Breeder Updates Newsletter
Breed Update Newsletter
The Purina® Pro Plan® Breed Update newsletters cover the latest research advances in canine health and genetics for specific dog breeds, plus there is a general dog newsletter. Explore our archive of articles or use the filters to access specific information.

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The discovery of the highly contagious H3N8 canine influenza virus (CIV) by researchers at the University of Florida and Cornell University veterinary schools in a community of racing Greyhounds in 2004 represented a rare event in adaptive evolution.1 Experts studying the genetic composition of the virus were amazed to learn that the entire genome of the H3N8 horse influenza virus had transferred to dogs, where it adapted to become a new canine-specific virus.

Chihuahua breeder Frieda Kane found her 5-year-old female, CH Guichon's Tika Toy ("Tika"), shaking out of control. Kane felt her heart beating fast as she ran to the dog. "I had just let the dogs inside, and she was missing. When I found her, I thought she was choking, so I picked her up. Then, all of a sudden, she went limp in my arms. I thought she had died," recalls Kane of Durham, N.C.

Terrier breeders who have had dogs that suffer from primary lens luxation (PLL), a painful, genetic eye disorder that often leads to blindness, shared relief when the gene mutation was discovered last fall by researchers at the University of Missouri, and the Animal Health Trust and the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom. By mid-September a DNA test was available for PLL, allowing breeders to test dogs to determine which ones are carriers, affected and normal.

Though some breeders believe that pes varus has occurred in Dachshunds for about 40 years, others are still learning about the potentially crippling orthopedic disorder known in layman's terms as bowlegged syndrome.

Though some breeders believe that pes varus has occurred in Dachshunds for about 40 years, others are still learning about the potentially crippling orthopedic disorder known in layman's terms as bowlegged syndrome.

Among the Boxer's distinguishing characteristics is a chiseled head in correct proportion to the body. The broad, blunt muzzle, which must be in proper form and balance with the skull, is a distinctive feature that contributes to the Boxer's dignified appearance. The muzzle also gives the Boxer a "pushed-in" or "snub-nosed" face, making the breed brachycephalic and at risk for brachycephalic respiratory syndrome.

When their 9-year-old brindle Boxer “Lyric” (CH LattaLane’s Irish Lyric) showed early-stage degenerative myelopathy (DM) in the spring of 2015, breeders Thomas J. and Carol Latta of Corder, Missouri, already recognized the signs. They had been screening their breeding Boxers for DM since the genetic test became available in 2009.

Not surprisingly, given the prevalence of DM in the breed, every Boxer in their breeding program had tested at risk for DM. However, Lyric was their first, and thus far only, Boxer affected by the disease. 

Tick populations are at an all-time high this year, experts say. Dogs are particularly susceptible to ticks — and thus tick-borne diseases — because they spend a lot of time outdoors and are low to the ground where ticks live. Since ticks do not usually transmit disease until 24 to 48 hours after attachment, owners can help prevent illness by promptly removing ticks. 

When a breakthrough in the discovery of the gene mutation that causes arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in Boxers was announced in April 2009, breeders were ecstatic. Finally, Boxers could be tested for the heart disease that oftentimes causes sudden death with no warning signs.

Co-owners Dave Berrey of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Jay Serion of Seattle, who handled Decker in shows, consider it important to continue the health testing begun by the breeders. The winningest male Bulldog in the past 20 years, Decker, who earned 18 Bests in Show, is passing on his handsome phenotype and healthy genotype as a stud dog, having currently sired 15 litters.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Doberman Pinschers is a challenging disease in which to identify dogs that will develop a severe case and die, and those that will be mildly affected despite testing positive in genetic screening.

Advances in research of hemangio­sarcoma in Golden Retrievers are helping to identify risk factors for the extremely aggressive and highly malignant canine cancer. The findings may one day be used to identify risk factors in other breeds. Additionally, studies looking at the biochemical pathways that control the cancer may shed light on ways to genetically alter these pathways and eliminate the risk of death from the cancer.