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Research to learn more about two canine health conditions, degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) in small-breed dogs and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), is producing better understanding that may one day lead to better care for affected dogs.

Recognizing Signs of DMVD

Chris and Renee Coney are Chihua­hua lovers.

Artificial insemination (AI) gives breeders an opportunity to breed dogs that otherwise might not be possible due to geographical location, behavior incompatibilities or other factors. A recent study examined whether antibiotics added to commercial semen extenders to increase shelf life inhibit the growth of bacteria in semen samples. 

Boxers are among the breeds predisposed to degenerative myelopathy, a progressive neuro­degenerative disease that affects adult dogs, and hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive, highly malignant cancer. Research of these diseases offers hope that effective treatments may one day help affected dogs. Here is a review of the research. 

Testing a Drug Therapy for DM

Stress from travel, competition, exposure to other dogs, and an unfamiliar environment can all contribute to gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Some dogs are more prone to developing digestive problems than others. The key is to recognize signs of a problem early.

Regenerative medicine, the process of replacing or regenerating cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function, has taken hold in human medicine. Today, researchers are applying this concept to helping dogs. 

A devoted Cocker Spaniel enthusiast, Beverly Tucker knew right away something was wrong when her adopted dog, “Tobi,” yelped while playing in the yard with other dogs. Though it was dinnertime, the 4-year-old mixed-breed Cocker Spaniel had no appetite, and he dragged his rear as he tried to walk. Within half an hour, the dog had lost the use of his hind legs.

On opening day of Texas dove season, Susan Moses, along with a number of friends and family members, had enjoyed a wonderful hunt in the northwestern part of the state. The real star of the show had been Moses’ 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever, “Cinco.” He had not only retrieved dozens of birds but also had done it with style.

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.