Genetic Disorders
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Articles > Keywords > Genetic Disorders

Genetic Disorders

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Jawbone Disorders In Dogs

There are many different types of jawbone disorders that can be problematic in a variety of dogs from the small little toy dogs on up to the giant dogs. Some breeds will have possible jawbone problems either based on genetic or congenital problems that can occur within the breed or line. By purchasing a puppy through a reputable breeder there is far less chance of any type of jawbone abnormality to occur, plus you will have researched the breed and be aware of the potential problems and issues that can occur. In most breeds there is the possibility of an under or overshot jaw. In some breeds, such as the Bulldog, the longer lower jaw is desirable, but in most breeds it is considered a serious fault or a disqualification. Dogs with longer lower jaws may have increased problems with trauma and damage to the jaw that can affect the movement of the mouth. Since any pain associated with the mouth or jaw leads to a decrease in food consumption, this can have a huge impact on the overall health of the dog. [...]

Narrow Palpebral Fissure Distichiasis: Seeing the Disease Clearly

In a normal canine eyelid structure, hairs called eyelashes grow forth from the rim of the eyelid, pointing outward, and are used much like bronchial cilia to trap dust and foreign bodies from entering the sensitive membrane of the eye. There are, however, instances where this goes wrong, and it usually manifests in one of three ways. Ectopic cilia, when the eyelash grows through from the outside to the inside of the eyelid; trichiasis, which eyelashes start growing normally but turn inward; and the most severe: distichiasis, when hairs begin growing from the inside of the eyelid pointed towards the eye. In special circumstances, distichiasis is compounded with a secondary symptom called narrow palpebral fissure in which the opening afforded by a dog's eyelid is significantly smaller than normal. When this happens, it makes treatment especially problematic, and thus it's this compound problem that this article concerns itself with. [...]

Necrotizing Myelopathy: How to Cope

Necrotizing Myelopathy is a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord in dogs, gradually affecting mobility and sensation. It is a progressive disease, so its not known to get better without treatment, and even with treatment, its progress is usually only slowed. The problem is one of the autoimmune system. As antibodies are produced that mistakenly attack the own body, tissue in the central nervous system is destroyed or "necrotized" this phenomenon is often described as the body literally eating itself. When the muscular tissue surrounding the spinal cord is eventually eaten away, it exposes the sensitive nerve fibres of the spinal cord itself. When those are affected, disastrous results begin to happen instantaneously. Paralysis results as the control pathways between the brain and the muscles are shut down and destroyed. [...]

Canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: How to Become an Understanding Owner

Much like with humans, obsessive compulsive disorder in dogs is characterized by the uncontrollable repetition of bizarre, out of context behavior. This behavior can be literally anything and is directed either at other animals or humans or even at inanimate objects such as food dishes or a piece of furniture. In the least severe cases, your dog's disorder might manifest through something simple like pacing back and forth, or hiding in a particular spot for seemingly no reason. At other times, it can become more problematic such as when they begin to bark at "nothing" for hours at a time, or destroy your or other's property with no provocation. In the worst cases, your dog might cause serious problems by turning its frustration against itself. In many cases, this might manifest as destructive behavior such as the dog compulsively chewing on its own foot, resulting in infections and problematic lesions. [...]

Pelger-Huet Syndrome: A Sign of Things to Come?

Pelger-Huet Syndrome is an observed abnormality in the formation of the nucleus of white blood cells. Whereas a typical white blood cell nucleus would have a generally round appearance, cells affected by Pelger-Huet Syndrome acquire a shape more like two round shapes held together by a thin bridge. It is often described as being shaped like a peanut. Though Pelger-Huet Syndrome is defined as a congenital abnormality, it can and often is developed post-birth and in such cases is termed "Acquired Pelger-Huet Syndrome" though for all intents and purposes, it remains the same defect. This particular type of cellular defect is significant not because of any real problem that it causes in and of itself but because it acts as herald to much more serious diseases such as leukemia. [...]

Persistent Pupillary Membrane: A Congenital Canine Vision Problem

In normal circumstances, dogs develop in the womb with a thin film called the pupillary membrane covering each eye. The idea is that since the animal is not yet sighted anyway, this won't interfere with vision and is the most efficient way to supply blood to the developing organ. It usually can still be seen once a dog is born but dissolves on its own within the first few days. In some cases, however, this membrane refuses to dissolve and can cause problems; this is known as a persistent pupillary membrane. The membrane is made up of thin but tough strands of a silk-like film. Depending on how much of the membrane persists after birth, these strands can be located in any number of places and their location determines to a large extent how much of a problem the persistent pupillary membrane will cause. The strands can stretch across the entire pupil, from the pupil to the lens, from the iris to the cornea, or they can be free-floating, attached at only one eye. [...]

Phosphofructokinase Deficiency: Putting the Spring Back in Your Dog's Step

If you've recently noticed an increased resistance to exercise and a tendency to lay around on the part of your dog, then he or she might very well be the victim of a phosphofructokinase deficiency. Phosphofructokinase deficiency is a disease that inhibits the body from metabolizing glucose into usable energy, leading to the aforementioned lack of enthusiasm and pep that can seem to strike without warning. In advanced stages, the disease can even lead to the onset of more advanced muscular diseases and destroy red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. [...]

