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The FDA is calling for help to determine the source of roughly 580 deaths and over 3600 illnesses (gastrointestinal and kidney) related to jerky treats that were made in China. The  mystery dates back to 2007 when illnesses were first being reported by pet owners.  Most of the victims have been dogs, although 10 cats…

Smart dog breeds

I should have read this article before adopting my beloved pet, who is certainly not on the top 10 list of smart breeds. A cute article from pet360.com published the top 10 smart breeds according to the American Kennel Club: 1. Border collie 2. German Shepherd 3. Bloodhound 4. Beagle 5. Labrador Retriever 6. Newfoundland…

A drug currently used to treat colon cancer in people successfully treated a type of brain tumor, called a glioma, in a dog named “Petey”. After removing the tumor, Dr. Simon Platt administered the drug to the brain where it prevented the tumor from returning. The next step is to conduct a larger study that…

Weimaraner dogs are helping researchers to understand neural tube birth defects, like anencephaly (where the brain or skull do not fully develop) and spina bifida (where the spinal column is not fully enclosed). In new research published this week in PLOS One, Dr. Noa Safra (UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine) and colleagues mapped the genomes of…

Hyenas related to cats?

Ever wonder what dogs and hyenas have in common? Would you be surprised to learn that hyenas are more closely related to cats than dogs? In fact, according to this video thesis, the shared bone-crushing abilities of dogs and hyenas is actually an example of convergent evolution.

Dogs, like people, are susceptible to a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) known as canine compulsive disorder (CCD). In fact, the news story at the end of this blog describes CCD and also discusses a form of OCD in Siamese and Persian cats that is related to stress. A prior study suggested that dogs…

Dr. Liz Phular and colleagues at the University of Minnesota have been testing an experimental cancer treatment for brain tumors in dogs that also offers hope to humans with brain tumors: KMSP-TV

Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh at Uppsala University (Sweden) who specializes in comparative genomics and Dr. Åke Hedhammar, SLU (Sweden) recently identified a novel gene in German shepherd dogs, PKP-2, that encodes a protein (plakophilin-2) important for regulating proper skin structure and function. This protein was found to be associated with canine atopic dermatitis (i.e. doggy eczema), a…

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar. The cause of high blood sugar differs for people with type 1 versus type 2 diabetes. For type 1 diabetics, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar. For type 2 diabetics, tissues in the body are not responsive to insulin, termed…

Dog smarts

I just found out there is a website, Dognition, dedicated to helping you discover just how smart your furry friend is. The site claims that dogs are actually smarter than we think and that even the apparently dumbest dog is intelligent in one way or another. (There is hope for my dog after all!) The scientist behind the website…