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Few Cocker Spaniel owners recognize the signs of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), though the breed has an increased risk for developing the fast-acting, potentially fatal illness. A disease in which a dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the oxygen-carrying red blood cells, IMHA is a major cause of severe anemia.

A dedicated Siberian Husky enthusiast who enjoys conditioning and working her dogs for sledding sports, Karen Yeargain of Prineville, Oregon, frequently posts pictures of her winning sprint and mid-distance racing dogs. The powerful, muscular dogs stand out against beautiful snowy mountainous scenery. Yeargain’s pride is seen in her smile.

Despite living in Norway, an ocean and a continent away from the U.S., Line Leret manages the website for the Health & Genetics Committee of the Papillon Club of America. A recent posting - and one that Leret takes to heart - is a request for blood samples from Papillons diagnosed with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited eye disorder that can lead to blindness.

After a package of more than 50 small firecrackers was tied around a Toy Poodle and set on fire, the tiny dog ran away frightened by the noise and stinging from the pain. With blisters covering more than half his small body, “Crackers,” as he was later named, was left lying alone, suffering for no one knows how long until a caring woman scooped him up and took him to a nearby veterinary clinic in Oklahoma City.

Seeing a beloved canine companion lose control of his body, suffer spasms and foam at the mouth is a shock for any breeder, especially one who had no idea epilepsy was in the dog's bloodline. When the cause is unidentifiable, which is known as idiopathic epilepsy (IE), it can be even more distressing.

Dalmatian enthusiasts who have attended a regional specialty show or the Dalmatian Club of America National Specialty during the past year may have noticed the blood draw clinics. Dedicated breeders and owners come with their dogs to contribute blood samples that hopefully one day will provide DNA to researchers seeking answers to genetic health conditions affecting the breed.

When an easy-to-use and inexpensive DNA genetic test for centronuclear myopathy (CNM) became available in 2005, it seemed only a matter of years before the debilitating muscle disease in Labrador Retrievers would begin to fade away. The genetic test provided a tool that would allow breeders to selectively choose breeding partners and avoid producing affected puppies. While the numbers of CNM carriers and affected dogs may be somewhat reduced, experts say it is too early to determine exactly how much change has taken place.

Canine lymphoma is one of the five most common cancers in dogs. Among the affected breeds, German Shepherd Dogs are considered at high risk. While in the past owners sometimes have been reluctant to treat dogs not knowing whether they would respond to chemotherapy, a new blood test determines dogs that would benefit from treatment and their long-term prognosis.

Cancer, often described as renegade cells growing out of control, is the leading cause of disease related death in dogs. When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, an owner faces uncertainty about the long-term prognosis. Determining the best course of treatment can be challenging. 

Though Shih Tzu are not commonly listed among breeds considered at high risk for developing cancer, they also are not immune to cancer. Here, we take a look at three canine cancers — lymphoma, mammary cancer and oral melanoma — to provide information and insights about research and new treatments. 

Swedish researchers count Golden Retrievers among eight breeds in which 10 percent or more of adult dogs have low blood immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. Low levels of IgA are often accompanied by recurrent infections and autoimmune and allergic diseases just as in humans with IgA deficiency.

A search for a Great Dane puppy for her daughter led Sabrina Wowdzia of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, to a 4-month-old mantle female, the last in a litter of nine to go to a home. Recently diagnosed with megaesophagus, the puppy would need special care and attention to survive. Wowdzia proved to be the right person for the job. When Wowdzia first met “Magic,” she recalls the puppy weighed 14 pounds compared to a normal weight of about 60 pounds at 4 months of age. The veterinarian did not expect Magic to live to be 2 years old even if she received proper care and nutrition.

Breeding Labrador Retrievers is a labor of love for veterinarian Phyllis Giroux of Goldvein, Virginia. She is driven to produce Labradors that can succeed in all venues of competition and service and that are healthy, intelligent members of their families.

Her selection process in choosing sires for dams includes checking their health status on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database. The centralized CHIC canine health database contains health testing information about individual dogs as well as a DNA Bank Repository for future research.