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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…

  You may recall a prior blog entry about a new experimental treatment for bone cancer in dogs. Researchers are increasingly studying canine cancer and discovering that it is caused by some of the same genetic mutations that cause cancer in humans.   Shown in the image above is Jasper, a 7-year old dog that has lymphoma,…

The domestication of dogs

New genetic analyses supports the argument that the domestication of man’s best friend coincided with the advent of argiculture and human settlements. Researchers Erik Axelsson (Uppsala University, Sweden) and colleagues present evidence suggesting that wolves became domesticated as they increasingly scavenged in the human settlements.  The researchers sequenced DNA from 12 wolves and 60 dogs to find areas that…

Training dogs to smell bacteria

Researchers have actually trained a beagle named Cliff to detect the intestinal bacteria Clostridium difficile on patients and in stool samples that were collected from infected patients in the Netherlands. This infection is common in hospitals and long-term treatment facilities. Infection with the contagious C. diff results in diarrhea that has been responsible for the deaths…

Jasper is just one of the injured dogs that this research team has been able to help walk following an injection of nasal cells: