Your hit of last week’s dog and cat research

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Dogs think about their toys with multiple senses

It’s every dog ​​owner’s dream to know exactly what’s going on in their fur baby’s mind. well, one new study published in the journal Animal cognition found that when dogs think of an object – like their favorite toy – they visualize its various sensory properties, such as B. how it looks or smells.

“If we can understand which senses dogs use when looking for a toy, this can shed light on how they think about it,” explains co-lead author Shany Dror from the Institute of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

“When dogs use their sense of smell or sight when looking for a toy, it suggests they know what that toy smells or looks like.”

in one previous studythe team had found that some gifted dogs can learn the names of objects, so they studied how four gifted word-learning dogs sought and recognized a target toy (among four other toys) with both the lights on and off.

They found that while the dogs’ success rate did not differ in the dark or in the light, their searching behavior did: dogs relied primarily on sight and switched to other senses (including their sense of smell) when searching in the dark.

This shows that when dogs play with a toy, they pay attention to the different characteristics and take in the information with multiple senses.

Genetic variants associated with diseases in pedigree cats

The largest ever based on DNA to learn of domestic cats found that 13 genetic mutations associated with feline diseases are present in more purebred breeds than previously thought.

researcher genotyped studied over 11,000 domestic cats (including 90 breeds and breed types and 617 non-breed cats) to identify the subtle differences in genes associated with known diseases, blood types and physical traits in cats.

They identified 13 disease-associated variants in 47 purebred breeds or breed types where the variant had not been previously documented. However, they also found that these variants decrease in frequency in breeds that are regularly screened for the genetic markers.

These results underscore the need for comprehensive genetic screening in all cat breeds and were published in the journal PLOS genetics.

Over 11,000 domestic cats were genotyped in this study for blood group, disease and trait variants by commercial Wisdom Panel DNA testing of owner-submitted cheek swab specimens. Photo credit: Kinship Partners, Inc., Anderson H, et al., 2022, PLOS Genetics, CC-BY 4.0

An update on the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

The Morris Animal Foundation Golden retriever lifetime study is the largest prospective study in veterinary medicine. Researchers are long-term tracking and monitoring a group of more than 3,000 golden retrievers in the United States to study the dietary, environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cancer and other common diseases in dogs.

Owners and veterinarians fill out online questionnaires about their dogs’ health and lifestyle every year. Biological samples are also collected and each dog undergoes a physical examination.

As the study now approaches its 10th anniversary, researchers have released a paper in the diary Plus one to check the previous findings. To date, 352 dogs have died and 70% of those deaths were attributed to cancer.

The primary objective of the study is to document and collect data on 500 dogs diagnosed with the primary endpoint cancers of hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and high-grade mast cell tumors. So far they have received 223 and found that hemangiosarcoma is the most common (n=120), followed by lymphoma/leukemia (n=85). There were also fewer diagnoses of high-grade mast cell tumors (n=10) and osteosarcoma (n=8) than expected.

“The study data and samples are a legacy of these special dogs that will continue to inform scientific discoveries for decades to come,” says co-author Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Scientific Director of the Morris Animal Foundation in the USA.

Graph of the cumulative incidence of the four primary endpoint cancers in golden retrievers
Graph of the cumulative incidences of the four primary endpoint cancers in golden retrievers. Credit: Labadie et al. (2022)

Doggy dates relieve stress

Primary school children in the UK were less stressed after spending just 20 minutes twice a week with a dog compared to children who spent the same amount of time doing a relaxation session with meditation and those who did neither, according to a new study in Plus one.

The researchers tracked the levels of salivary cortisol in 150 children aged eight to nine years over four weeks – cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it is released by the body during times of stress.

A comparison of their average cortisol levels before and after the four-week intervention found children in the dog intervention group had lower stress levels, while cortisol levels increased in the other two groups.

Immediately after their dog appointments, both neurotypical and special educational needs children also showed significant stress reductions, while no change in cortisol levels was seen in children who meditated or received no intervention.

A group of children pet a dog
Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images

England may ban breeding English bulldogs

British vets warn that English bulldog breeding could be banned unless urgent action is taken to change breed standards towards more moderate traits, according to a new study in Canine Medicine and Genetics.

They evaluated the veterinary records of a random sample of 2,662 English bulldogs and 22,039 other dogs using the VetCompass database and found that English bulldogs were twice as likely to be diagnosed with at least one disease than other breeds.

The bulldogs also had an increased risk of respiratory, eye, and skin conditions due to their extreme physical traits—including shortened snouts, wrinkled skin, and a stocky body.

And just 9.7% of the English bulldogs in this study were older than eight years, compared to 25.4% of other breeds.

“These results suggest that the general health of the English bulldog is much poorer than that of other dogs,” concludes lead author Dr. Dan G O’Neill, Associate Professor of Domestic Animal Epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK.



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