases.

“The spontaneous enamel defects found in this study resemble earlier descriptions of human patients, and are also linked with the same genes. Through gene tests, the gene findings will provide new diagnostic tools for veterinarians and breeders, which will also help with understanding the causes, mechanisms and hereditary nature of enamel defects. This is important for the development of early and improved therapies,” explains Professor Hannes Lohi, director of the research group.

Earlier, the group discovered a mutation in the FAM20C gene, impacting tooth hypomineralisation. Gene mapping will continue on various dental diseases in different breeds, including a publication which is currently being prepared on an unknown AI gene.

 

Source:  University of Helsinki media release

 

Advertisements

Hachi: a tale of loyalty for the holidays

One of the good things about the Christmas holidays is that there are more family-friendly movies on television.  Last night, I was able to watch Hachi:  A Dog’s Tale for the first time.

This movie, starring Richard Gere, was released in 2009 but didn’t make it to movie theaters in many countries including the USA, as I understand it.

Hachi_poster

Gere plays a professor who finds Hachi, the Akita pup, on the train platform one night.   The puppy had been in transit to an unknown location and the tag was torn off his cage.

There is an instant attraction, and Gere’s wife comes around to the fact that the dog and her husband are good for one another.  Hachi begins to follow the professor to the train station each day, returning in the late afternoon to meet him for the return trip home.  When the professor dies suddenly at work one day from a heart attack, Hachi continues his daily trips to the train station.

The loyal dog does this every day for over 10 years, and in the process becomes something of a local celebrity.

At the end of the film, we learn that the real Hachikō was born in Ōdate (Japan) in 1923. After the death of his professor/owner in 1925, Hachikō returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years before passing away in March 1934.   His loyalty has been commemorated with a statue at the station.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it for hiring on DVD.

And wherever you are these holidays, I hope that you are enjoying the company and loyalty of your dogs.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

Dog-friendly Las Vegas

The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is pet-friendly.  Through discount site Coupaw, it is currently offering a 3-day/2-night stay for 2 adults at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $30.  The voucher for this deal includes a Las Vegas BITE card which provides the cardholder with other excellent deals on a wide array of food and entertainment throughout Las Vegas.

Riviera Hotel

As with many pet-friendly hotels, there are restrictions including breed specific ones 😦

The fine print says:

2 Dog maximum – $25 additional fee – per dog/per night. Pet fees are paid directly to the Riviera Hotel. All pet arrangements must be made directly with the Riviera Hotel. Pet friendly rooms are located in classic room types – San Remo tower. Dogs cannot exceed 50 lbs. Dog Owner must provide proof of current vaccinations including exhibiting current rabies tag on check in. Dogs that are excluded to stay in pet friendly rooms include but are not limited to: Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Chows, Doberman Pinschers, English Bull, Terriers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, Pit Bulls, Presa, Canaries, Rottweiler, or any dog with a bite history. Coupaw is not responsible for the Riviera hotel refusing to accommodate specific dogs for any reason.

A university where your dog can come too

It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere and the time of year when students are going to colleges and universities for the first time.   If they are enrolled at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – there’s a high chance that their dog can come too!

Searcy Hall at the college is better known as Pet Central and houses 40 students and their pets.  Pets have been accepted at the college since 2004.  The college also has a pet fostering program.  They’ve partnered with a local no-kill shelter and students can foster a dog during their time at college and train and socialise them in preparation for adoption.

A scholarship, room discount, paid food and medications, and pet deposit waiver are just a few of the benefits available to freshmen and transfer students who apply to participate in the pet fostering program.

Sadly,  the college’s insurance policy excludes these breeds from staying at Pet Central:  Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Chow, Akita and German Shepherd.  I’m not a supporter of breed-specific legislation and so it’s hard to accept these types of restrictions but that’s the influence of the underwriters, unfortunately.