A Mutation in the Canine Gene Encoding Folliculin-Interacting Protein 2 (FNIP2)Associated With a Unique Disruptionin Spinal Cord Myelination

Novel mutations in myelin and myelin-associated genes have provided important information on oligodendrocytes and myelin and the effects of their disruption on the normal developmental process of myelination of the central nervous system (CNS). We report here a mutation in the folliculin-interacting protein 2 (FNIP2) gene in the Weimaraner dog that results in hypomyelination of the brain and a tract-specific myelin defect in the spinal cord. This myelination disruption results in a notable tremor syndrome from which affected dogs recover with time. In the peripheral tracts of the lateral and ventral columns of the spinal cord, there is a lack of mature oligodendrocytes. A genome-wide association study of DNA from three groups of dogs mapped the gene to canine chromosome 15. Sequencing of all the genes in the candidate region identified a frameshift mutation in the FNIP2 gene that segregated with the phenotype. While the functional role of FNIP2 is not known, our data would suggest that production of truncated protein results in a delay or failure of maturation of a subpopulation of oligodendrocytes.

Click here to read the entire article: Pemberton et al Glia 2014_62_39-51

Study identifies gene mutation as cause of canine tremor disorder

Weimaraners – sleek, athletic dogs originally bred for hunting — are known for their striking, silver-tinged coats. Unfortunately, they also are known for a rare tremor disorder reported widely throughout North America and Europe.

Sometimes called “shaky puppy syndrome,” the condition occurs almost exclusively in Weimaraners. It first appears in one- or two-week-old pups, and the tremors grow in intensity for several weeks. While the trembling diminishes and eventually stops in most cases, it can make nursing difficult, which may prove fatal without intensive care.

Click here to read entire article at University of Wisconsin, Madison …

Your Dog Needs To Be Spayed Or Neutered – Right?

What’s become of greater interest to me of late are several studies showing the ill effects of surgical gonadectomy, or instant hormone-pause.

A study done in UC Davis and published in February 2013 revealed some startling health consequences of neutered animals, both male and female. The research tracked 759 Golden Retrievers, and looked at early neuter (less than one year of age) vs later neuter (12 months or older) vs intact dogs and five common diseases:

  1. Hip dysplasia (HD), the arthritis of the hip joint common to dogs
  2. Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) damage, the “football injury” of dogs’ knees
  3. Hemangiosarcoma (HSA), a type of cancer that can be fatal
  4. Lymphosarcoma (LSA), immune system cancer, usually fatal
  5. Mast cell tumors (MCT), yet another cancer that can kill dogs

To summarize the researchers’ findings:

  • Neutered animals fared significantly worse in all five diseases.
  • Early neuter of males doubled the rate of hip dysplasia compared to intact males.
  • None of the intact animals had cruciate ligament disease. Zero. It only appeared in the neutered animals.
  • Early neutered males had three times more LSA than the intact males, while late neutered males had no LSA.
  • The percentage of HSA was four times higher in late neutered females than in either intact or early neutered females.
  • MCT was absent in intact females but present in neutered females. In males, neutering status made no difference.

So, in dogs of both sexes, neutering had significant ill effects in this large study, though it wasn’t uniform across the board.

Click here to read the rest of the article at DogsNaturally.com

So you think you can sleep?

PG-hotpink2When I mention I’m a little tired to people, they may take it as a complaint. It is more of a statement of fact. All of the things keeping me awake at night were originally set up under voluntarily circumstances. Having dogs is a voluntarily circumstance. Having a bunch of dogs who are different ages, sizes, needs and wants is just the way the cookie crumbled.

The 5-week-old puppies have been off their mark the last two days. There is an inevitability to pups getting some kind of digestive upset when we start taking them outside. The only litter we had in the dead of winter, who never made it to the yard, had perfect poop from day one to day 56 when they started going home. I don’t think it’s healthy to keep puppies indoors though. They need the mental stimulation and normalcy that comes with going out on the grass. We accepted the consequences and made our vet visits and fecal sample submissions accordingly.

The puppies were put to bed at about 11 p.m. after a quick trip outside. They had cuddles and medication. I went to bed with the hope in mind I’d actually get some sleep. The night before, Mac decided he wasn’t into crate confinement (not unusual for him). He’d sleep with me, but I don’t have room on the bed and he doesn’t need to be any more of a momma’s boy than he is. Tonight, I wore him out throwing the glow-in-the-dark ball until he didn’t want to do it any more.

Ahh sleep. More sleep. Sweet wonderful sleep! Then, the dominoes start falling at 2:30 a.m.

Ducky started barking hysterically. Maggie-the-Bracco, and Gabby-the-horrible are both in season. The bad boy choir at odd hours is not uncommon. He sounded really hysterical though. I got up and let him out. The dog room smelled like poop. I looked all over inside Ducky’s crate with the flashlight to see if he had an accident. It was spotless, because Ducky is a dainty guy.

He wasn’t the one who had the accident. The name of the guilty shall remain anonymous. Cleaning a crate at 2:30 a.m. is not fun. Remember unnamed-dog, you’re supposed to tell us you need to go out BEFORE you GO, and not AFTER. AND, you don’t need to let the other dogs tell me there’s a problem, you’re capable of letting me know yourself. I’ll get my butt up ASAP, no problem! No-name dog also soiled the floor with poopy feet while running out the door. Someone’s getting a bath tomorrow. No-name needs to quit eating dirt, it makes the colon move things a little too quickly.

I corral Ducky and anonymous dog and put the two back in their crates. Thankfully it is cold outside so nobody felt the need to frolic in the moonlight. Anonymous loves to dig, even at 2:30 a.m.

Then, Homer needed to go out. We don’t argue with 10 ½ year old Homer. He had urinary issues following his surgery for a perineal hernia operation almost two years ago. Don’t Google perineal hernia unless you have a considerable constitution. The vet diagnosed Homer’s condition long before it got to the full prolapse stage often portrayed on pet-related web sites. Homer is also having some other old dog issues we’re attempting to chase down. He has to pee. A lot. And often.

Homer went outside. Piper started barking in the back bedroom. She wanted out too. Even though she no longer feeds the puppies, she steadfastly insists on sleeping in the room with them. I let Piper out and smell #2 hit me like a tidal wave. The puppies needed their pen cleaned and it can’t wait until morning. 20 minutes and a lot of lysol later, I’m done. I have to wash up to my elbows because of some unfortunate splattering. The puppies are happy and up! They’re hungry! They’re nippy! We’re not getting into the habit of a 3 a.m. feeding., 6 a.m. will be soon enough.

pbAll this time, Pheobe had not said a word. Before retiring back to my bedroom, I woke her up and marched her outside. I hoped a potty break now would prevent another trip out of bed in an hour. She yawned. She stretched. She flumped on the ground as she stretched in objection.

I softly reasoned with her, “see you little twirp, it’s not nice when someone wakes you up out of a sound sleep, eh!”

She was a good trooper and got down to business right away. She also came right back into the house and voluntarily back to her bed.

I deposited my shoes in the bathroom and walked, in the dark, down the hallway to my bedroom. Heidi looked up at me from my spot on the bed and groaned. Heidi knew she had to move. “Oh poor dog, you got the warm spot on the bed,” I said out loud. She just made grumpy noises.

Tonight, I think I’ll have a better chance at getting some rest.


Yeah, that.