Tag Archives: boston terrier

Bulldogs’ Screw Tails Linked to Human Genetic Disease

With their small size, stubby faces and wide-set eyes, bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers are among the most popular of domestic dog breeds. Now researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine have found the genetic basis for these dogs’ appearance, and linked it to a rare inherited syndrome in humans.

bulldog

Moxie, a 3-year-old French bulldog, took part in a study of the genetics of “screwtail” dog breeds (bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers). A common mutation in these dogs is similar to genetic changes in a rare human disease, Robinow syndrome. (Photo credit: Katy Robertson)

Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers aren’t the only dogs with short, wide heads, but they do share another feature not found in other breeds: a short, kinked tail or “screwtail,” said Professor Danika Bannasch, Department of Population Health and Reproduction in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. These three breeds all lack the vertebrae that make up the tail bone, she said.

The researchers sequenced the whole genome — the entire DNA sequence — of 100 dogs, including 10 from screwtail breeds. All the participating dogs were privately owned pets seen at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, whose owners agreed to participate. Graduate students Tamer Mansour and Katherine Lucot, with C. Titus Brown, associate professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Genome Center, searched through the DNA sequences to find changes associated with screwtail breeds.

From more than 12 million individual differences they were able to identify one mutation, in a gene called DISHEVELLED 2 or DVL2. This variant was found in 100 percent of the bulldogs and French bulldogs sampled, and was very common in Boston terriers.

This kind of whole genome comparison is relatively new, Bannasch said.

“Normally, we would have first had to identify a region DNA and work from there,” she said. “We could look at breed-specific traits, but not as well as we can now.”

Professor Henry Ho at the UC Davis School of Medicine studies similar genes in humans. Mutations in the related DVL1 and DVL3 genes are known to cause Robinow syndrome, a rare inherited disorder in humans characterized by strikingly similar anatomical changes — a short, wide “babyface,” short limbs and spinal deformities. In addition, Robinow patients and the screwtail breeds also share other disease traits, such as cleft palate. In both humans and dogs, DVL genes are part of a signaling pathway called WNT involved in development of the skeleton and nervous system, among other things, said Peter Dickinson, professor of surgical and radiological sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine. By characterizing the screwtail DVL2 protein product, Sara Konopelski, a graduate student in the Ho lab, pinpointed a key biochemical step in the WNT pathway that is disrupted by the mutation. This finding further suggests that a common molecular defect is responsible for the distinct appearances of both Robinow patients and screwtail dog breeds.

The DVL2 screwtail mutation is so common in these breeds, and so closely tied to the breed appearance, that it would be difficult to remove it by breeding, Dickinson said. Other genes are known to contribute to short, wide “brachycephalic” heads in dogs, and there are likely multiple genes that contribute both to appearance and to chronic health problems in these breeds.

Understanding a common mutation in popular dog breeds may, however, give more insight into the rare Robinow syndrome in humans. Only a few hundred cases have been documented since the syndrome was identified in 1969.

“It’s a very rare human disease but very common in dogs, so that could be a model for the human syndrome,” Bannasch said.

Source:  UC Davis media release

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Pet friendly senior living

TigerPlace is a retirement community that helps residents care for their pets as both age.

Located in Colombia, Missouri, this retirement community offers one-floor living to make it easy for owners and pets to enjoy the outdoors.  And there’s on-site veterinary care!Senior gentleman and dog sitting on ground and posing in a park

Described as “pet encouraging” as opposed to “pet tolerating”, this facility even offers dog walkers for older residents who are finding it difficult to give their dog the exercise it needs.

This article in the Missourian gives greater insight into the facility and its value to its residents.  This includes following 90-year old Elizabeth Kennedy who lives at TigerPlace with her 12-year old Boston Terrier, Dolly.

The article mentions a growing trend for retirement communities to offer pet care and the  recognition and evidence that pets keep us living longer, more active, and happier lives.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Tell me where it hurts

Tell me where it hurts
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr Nick Trout.  Appropriately subtitled “A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon,”  this book tells the story of one very long day in Dr Trout’s professional life.  As the day unfolds, a range of human-animal stories are revealed with wit and compassion.

The book opens in the wee hours of the morning with the story of Sage,  a German Shepherd who requires emergency surgery on her stomach.  We later meet her devoted elderly owner whose daughter isn’t so impressed with Dr Trout’s efforts to save ‘just a dog.’

There’s also the owner of Belle who, as a demonstration of how much the dog means to him, has legally changed his middle name to Belle.  (You read that right, a man with the middle name of Belle.)

This book reads a little like the veterinary version of ER, since the Angell Memorial Animal Center where Trout works is a teaching hospital.  If you liked the television show ER and you love animals, you’ll like this book.

Appropriately, the cover of the book features a Boston Terrier.  The Angell Memorial Animal Center is located in Boston.

To Boston, with love

For all our friends and family in Boston, this Boston Terrier is for you – we are thinking of you and join you  in your grief.

boston-terrier-dogs

State dogs

In the United States, individual states nominate an animal to be their official mascot.  In ten of the states, this animal is a breed of dog:

State

Breed

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
Maryland Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Massachusetts Boston Terrier
New Hampshire Chinook
North Carolina Plott Hound
Pennsylvania Great Dane
South Carolina Boykin Spaniel
Texas Blue Lacy
Virginia American Foxhound
Wisconsin American Water Spaniel

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