Current Dogs News and Events

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New features of a gene defect that affects muzzle length and caudal vertebrae in dogs
A recent genetic study at the University of Helsinki provides new information on the occurrence of a DVL2 gene defect associated with a screw tail and its relevance to canine constitution and health. The variant was found in several Bulldog and Pit Bull type breeds, and it was shown to result in caudal vertebral anomalies and shortening of the muzzle. The DLV2 variant may also affect the development of the heart. (2021-02-23)

A novel gene discovery associated with a development disorder of pituitary origin
A study carried out at the University of Helsinki investigated pituitary dwarfism in Karelian Bear Dogs and found a link to a variant of the POU1F1 gene. The results can also help understand the gene's significance to the human pituitary gland's development and function. (2021-02-22)

Dogs synchronize their behavior with children, but not as much as with adults, study finds
Dogs synchronize their behavior with the children in their family, but not as much as they do with adults, a new study from Oregon State University researchers found. (2021-02-21)

AI may mistake chess discussions as racist talk
'The Queen's Gambit,' the recent TV mini-series about a chess master, may have stirred increased interest in chess, but a word to the wise: social media talk about game-piece colors could lead to misunderstandings, at least for hate-speech detection software. (2021-02-18)

Animal behaviour: Dogs may have body-awareness and understand consequences of own actions
Dogs may be able to recognize their own body as an obstacle and also understand the consequences of their own actions, according to a study involving 32 pet dogs published in Scientific Reports. (2021-02-18)

I, the obstacle -- dogs show body-awareness, a new component of mental self-representation
Dogs understand the relationship between their body and the environment in a problem solving task. Researchers found that dogs can recognise their body as an obstacle, which ability is one of the basic manifestations of self-representation in humans. Self-representation is the ability of holding information in one's own mental model about themselves. In humans this capacity reached an extremely complex form, called self-consciousness. (2021-02-18)

A study with 1,600 dogs: More than 20 gene loci associated with canine hip dysplasia
An extensive study on canine hip dysplasia conforms to the polygenic background of the disease. Genes located in different chromosomes have a strong association with a protein modification process previously linked to inflammatory arthritis. (2021-02-18)

Toward a disease-sniffing device that rivals a dog's nose
A new system can detect the chemical and microbial content of an air sample with even greater sensitivity than a dog's nose. Researchers at MIT and elsewhere coupled this to a machine-learning process that can identify the distinctive characteristics of the disease-bearing samples. (2021-02-17)

Robotic dogs & laughter therapy: combating loneliness & isolation while social distancing
Robotic dogs, laughter therapy and mindfulness are some of the ways that might help people - particularly the elderly - cope with loneliness and social isolation while social distancing, say researchers at the University of Cambridge. (2021-02-17)

Friends fur life help build skills for life
A new UBC Okanagan study finds children not only reap the benefits of working with therapy dogs-they enjoy it too. (2021-02-17)

Wolves, dogs and dingoes, oh my
Dogs are generally considered the first domesticated animal, while its ancestor is generally considered to be the wolf, but where the Australian dingo fits into this framework is still debated, according to a retired Penn State anthropologist. (2021-02-17)

All the colours of the dingo: not just a yellow dog
Animals assumed to be dingo-dog hybrids based on their coat colour and culled may have been pure dingoes, a study involving UNSW finds. (2021-02-16)

Scent detection dogs can identify individuals infected with COVID-19
Scent detection dogs can identify individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus according to a new article in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Findings indicate the dogs could be used to screen for infections in hospitals, senior care facilities, schools, universities, airports, large sporting events or concerts. (2021-02-11)

Humanity's best friend
For some 15,000 years, dogs have been our hunting partners, workmates, helpers and companions. Could they also be our next allies in the fight against COVID-19? (2021-02-11)

New improved dog reference genome will aid a new generation of investigation
Researchers at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have used new methods for DNA sequencing and annotation to build a new, and more complete, dog reference genome. This tool will serve as the foundation for a new era of research, helping scientists to better understand the link between DNA and disease, in dogs and in their human friends. The research is presented in the journal Communications Biology. (2021-02-10)

