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Tag: wisdom panel

The DNA results are in on Pig

pig1

They say everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, but when it comes to an Alabama dog named Pig, she seems to have gotten short-changed on that middle part.

Between her sizable head and her rear end, there’s not much real estate, and as a result of her abbreviated torso, taking her out in public has always led to a lot of stares, and a lot of questions — chief among them, “What kind of dog is that?”

What accounts for Pig’s unusual appearance is called short spine syndrome, a birth defect that prevents the spine from fully forming and often makes everyday tasks — like running, jumping and eating — difficult.

Dogs with the disorder — though it can compress their organs and lead to health problems as they grow — generally can lead normal lives, and reach their full life expectancy.

They can also, as in Pig’s case, become international celebrities.

Pig developed a large following after appearing at this year’s Do Dah Day festival in Birmingham. She was featured in a story on AL.com, and her Facebook page, “Pig the Unusual Dog,” created in June, has more than 76,500 followers.

pig2Now, following up on just what it is that makes Pig Pig, AL.com reports that her owner, Kim Dillenbeck of Helena, has received the results of a DNA test she had conducted on the dog to determine what breeds are in her.

A Wisdom Panel test says Pig is a Boxer, Chow Chow, American Staffordshire Terrier mix.

Dillenbeck who has heard guesses ranging from her dog being half rabbit to half not there, was surprised by the results.

“Everybody thought Akita,” Dillenbeck said. “I was was thinking something like a smaller dog, but I was wide open … Pig has all these interesting traits, and there are so many breeds out there.”

Other breeds showing up in the test results as possibilities include Portuguese Water Dog, Alaskan Klee Kai, Scottish deerhound, Lakeland terrier and Maltese.

Pig weighs in at just 16 pounds, much less than one of her siblings, who doesn’t have the disorder and weighs just under 40 pounds.

Dillenbeck’s experience with Pig led her to form the nonprofit Pig’s Foundation to help raise funds for people and organizations rescuing animals. Another mission of the foundation is to raise awareness that animals who look unusual can still have a happy life.

“Pig is her own breed,” Dillenbeck said. “To me, she is just one in a million. As much as I can see her potential in all these breeds, she is still just Pig.”

(Photos: Mark Almond / AL.com)

DNA testing saves dog from execution

petdnaIt took a DNA test to prove it, but Angie Cartwright — who lives in a town that bans pit bulls — has certified that her dog Lucey is only 12 percent bully breeds, and now she has her back.

Lucey had never bitten anyone; nor had she ever acted aggressively, according to the Salina Journal in Kansas. But she was scooped up by animal control officers.

The officers explained that they were taking Lucey to a veterinarian for a breed check — a professional opinion (meaning veterinarian’s guess) to determine Lucey’s breed.

Since 2005, Salina has had a ban on owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull.

Cartwright got approval to have her vet conduct DNA breed analysis test, ther results of which led to the return of her dog.

The blood test found that a minor amount of Lucey’s DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes — just over 12 percent.

“Maybe this can save someone’s animal, hopefully,” Cartwright said. Read more »

Mixed up dog — one last dance with DNA

What do these four breeds have in common — besides getting labeled as vicious from time to time?

All four (Rottweiler, Akita, chow and Staffordshire terrier, aka pit bull) are in my dog Ace, according to yet another DNA test (last one, I promise). The best guess now is that one of Ace’s parents was a Rottweiler, the other a combination of Akita, Chow and pit bull.

Together, they formed this creature:

How the product of four “feared” breeds could be such a gentle giant might be explained several ways.

For starters, they aren’t vicious breeds — just breeds that, due to the acts of a few members, have seen themselves smeared as a whole. Secondly, we would contend, when you start mixing up breeds, though some purebred purists might be offended by it, some wonderful things can happen. Third, maybe, just maybe, nurture is more important than nature.

Then again, maybe DNA testing — scientifically solid as it may be — isn’t always the full and final answer.

After all this was our third test, and our third different diagnosis.

