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Siberian Husky puppies and children under the age of 5 share a predisposition for a condition known as benign familial hyperphosphataesemia (BFH). An unfounded spike in their blood alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is the telltale sign. Blood ALP is an enzyme that comes from various tissues but predominantly from the liver and bones.   

A year into the Shine On Project, research of canine hemangiosarcoma is making significant progress to better understand the cancer that kills an estimated one in five Golden Retrievers.

When "Harvey," a young male Shih Tzu, awoke from sleeping, he often had gummy eyes. His owners, Jonathan Fowler and Louise Sherratt of Northwich, England, diligently wiped the corners of the eyes clean.

Though Harvey showed minimal signs of irritation, his owners realized something wasn't quite right about the dog's eyes. Fowler had researched the Shih Tzu breed before they acquired Harvey, so they were aware of the importance of eye care. Like other breeds with big eyes and long hair, Shih Tzu are prone to eye problems.

Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) was the furthest thing from Diane Richardson’s mind when her 2 ½-year-old Rottweiler bitch, Frontier Life Eternal, CGC, seemed uncharacteristically bothered by the 100-degree temperatures of July 2010.

Having owned Rotties for 30 years and bred them for 20 years, Richardson, of Claremont, N.H., sensed something different about her dog’s reaction to the heat that summer. Richardson was about to start competing in rally with the female she called “Bonnie,” a usually healthy, energetic dog.

Twenty-seven years later, Sandy Jessop still remembers her Siberian Husky "Dax" battling inflammatory bowel disease. At 18 months of age, Dax, who was Jessop's first Siberian Husky, began having chronic soft stools and losing weight, classic signs of the gastrointestinal disease.

The veterinarian suspected inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder first recognized in dogs around the time Dax was diagnosed. Resolving the diarrhea and finding an appropriate diet that Dax could tolerate was a long, difficult process.

SilverHill Rottweiler breeder Cathy Rubens is no stranger to subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), one of the most common congenital heart diseases in dogs.

“No matter how carefully I study pedigrees and try not to produce dogs with this heartbreaking disease, I can’t stop SAS,” says Rubens, of Apex, North Carolina. “After breeding six generations of healthy cardiology-certified dogs, I am still getting SAS. I made a European cross in the hopes that it would resolve the problem, but it did not.”

After years of Rottweiler rescue work, Julie McKeever of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., bought a male puppy from a breeder. She loved the breed’s intelligence and desire to learn, so she began training “Hemi” in obedience and rally. Not long after Hemi earned Companion Dog and Rally Novice titles, he had a seizure at the age of 2. 

Efforts to learn more about two genetic conditions affecting terrier breeds may one day help breeders reduce the disease incidence of degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) in Norfolk Terriers and Scottie Cramp in Scottish Terriers. Here is an overview of the research studies.

Dachshund owner Charlotte Borghardt remembers clearly the morning her 7-year-old Miniature Longhaired Dachshund “Lucky” (Teckelhof’s Skylark v. Sugardachs RE CGCA) couldn’t get up from her bed to eat breakfast. Instead of eagerly running to her food bowl, the normally energetic Doxie moaned and shivered in pain.

“I suspected intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) right away,” says Borghardt, chair of the Dachshund Club of America Health Committee.

As researchers learn more about cleft palate defects and degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD), two inherited conditions that affect some toy breeds, breeders may one day be able to reduce disease incidence. Here is a review of the research.

While there is no cure for canine osteosarcoma or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), researchers are focusing on promising new treatments. Recent advancements in treating osteosarcoma may spare limbs and extend life for dogs affected by this painful cancer. Likewise, genetic discovery of polymorphisms causing IBD in German Shepherd Dogs may lead to new treatments. Here are snapshots of the research.

Killing Cancer Cells

Researchers studying canine diseases are helping to advance treatments that potentially will offer dogs a better prognosis. Here, we highlight research using stem-cell therapy to treat dogs with spinal cord injuries; two studies focusing on chronic active hepatitis (CAH); and research defining heat stress in brachycephalic breeds.

Stem-Cell Study Aids Spinal Cord Injuries