All posts tagged: waggywalkys

Why are Irish Setters so red? Geneticists at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine now have an answer for why some dogs have more intense coat colors than others.

While their wolf ancestors are muted in color, domestic dogs have been bred into a variety of hues from white and golden through brown to black. Similarly to other mammals, canine coat color comes from two pigments: yellow (pheomelanin) and black (eumelanin). These pigments are controlled through pigment-switching genes MC1R (melanocortin 1 receptor) and agouti signaling protein (ASIP). For example, solid yellow or red dogs have a mutation in MC1R so they only make pheomelanin.

Dog’s Name and Age: Buttercup, 3 years

Nicknames: Houdini gets used often—she is an escape artist!

Adoption Story: Buttercup was seen roaming and scavenging in trash cans around the city for about a week—dodging traffic and humans who tried to catch her. Someone told my husband about her, so he set off to find her. Once he caught up with her, it was love at first sight. Of course, we had her scanned and we made posters and all the rest, but when no one claimed her… we decided to keep her with us (despite already having 10 dogs at the time!) We have a lot of land next to Mark Twain National Forest in Southwest Missouri, and since we are ex-zookeepers who do a lot of wildlife rehab as well as rescuing, it seemed natural to bring her into the fold. We had another Beagle mix named Flower, so when we rescued Buttercup, we thought it would be nice to keep the floral trend going.

Any dog guardian who truly understands their canine companion knows that these animals are the most selfless and amazing creatures. Dogs routinely put their person’s wishes above their own needs. It’s this desire to please that is best demonstrated in the sport of agility where dogs are guided through a dog obstacle course such as jumps and weave poles in a particular order within an allotted timeframe.

Dogs inherently want to please and agility training allows them to connect with their handlers at deeper level. Once a well-trained dog completes an obstacle, his/her head will turn to see where her owner is directing them next. Of course, there are many ways to bond with your dog, but the depth of communication between dog and handler in this team sport is remarkable.

New findings challenge popular views of estrogen’s role in cancer risk.

Dogs that are spayed at a young age have a reduced risk of developing mammary tumors, the canine equivalent of breast cancer. Early spaying reduces levels of estrogen production, leading many veterinarians and scientists to cast estrogen in a negative light when it comes to mammary cancer.

But the effects of estrogen on cancer risk in dogs aren’t straightforward, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine . While it’s clear that spaying dogs greatly minimizes their risk of developing mammary cancer, the findings suggest that the practice may increase the risk of more aggressive cancers. And in spayed animals with mammary tumors, the team found that higher serum estrogen levels were actually protective, associated with longer times to metastasis and improved survival times.

Help! How to do I train my dog to not whine in the car?
The Bark’s advice columnist Karen B. London answers readers’ questions about canine behavior. Got a question? Email askbark@thebark.com
Dear Bark: The local dog park is a short drive from my house, and I usually take my dog there before doing other errands. She sits right behind me in the the back seat, and within a few minutes of leaving the house, she starts whining and pacing in anticipation, which is not only distracting, it’s also irksome. Can a dog be trained out of these behaviors? What’s the best way to deal with back-seat dog whining on the way to the dog park?

It’s wonderful that you’re taking your dog somewhere that makes her so happy! Of course, her excitement about going has its downside, which is her behavior in the car on the drive there. But there are ways to help make the ride better.

Canines and humans sense quantity in similar regions of the brain

Researchers have found yet another way that humans and dogs are of one mind. This time, the subject of the similarity is how they process concepts of quantity—an important ability for many animals. Knowing roughly how many predators are approaching or how many food items are available for foraging has survival advantages. So, it is little wonder many animals have a basic sensitivity to quantity, and there is a term for it—numerosity.

To address canine numerosity, Lauren Aulet, a graduate student at Emory University working with Gregory Berns, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study dogs’ brains while they viewed various quantities of dots. The area of the dot array was always the same, but the number of dots within it varied. The dogs in the study have been trained to sit still during the fMRI. They passively watched various groups of dots as they were flashed on a screen.

New trends in animal care

Good news! In many parts of the country, animal shelters are morphing into places that are able to do more to benefit the communities they serve. The days when abandoned companion animals were simply housed, fed and kept out of harm’s way while awaiting adoption are becoming a thing of the past, as evidenced by several developing trends.

IMPROVED EXPERIENCES.

Shelters are far more animal-centric than ever before. The best of them have evolved into community centers focused on animal welfare— vibrant places devoted to training, behavior modification, research, community interaction, educational programs and a specialized branch of veterinary medicine. Piped-in music, rotating sensory stimulation, manners training, play groups, enrichment, more comfortable bedding, more activities, better spaces: shelters are working to improve life for the animals in every way and at every stage of the experience.

Dog’s name and age: Riley, 7 years

Nicknames: RyRy, Monkey, Piggy and Honey

Adoption Story: My partner had recently lost his childhood dog and sought comfort in going to the Butte Humane Society after work to get his dog fix, giving the dogs there some love. No long after, he brought me to meet Riley and we instantly fell in love.

Riley has FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). She wants to be present for everything mom and dad do. Riley lives a very active life and loves every second of it. She is ball-obsessed (hence the chuck-it by her feet), loves playing fetch, swimming (in any body of water she can find), dog parks, hikes and nature walks. She ends each day by relaxing at home with her two favorite people.

Dog’s name and age: Papa, 9 years

Nicknames: Papa Bear, Papa-san, Umpapa

Adoption Story: It had been 6 months since my fur companion, Sundance Kid, passed. I was cruising the NorCal Boxer Rescue adoptable dog site and Papa immediately stood out because a former (and favorite) manager’s last name is Papa. It felt like a cosmic sign that Papa was the companion for me. I support and volunteer for NCBR.org , this picture of Papa was taken while strutting for for NCBR at the annual Best Friends San Francisco SYM Fundraiser.

A rare genetic mutation could result in dogs being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

If not identified before surgery, a rare genetic mutation could result in your dog being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

Scientists at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine initially discovered the mutation in greyhounds and more recently in other common dog breeds.

The research group, a member of the Program in Individualized Medicine (PrIMe), published its findings last week  in Scientific Reports.