Tag Archives: CNN

If you are planning a trip to Italy this year…

….make sure you ask about the ferry companies working in the Gulf of Naples and don’t give your business to the company who refused to look for a puppy who fell overboard in freezing waters.

Noodles (photo from RYCC Savoia Yacht Club Facebook page)

Noodles (photo from RYCC Savoia Yacht Club Facebook page)

In late October Noodles, a Labrador puppy, was being taken to his new home with his owner on board a ferry in the Gulf of Naples.  Noodles slipped his leash and fell overboard.  The employees aboard the ferry refused to stop and look for the puppy explaining that he would be dead…

…and then along came a yacht from the RYCC Savoia Yacht Club.  And little Noodles paddled his heart out to get to them and was saved.

Noodles, shortly after rescue (photo by RYCC Savoia Yacht Club)

Noodles, shortly after rescue (photo by RYCC Savoia Yacht Club)

Noodles was reunited with his owners and has had his 5 minutes of fame.

I haven’t been able to find a reference to the ferry company by name, but certainly dog lovers should give their business elsewhere – to companies who would stop for a little lost puppy.

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

The Ark at JFK

Under construction at New York’s JFK International Airport is the world’s first all-animal airport terminal.

The facility, which will measure 178,000 square feet and cost $48 million, will be called The Ark at JFK.  Its developer, ARK Development, says the facility “has been conceived as the world’s only privately owned animal terminal and USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour,  airport quarantine facility for import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock.”

The terminal will be home to a 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws pet resort featuring a bone-shaped dog pool, pet suites with a flat-screen TV option, massage therapy and a jungle gym for cats.

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

For dogs and other pets on long-haul journeys, this facility promises to offer the highest standard in care.  Can’t wait to see it – it should be open in 2016.

Source:  CNN

The genetics behind cleft lip and palate in dogs

Scientists studying birth defects in humans and purebred dogs have identified an association between cleft lip and cleft palate – conditions that occur when the lip and mouth fail to form properly during pregnancy – and a mutation in the ADAMTS20 gene.

“These results have potential implications for both human and animal health, by improving our understanding of what causes these birth defects in both species,” said Zena Wolf, BS, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Lentil, a French Bulldog born with cleft lip and palate.  Photo by CNN.  Read more about Lentil's story here

Lentil, a French Bulldog born with cleft lip and palate. Photo by CNN. Read more about Lentil’s story here

In both humans and dogs, cleft lip and cleft palate occur naturally with varying degrees of severity, and can be caused by various genetic and environmental factors. Since purebred dogs breed only with each other, there is less genetic variation to consider, making cleft lip and cleft palate easier to understand in these populations, Ms. Wolf explained.

From previous studies, the researchers knew that a mutation in the dog genes DLX5 and DLX6, which are involved in face and skull development, explained 12 of 22 cases of cleft palate. However, a mutation in the corresponding human genes accounted for just one of 30 cases in the study sample.

To search for additional genes that may be involved, Ms. Wolf and colleagues performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS), a study that compares the genomes of dogs with cleft lip and cleft palate to those of dogs without it. They found that the conditions were associated with a mutation in the gene ADAMTS20 that caused the protein it encodes to be shortened by 75 percent. Previous studies had shown that ADAMTS20 is involved in the development and shaping of the palate, but no specific mutations that occur in nature had been identified. A similar GWAS in people with cleft lip and cleft palate suggested that mutations in the human version of the ADAMTS20 gene may also increase the risk of these conditions.

“Cleft lip and cleft palate are complex conditions in people, and the canine model offers a simpler approach to study them,” Ms. Wolf said. “Not only does this research help people, but it helps dogs, too,” she added.

Future directions include searching for additional genes that may be associated with cleft lip and cleft palate, and extending the research to other breeds of dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers and Whippets.

Source:  The American Society of Human Genetics press release


CSI – dog style?

Pooprints, based in Tennessee (USA), is offering DNA testing of a different kind.  It is not about testing your mixed breed dog to find out their lineage, it’s about DNA testing of dog poo!

The number of subdivisions, condominium-style accommodation developments, and apartment complexes is on the rise in the US.  This is a result of a ‘downsizing’ of accommodation because of the economic recession as well as growth in population centres where work is available, but cost of living and commuting times are also an issue.  In these types of developments, there are dog owners living alongside non-dog owners.  And poop is  a problem.

(For my New Zealand readers, read my Last Word column in the March 2011 issue of NZ Dog World magazine.  In that column, I discussed the looming liability of infill housing, population growth,  and the growing problem of dog owners who do not clean up after their dog.)

The company’s service is rather straightforward.  First, a residential community decides to start a dog DNA testing programme.  Usually, this test is mandatory as part of signing up to live there. A mouth swab is taken of your dog and sent for  DNA testing and the results are entered into that site’s database.

Then, a site manager is probably responsible for poop patrol in your community.  They take samples of poop that has not been cleaned up and send the samples for DNA testing (because epithelial cells in the wall of the intestine are excreted every time a dog defecates).   The site manager will be given a report about the dog/owner match in order for followup to occur.

Communities will have rules about the number of infringements required for that person to be fined, or worse, kicked out of their residence.

It may sound ‘over the top’ but it is a symptom of how strongly some people feel about poop that is not cleaned up.

CNN covered the story of one residential development in New Hampshire that has signed up to use the Pooprints system.  Read about it here.