Tag Archives: Irish Wolfhound

Treating heart disorders in dogs

A novel therapy tested by University of Guelph scientists for treating a fatal heart disorder in dogs might ultimately help in diagnosing and treating heart disease in humans.

Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) professors Glen Pyle and Lynne O’Sullivan have also identified potential causes of inherited dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or “weak heart.”

The groundbreaking study was published this month in the American Journal of Physiology.

Cardiology exam

“The cardiovascular systems of dogs and people are very similar,” said Pyle, a professor in OVC’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and a member of U of G’s Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations.

“It allows us to do comparative investigations that can advance understanding of this fatal condition.”

In both dogs and people with DCM, the weakened heart muscle becomes unable to pump blood around the body. The cause of the problem is often unknown, although it’s common to involve genetics.

Researchers suspect malfunctioning muscle proteins cause the heart to weaken, allowing it to dilate like an overfilled balloon.

DCM is the second leading cause of heart failure in dogs, and it’s especially common in large breeds. Dogs typically show no symptoms until the disease is well-advanced.

The condition is often inherited; up to 60 per cent of Doberman Pinschers are affected during their lifetime.  Other breeds such as Irish wolfhounds and Great Danes also have high rates.

In people, 30 to 50 per cent of DCM cases are hereditary.

The end result of DCM is congestive heart failure. While medical advances have reduced deaths from congestive heart failure by 40 per cent in the past decade, the condition still afflicts hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and the five-year mortality rate remains high.

Aging populations worldwide are likely to cause dramatic increases in the rate of heart failure in the upcoming decades, Pyle said.

“The cause of a substantial percentage of DCM cases remains unknown,” he said.  “This is why it’s urgent to develop novel agents that can improve heart function.”

For the study, Pyle and O’Sullivan, a clinical cardiologist in OVC’s Health Sciences Centre, worked with researchers at the University of Washington to test a novel therapy in diseased heart cells.

 The therapy involves introducing a molecule involved in muscle contraction. In heart cells from dogs with DCM, it restored normal function. The next step is developing a gene therapy that would allow the molecule to be produced in heart muscle cells in patients with DCM.

“This suggests it’s a promising therapeutic approach worth further investigating for the treatment of DCM,” said O’Sullivan. One of 10 board-certified veterinary cardiologists in Canada, she runs OVC’s Doberman DCM screening program.

The researchers also discovered some problems in the heart muscle that likely contribute to DCM.  “This may shed light on the mechanical impairment in failing hearts,” Pyle said.

The Guelph scientists are also working with researchers in Finland on DCM genetics and proteins. That work might lead to development of therapies for targeting specific proteins, said Pyle.

Both researchers belong to U of G’s Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations, one of a few centres worldwide studying heart disease from single molecules to clinical applications.

Source:  University of Guelph media release

The Duchess and the Wolfhound

This week, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Irish Guards to present sprigs of shamrocks to the regiment’s members. That included Domhnall, the Guards’ mascot. Domhnall is an Irish Wolfhound (how appropriate!)

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Risk factors for bone cancer in dogs

Bone cancer in dogs is affected by a variety of genetic risk factors, researchers from Uppsala University and the Broad Institute have found.  They’ve published their results in the journal Genome Biology.
Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, is similar in humans and dogs – although in dogs it is more common.  In the current study, the researchers compared the genome of sick and healthy dogs from three different breeds to find inherited risk factors for the disease.

“The key is that we find many different risk factors within each breed. We already knew that Greyhounds, Rottweilers and Irish wolfhounds are at increased risk of developing bone cancer and our results explain much of the increased risk”, said Emma Ivansson, scientist at SciLifeLab and Uppsala University.

Irish Wolfhound

The study demonstrated that each breed has its own risk genes, but these genes converge in common disease mechanisms.

“Our results show that the pathways involved in bone formation and growth are important for the disease. Because of the great similarities between bone cancer in dogs and humans, we believe that our findings may contribute to an increased understanding of how bone cancer develops in humans”, said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, professor at Uppsala University and Co-Director of the SciLifeLab and Director of Vertebrate Genome Biology at the Broad Institute.
The researchers are continuing to study the identified risk factors to understand more about how they affect tumor development and to see whether different risk factors respond to different types of treatment.
The researchers are continuing to study the identified risk factors to understand more about how they affect tumor development and to see whether different risk factors respond to different types of treatment. – See more at: http://www.uu.se/en/media/news/article/?id=3103&area=2,10,16&typ=artikel&na=&lang=en#sthash.H1aUoBA8.dpuf

Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, is a rare but very aggressive form of cancer that primarily affects teenagers. Among some large-sized dog breeds the disease is much more common, but otherwise osteosarcoma in humans and dogs is very similar. In the current study, the researchers compared the genome of sick and healthy dogs from three different breeds to find inherited risk factors for the disease.

“The key is that we find many different risk factors within each breed. We already knew that greyhounds, Rottweilers and Irish wolfhounds are at increased risk of developing bone cancer and our results explain much of the increased risk”, said Emma Ivansson, scientist at SciLifeLab and Uppsala University.

The study demonstrated that each breed has its own risk genes, but these genes converge in common disease mechanisms

– See more at: http://www.uu.se/en/media/news/article/?id=3103&area=2,10,16&typ=artikel&na=&lang=en#sthash.H1aUoBA8.dpuf

Bone cancer in dogs is affected by a variety of genetic risk factors. Researchers from Uppsala University and the Broad Institute show this in a new study published in Genome Biology. – See more at: http://www.uu.se/en/media/news/article/?id=3103&area=2,10,16&typ=artikel&na=&lang=en#sthash.H1aUoBA8.dpuf

St Pawtrick’s Day

Does your dog celebrate St Patrick’s Day (a.k.a. St Pawtrick’s Day)?

St Patrick's dog

Most dogs don’t really enjoy being dressed in costume.  However, there are breeds that have Irish roots.  Let’s honor these breeds on St Patrick’s Day and simply include our dogs in the celebrations rather than dressing them up!

Grab a Guinness and let’s toast:

The Irish Setter, pictured here are Daisy Sheridan and family at her birthday in 2010

The Irish Setter, pictured here are Daisy Sheridan and family at her birthday in 2010

Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier

The Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound

The Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier

The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier

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

Hip dysplasia – it’s not just genetics

Doctoral research by Randi I. Krontveit at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science has revealed that environmental factors play a larger role in the development of hip dysplasia than previously thought.

The critical period is from birth to the age of three months.  Activities such as walking up steps on a daily basis during this critical period increased the risk of developing hip dyplasia.

The study group consisted of 500 dogs in four breeds:  the Labrador Retriever, the Newfoundland, the Leonberger and the Irish Wolfhound.

Randi I. Krontveit with two of her study subjects. Photo courtesy of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Medicine

Environmental factors were assessed by questionnaires filled out by breeders and owners alongside examinations by veterinarians.  Dogs were followed for a period of ten years, making the findings of the study particularly robust.

Puppies born in the spring or summer and at breeders’ who lived on a farm or small holding had a lower risk of developing hip dysplasia.  After about eight weeks, the puppies began to live with their new owners. The opportunity to exercise daily in parks up until the age of three months reduced the risk of hip dysplasia.

Overall, it would appear that daily exercise out in gently undulating terrain up until the age of three months has a positive impact when it comes to preventing the disease.

For more information about this research, you can email Dr Krontveit via this page at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Medicine.

Huge dog to get hero medal after quake work

Congratulations to Guiness, the Irish Wolfhound!

Read the full story here.