Tag Archives: beagles

Dogs could be more similar to humans than we thought

Dog and human gut microbiomes have more similar genes and responses to diet than we previously thought, according to a study published in the open access journal, Microbiome.

Canine Microbiome

The canine microbiome is quite similar to that of humans. Credit: © Kar Tr / Fotolia

Dr Luis Pedro Coelho and colleagues from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, in collaboration with Nestlé Research, evaluated the gut microbiome of two dog breeds and found that the gene content of the dogs microbiome showed many similarities to the human gut microbiome, and was more similar to humans than the microbiome of pigs or mice.

Dr Luis Pedro Coelho, corresponding author of the study, commented: “We found many similarities between the gene content of the human and dog gut microbiomes. The results of this comparison suggest that we are more similar to man’s best friend than we originally thought.”

The researchers found that changes in the amount of protein and carbohydrates in the diet had a similar effect on the microbiota of dogs and humans, independent of the dog’s breed or sex. The microbiomes of overweight or obese dogs were found to be more responsive to a high protein diet compared to microbiomes of lean dogs; this is consistent with the idea that healthy microbiomes are more resilient.

Dr Luis Pedro Coelho, commented: “These findings suggest that dogs could be a better model for nutrition studies than pigs or mice and we could potentially use data from dogs to study the impact of diet on gut microbiota in humans, and humans could be a good model to study the nutrition of dogs.

“Many people who have pets consider them as part of the family and like humans, dogs have a growing obesity problem. Therefore, it is important to study the implications of different diets.”

The researchers investigated how diet interacted with the dog gut microbiome with a randomized controlled trial using a sample of 64 dogs, half of which were beagles and half were retrievers, with equal numbers of lean and overweight dogs. The dogs were all fed the same base diet of commercially available dog food for four weeks then they were randomized into two groups; one group consumed a high protein, low carb diet and the other group consumed a high carb, low protein diet for four weeks. A total of 129 dog stool samples were collected at four and eight weeks. The researchers then extracted DNA from these samples to create the dog gut microbiome gene catalogue containing 1,247,405 genes. The dog gut gene catalogue was compared to existing gut microbiome gene catalogues from humans, mice and pigs to assess the similarities in gene content and how the gut microbiome responds to changes in diet.

The authors caution that while humans and dogs host very similar microbes, they are not exactly the same microbes, but very closely related strains of the same species.

Source:  Science Daily

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The Peanuts Movie

Opening next month, Snoopy is coming to the big screen!

I like the look of the animations in this trailer; Snoopy and Woodstock look like the cartoons that I remember which were originally drawn by the late Charles M Schulz.

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

Testing on animals for a legal high

Across all major cities in New Zealand this week, people and their dogs marched in protest of the Psychoactive Substances Act.  This Act has come into effect to regulate ‘designer drugs’ or ‘legal highs’ to protect the safety of people who choose to take such drugs.

The Act allows for animal testing ‘when there is no alternative’ because the New Zealand MPs who voted for it refused to ban animal testing altogether.

A billboard by SAFE in Wellington

A billboard by SAFE in Wellington

Many New Zealanders signed a petition to Government to oppose animal testing for something as frivolous as ‘getting high.’  The Ministers of Parliament didn’t heed those views when voting on the new law.  Green MP Mojo Mathers has a members bill proposed to remove animal testing as an option – but there are no guarantees that it will be chosen from the ballot to move through the law-making process.

This isn’t about therapeutic drugs – this is about getting your jollies artificially and wanting assurances that you are safe because the products have been tested on animals.

I live in New Zealand, and I’m pretty saddened by the lack of leadership shown by the New Zealand Government.  What do you think?  Would you buy New Zealand made products or plan a trip here knowing that dogs and other animals may die for the legal high industry?

Not a good look, New Zealand.  For shame!

Developing methods in pain management and osteoarthritis

Researchers at Kansas State University are devoting their time to the study of improvements in pain management and the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs.   (For more information on pain management, see my June 2012 blog)

The projects are led by James Roush, a professor of clinical sciences.

In one study, the research team determined that the maximum effective time for using hot and cold packs for pain management is 10 minutes.   The researchers studied how packing affects tissue temperature in beagles and beagle-sized dogs after surgery because hot and cold packing is a common technique for reducing swelling.   After 10 minutes, the maximum change in tissue temperature has been reached.

In another study, a special mat is being used to study lameness in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.  When dogs step on the mat, it measures the pressure in their step and the study team can determine in which leg the lameness is worse.

“We’ve designed the study to help improve osteoarthritis treatment,” Roush said. “We will also use it to measure clinical patients when they come in for regular checkups. We can measure their recovery and a variety of other aspects: how they respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, how they respond to narcotics or how they respond to a surgical procedure that is designed to take that pressure off the joint.”

And in a third study,  Roush is collaborating with researchers to study the effectiveness of a painkiller used to treat dogs to identify potential alternatives.

“To achieve the drug’s effect, the dosage in dogs is much higher than in people,” Roush said. “It also may not be a very good analgesic in dogs. We want to see if there is an alternative that requires smaller doses and does not have not as much of a discrepancy for patients.”

Source:  Kansas State University media release

Forty rescued lab beagles on their way to a better life

Read more here:

Forty Rescued Lab Beagles Have Much to Be Thankful For.