Challenges of animal ownership during the pandemic should be considered
Animal owners frequently report concerns and worries relating to caring for their animal during the pandemic, new research suggests. The study, by the University of York, also revealed owners had increased their appreciation of their animals during the first lockdown phase. The notion that people 'could not live without' their animals and that they were a 'godsend' or a 'lifeline' in the pandemic was frequently expressed. (2021-02-09)

New stem cell therapy in dogs -- a breakthrough in veterinary medicine
A team of scientists in Japan has developed a novel method to induce stem cell generation from the blood samples of dogs. Through this technique, the scientists hope to advance regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine. This would mean that, in the near future, veterinarians might be able to reverse conditions in dogs that were previously thought incurable. (2021-02-03)

Feed Fido fresh human-grade dog food to scoop less poop
For decades, kibble has been our go-to diet for dogs. But the dog food marketplace has exploded in recent years, with grain-free, fresh, and now human-grade offerings crowding the shelves. All commercial dog foods must meet standards for complete and balanced nutrition, so how do consumers know what to choose? (2021-02-03)

Can dogs rapidly learn words?
A new study found that talented dogs can learn new words after hearing them only four times. While preliminary evidence seems to show that most dogs do not learn words (i.e. names of objects), unless eventually very extensively trained, a few individuals have shown some exceptional abilities. (2021-01-26)

Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans
A cross-cultural analysis found several factors may have played a role in building the relationship between humans and dogs, including temperature, hunting and surprisingly - gender. The analysis used ethnographic information from 144 traditional, subsistence-level societies from all over the globe. People were more likely to regard dogs as a type of person if the dogs had a special relationship with women--such as having names and being treated as family. (2021-01-25)

Study highlights factors that predict success for treating canine behavioral disorders
Canine behavioral problems are one of the leading causes of why pets are abandoned at shelters. Researchers have identified some of the key factors in both dogs and their owners that predict the success or failure of clinical interventions to correct problems like aggression or separation anxiety. This information may be valuable for veterinarians to provide better guidance to dog owners in future cases that require clinical intervention. (2021-01-22)

Smart vaccine scheme quick to curb rabies threat in African cities
More people could be protected from life-threatening rabies thanks to an agile approach to dog vaccination using smart phone technology to spot areas of low vaccination coverage in real time. The work could help save the lives of children worldwide. (2021-01-18)

Cats may help increase empathy, decrease anxiety for kids with autism
While there is plenty of existing research emphasizing the benefits of dogs for children with autism, Carlisle's newest study has found cats may help increase empathy while decreasing separation anxiety for children with autism. (2021-01-12)

Archaeology: sharing leftover meat may have contributed to early dog domestication
Humans feeding leftover lean meat to wolves during harsh winters may have had a role in the early domestication of dogs, towards the end of the last ice age (14,000 to 29,000 years ago), according to a study published in Scientific Reports. (2021-01-07)

Some English bulldogs thought to have cancer may have newly identified syndrome
Some English bulldogs diagnosed with a common cancer may instead have a newly described, non-cancerous syndrome called polyclonal B?cell lymphocytosis. The discovery was made by Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at Colorado State University during a study to better understand B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (BCLL). The team published their findings in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. (2021-01-05)

Living environment affects the microbiota and health of both dogs and their owners
In urban environments, allergic diseases are more common among dogs and their owners compared to those living in rural areas. Simultaneous allergic traits appear to be associated with the microbes found in the environment, but microbes relevant to health differ between dogs and humans. (2020-12-18)

Study sets baseline for sleep patterns in healthy adult dogs
A new canine sleep study could serve as a baseline for research on chronic pain and cognitive dysfunction in dogs, potentially improving detection and treatment of these conditions. (2020-12-18)