Pinched Nostrils (Stenotic Nares): Breathing Easy Once Again

Pinched nostrils, otherwise known as stenotic nares, occur when the nostrils of certain breeds of dogs are smaller than normal, resulting in a smaller passageway to the lungs with a markedly increased resistance to airflow. Though it can theoretically affect any breed, dogs with short, wide heads such as bulldogs, pekingnese, and pugs are far and away the most frequent sufferers. In addition to the obvious problems presented by this disease, it should also be known that pinched nostrils are very often accompanied by other abnormalities such as an overlong soft palate, and a tendency for the larynx to collapse due to strain. [...]

Premature Graying: Keeping Your Dog Looking Dapper

Premature graying refers to a disorder in which your dog's coat begins to lose the richness of its natural color and adopts a dull gray tone. Often this is associated with loss of hair, or the softening of hair which can ruin the texture of a coat in some breeds such as the Schnauzer or others with a typically coarse and wiry coat. Although almost all breeds will eventually lose some of their color and begin to go gray, graying is considered a problem when it occurs much earlier than could naturally be anticipated. The disease can affect any breed of dog, but studies have indicated that it is most likely to affect dogs that are both small and possess a tightly woven coat as their standard, again making the miniature Schnauzer a prime candidate. It's not necessarily a harmful disease as it causes no real detriments to a dog's overall health, but it can still be very problematic for some people who paid a lot of money for a dog of a certain color, especially if they had plans to put that dog into the show ring. [...]

Pulmonic Stenosis: The Most Common Congenital Heart Defect

In a normally functioning canine heart, the right side of the heart is responsible for pumping blood to the lungs to be infused with oxygen. This oxygenated blood is then cycled back into the left side of the heart where it is sent out to the rest of the body. There exists, however, a medical condition called pulmonic stenosis that interferes with this natural and medically necessary process. In an animal with pulmonic stenosis, blood flow to the lungs is compromised by an improperly formed pulmonic valve. As a result, the heart must work much harder than normal to pump blood to the lungs, and the ultimate result is a swelling of fluid in the right chambers of the heart, a thickening of the heart muscle, and eventually heart failure and death. [...]

Renal Cortical Hypoplasia: Incomplete Development of the Kidney Cortex

The function of a healthy kidney is to remove naturally occurring and foreign toxins from the bloodstream and eject them from the body via urination. A healthy kidney is made up of three major structure: the cortex, the medulla, and the pelvis. The cortex is the largest part of the kidney, and makes up the entire outer area. This area is filled with capillaries that control the fluid interchange function of the kidneys; fluids that have had their toxins removed are passed through here in order to be reabsorbed back into the blood stream by the medulla. Renal cortical hypoplasia is a disease in which the cortex of the kidneys is improperly developed. The natural result is that proper filtration of toxins from the bloodstream cannot be carried out and over time, renal failure is inevitable. [...]

Renal Dysplasia: An Unpredictable Killer

Renal dysplasia is a disease which results in the improper formation of a dog's kidneys. Because they are improperly formed, the kidneys cannot then carry out their essential functions of eliminating waste from the blood stream, regulating the body's level of calcium, or aiding in the metabolism of phosphorous. Ultimately, kidneys suffering from renal dysplasia will result in outright renal failure as more and more of their functions are compromised and cease to be carried out satisfactorily. All breeds are subject to renal dysplasia but there are several for which the risk of carrying the disease is higher than average. These include Samoyed, Malamutes, and Spitz breeds in general, as well as Doberman Pinschers, Terriers, and toy breeds such as the Poodle. [...]

Retinal Folds: An Ocular Abnormality You Should Be Aware Of

The retina is a structure in the back of the eye. It is responsible for receiving light through the lens and converting it into electric signals that can be transmitted to the brain and perceived as sensory data. It is quite a complex instrument, and as such, malformations can occur during its development. These are rare problems, but certain factors such as the breed of your dog and certain matters of heredity can affect the likelihood of contracting them. Retinal dysplasia is a disorder that occurs when the two layers of the retina do not form together in the correct manner during the formation of the fetus. In its mildest form, this causes light accordion-style folding to occur on the inner layer of the retina, which are called "retinal folds". This disorder is not progressive, which means that whatever degree of severity a puppy possesses at birth is as severe as the disease will ever get. [...]

Canine Rheumatism: A Crippling Situation

Canine rheumatism is a degenerative disease that affects the joints and cartilage of an otherwise healthy dog. It can occur in most any breed at almost any age, with no real warning signs. Canine rheumatism is a progressive disease, which means that it will not get better without treatment, and even with treatment, it usually tends to get worse over time. The ultimate result of rheumatism tends to be the total destruction of cartilage cushioning between joints and the death of cells that produce that cartilage. As a result, these bones grind together very painfully, and motor function can be lost altogether. Canine rheumatism most often occurs as the result of either trauma or bacterial infection, and is most prevalent in dogs that have already reached middle age, as well as older dogs. That said, it can easily happen in younger dogs as well, especially if they're of one of the breeds that are predisposed to joint ailments such as hip dysplasia. [...]

Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome: Making the Best of It

Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is a skin disorder frequently inherited by the miniature Schnauzer. It causes the formation of several "comedones" along the back of the dog, at any position up and down the spinal ridge. These comedones are simply just hair follicles that are blocked by an excess of skin oils and keratin, not much different from the blackheads that a human might suffer from. Not much is known about what factors contribute to the inheritance of this disease, but it is known to be hereditary, and it only seems to affect the miniature Schnauzer. [...]

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