Vol. 10, No. 22 – Aug 2 – Aug 15, 2017 – The Pet Page

•  Estella had her successful surgery yesterday and is recovering nicely. She is still at VetSurg, but will go home with her foster mom tomorrow for full recuperation.

We raised the needed $6,000 … thanks in huge part to The Breeze. Money poured in from your readers ……. you are truly a Buddy Nation Angel! THANK YOU!

Estella sends you a big sloppy kiss … the rest of us send you hugs.

Cappi Patterson

•  VA Doberman Study

by Victoria Usher

Recently, The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center decided to halt planning for tests on narcoleptic dogs. The experiment would have involved giving antidepressants or methamphetamine to eighteen narcoleptic Dobermans. The Dobermans would have been killed after they were given the drugs and then studied to see how the drugs had affected the production of histamines in their brains.

An animal rights group known as White Coat Waste Project heard about this appalling experiment and discussed it further with lawmakers. After much discussion about it being completely unnecessary and inhumane we should all be happy to hear that it looks like the experiment is no longer going to happen!

•  What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super-outgoing people

by Elizabeth PennisiJul

It’s one of the biggest perks of being a dog owner: Your pooch is thrilled when you come home, wagging its tail, wiggling its body, and licking you with its tongue. Now, scientists say they have pinned down the genetic basis of this affection. Using clues from humans with a genetic disorder that makes them unusually friendly, the team found variations in several genes that make dogs more affable than wolves and some dogs friendlier than others.

The study shows that the genetics of dog behavior “might be even more relevant for understanding genetics of human behavior than we once thought,” says Per Jensen, a behavioral geneticist from Linköping University in Sweden who was not involved with the research.

Over the past decade, geneticists have discovered the DNA involved in key dog traits, such as size and coat variation. Some DNA seems linked to personality, and one study showed that dogs and humans enforce their bonds by gazing at each other. But few studies have pinned particular behaviors to specific genes. “There’s been a remarkable explosion of studies, with the exception of behavioral studies,” says Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the work.

Seven years ago, Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and Princeton University geneticist Bridgett vonHoldt joined forces to link genes to a behavioral trait they think was pivotal to dog domestication: hypersociability. Researchers already know that dogs are hypersocial compared with wolves, and the team confirmed this by comparing the behavior of 18 dogs—some purebreds, others mixed breeds—with 10 captive, hand-raised wolves at a research and education institute in Indiana. As others had shown, the dogs were much friendlier than the wolves, even though the wolves had been raised by people. Both hand-raised wolves and dogs greet human visitors, but dogs continue to interact with people much longer than wolves do, even when visited by a stranger.

“The study is exciting because it provides such strong support for the ‘survival of the friendliest’” hypothesis of dog domestication, says Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “Fear was replaced by friendliness and a new social partner was created.”

“In a sense, this is the first paper discovering the genes related to the high sociability of dogs,” says Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan. Humans too have high sociability relative to other primates. “Probably, these two species, namely human and dogs, use the same genes for these social behaviors.”

However, some experts think the study needs to be expanded to more dogs and wolves to be sure of the conclusions. With so few individuals “the associations are at most suggestive at this point,” Jensen says. Kikusui suggests they look for this gene-behavior connection in other populations of dogs and more individuals.

•  From another study:

Being friendly is in dogs’ nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists.

Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago. Dogs were domesticated from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

This process began when wolves that were tolerant of humans sneaked into hunter gatherer camps to feed on food scraps. Over the course of history, wolves were eventually tamed and became the dogs we know today, which come in all shapes and sizes. The finding of genetic changes linked to sociability in dogs shows how their friendly behavior might have evolved.

During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research. This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company.

“Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species .” said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University.

The researchers studied the behavior of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals’ skills at problem-solving and sociability.

These showed that wolves were as good as dogs at solving problems, such as retrieving pieces of sausage from a plastic lunchbox. But captive wolves gave humans only brief attention

Dogs, however, were much more friendly. They spent more time greeting human strangers and gazing at them, while wolves were somewhat aloof (sounds like cats evolved from wolves).

DNA tests found a link between certain genetic changes and behaviors such as attentiveness to strangers or picking up on social cues. Similar changes in humans are associated with a rare genetic syndrome, where people are highly sociable.

The research is published in the journal, Science Advances.

•  Many veterinarians and dog folks may not know about Border Collie collapse, a form of exercise intolerance in Border Collies, Australian Kelpies, and related breeds. Dogs with BCC are normal at rest, but after five to 15 minutes of strenuous exercise, they can develop incoordination and altered mentation.

Two issues of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association featured a study on exercise in dogs with BCC and a survey on observations of dogs with the condition.

“(BCC) is not rare and is a significant problem in the breed,” said lead researcher Dr. Sue Taylor, a professor of small animal medicine at the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine, in the newsletter AAHA NEWStat.

The only treatment for BCC is to avoid strenuous exercise, especially in hot weather, as a form of prevention. Exercise should be stopped as soon as a dog shows the first signs of a collapse, and dogs with signs should be cooled.

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