What's up Skip? Kangaroos really can 'talk' to us
Animals that have never been domesticated, such as kangaroos, can intentionally communicate with humans, challenging the notion that this behaviour is usually restricted to domesticated animals like dogs, horses or goats, a first of its kind study from the University of Roehampton and the University of Sydney has found. (2020-12-17)

Robots could replace real therapy dogs
Robotic animals could be the 'pawfect' replacement for our real-life furry friends, a new study published today by the University of Portsmouth has found. (2020-12-10)

Ferrets, cats and civets most susceptible to coronavirus infection after humans
Humans, followed by ferrets and to a lesser extent cats, civets and dogs are the most susceptible animals to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The researchers calculated this by i) assessing the viral spike protein's affinity with variants of the ACE2 cell receptor across species and ii) analysing how efficient the coronavirus is at commandeering a cell's machinery once it has entered the cell. (2020-12-10)

Trained dogs might be able to detect people infected with COVID-19 by sniffing their sweat
Trained dogs might be able to detect people infected with COVID-19 by sniffing their sweat, according to a preliminary proof-of-concept study. (2020-12-10)

Diabetes in dogs may indicate elevated risk of type 2 diabetes in their owners
Owners of a dog with diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than owners of a dog without diabetes. No shared risk of diabetes could be detected for cat owners and their cats. These novel findings, from a register-based study conducted at Uppsala University in collaboration with three other universities, have now been published in The BMJ. (2020-12-10)

Dogs may never learn that every sound of a word matters
Despite their excellent auditory capacities, dogs do not attend to differences between words which differ only in one speech sound (e.g. dog vs dig), according to a new study by Hungarian researchers measuring brain activity with non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) on awake dogs. This might be a reason why the number of words dogs learn to recognize typically remains very low throughout their life. (2020-12-08)

K9 chemistry: A safer way to train detection dogs
Trained dogs are better at detecting explosives and narcotics than any technological device scientists have invented. However, training dogs to detect hazardous substances can be inconvenient for the trainer and dangerous for the dog. NIST scientists are working to solve this problem with a material that can catch odors and safely release them over time. (2020-12-03)

What makes certain groups more vulnerable to COVID-19?
What makes the elderly and people with underlying conditions more vulnerable to COVID-19? According to a new study led by McGill University researchers, clues can be found in the proteins involved in initiating infection, as the virus binds to host cells of different animals. Greater cellular oxidation with aging and sickness may explain why seniors and people with chronic illness get infected more often and more severely. (2020-12-03)

Pets, touch and COVID-19: why our furry friends are lifesavers
A new study published by University of South Australia researchers points to the lifesaving role that pets have played in 2020 and why governments need to sit up and take notice. (2020-12-01)

Family pigs prefer their owner's company as dogs do, but they might not like strangers
Researchers compared how young companion dogs and companion pigs seek human proximity in a novel environment. It turned out that both dogs and pigs stay close to their owner if no other person is present; but if a stranger is also there, only dogs stay near humans, pigs prefer to stay away. The study reveals that living in a human family is not enough for early developing a general human preference in companion animals, species differences weigh in. (2020-11-30)

Big cats and small dogs: solving the mystery of canine distemper in wild tigers
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a serious disease in domestic dogs, and also infects other carnivores, including threatened species like the Amur tiger. It is often assumed that domestic dogs are the primary source of CDV, but in a new Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine study found that other local wildlife was the primary source of CDV transmission to tigers instead. (2020-11-23)

When temperatures rise, dog ticks more likely to choose humans over canines
A variety of ticks that carry the bacteria causing the deadly disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) are more than twice as likely to shift their feeding preference from dogs to humans when temperatures rise, a sign that climate change could expand and intensify human disease risks, according to a new study presented today at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). (2020-11-16)

Pesticides commonly used as flea treatments for pets are contaminating English rivers
Researchers at the University of Sussex have found widespread contamination of English rivers with two neurotoxic pesticides commonly used in veterinary flea products: fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. (2020-11-16)

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