The first DNA analysis was performed in connection with the Baltimore Sun series, “Hey Mister What Kind of Dog is That?” The Canine Heritage test from Metamorphix, using a cheek swab taken from Ace, determined he was Rottweiler and Chow. At the time, the test checked for 38 breeds.

The second came after Mars Veterinary offered us a free Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis kit, which can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. This one required a visit from a vet to take Ace’s blood, and the results showed he was 50 percent Rottweiler, 25 percent Akita, and 25 percent other unknown breeds.

While we were waiting for our results on that one, Canine Heritage got back in touch to let us know the newer version of their  test — still using a cheek swab — could now detect 100 breeds. They offered us a free re-test, so we swabbed Ace’s mouth again.

The results of that one arrived in the mail last week.

Makers of the tests say it helps dog owners better understand their pets’ behavior, and better be on the lookout for potential medical problems, many of which are prevalent among certain breeds. In that regard, testing a dog’s DNA can serve a useful purpose. But there’s a potential for misusing them as well — if, for instance, they ever become a tool for enforcing breed bans.

In that case, Ace, with his components, would be Public Enemy No. 1. Should that ever come to pass, none of this ever happened, and Ace is actually a, uh … Portuguese water dog/Labradoodle mix.

Does what’s in the mix really matter?

Now that I know Ace is a “Rokita” mix (50 percent Rottweiler, 25 percent Akita, 25 percent anybody’s guess), what can I do with the information?

And what of Elliot? Does knowing his somewhat fuzzier lineage — 25 percent golden retriever, 25 percent boxer, and 50 percent unknown — provide any information that might be helpful to him and his owners?

The experts at Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel MX mixed breed analysis, say yes — that knowing what’s in your mutt can help you better understand his or her behavior, and better be on the lookout for potential medical problems.

With Ace, they say, I should be aware of the potential for hip and elbow dysplasia, as both of the known breeds in him are prone to that. I should keep him on the lean side (something I’ve been unable to do with myself), and consider supplementing his diet with glucosamine, for optimal joint health. Also, since Rottweilers and Akitas are both prone to cataracts and other eye problems, I should keep an eye on his eyes.

With Elliot, hip dysplasia is also a concern, as, later in life, is cancer, which has a high incidence in boxers and golden retrievers. Elliot, based on the breeds found in him, could also be predisposed to skin issues, allergies and hypothyroidism.

Depressing as it all sounds – I, for one, would rather not know what afflictions lay ahead for me – I’ll admit that the information is somewhat useful.

Read more »

Ciao, chow chow, I’m Akita now

 

My dog’s lineage took another wild swerve last night when it was revealed that — contrary to an earlier DNA test that showed him to be Rottweiler and chow — he is actually Rottweiler and Akita.

The two detectable breeds in my dog Ace (left) and Elliot (right) were revealed at our “ohmidog! Identity Crisis and Breed Reveal Party,” which raised $500 for the Franky Fund for sick and injured animals at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).

While Ace’s mix was correctly guessed by a member of the crowd that gathered at the Idle Hour Tavern for the reveal, nobody nailed the two breeds that showed up in Elliot Gould: boxer and golden retriever.

Kelly Gould, Elliot’s owner — though she has nothing against boxers and golden retrievers — immediately demanded a recount, saying the DNA test’s findings were not at all in line with what she suspected.

Elliot, the winner of our “What’s in Your Mutt” contest, spent the day before the party at my house, where he behaved, in true mutt fashion, magnificently. At the Idle Hour, guests sized up Ace and Elliot, and tossed their guesses, along with their Franky Fund donations, into a fishbowl.

At 8 p.m., the envelopes were opened and the test results were announced. The two winners — in Elliot’s case, the person who came closest, picking boxer/shepherd — will receive ohmidog! sweatshirts. From the rest of the entries, three more winners were drawn to receive dog treat baskets, courtesy of K-9 Kraving Dog Food.

Thanks to K-9 Kraving, the Idle Hour, Mars Veterinary (makers of the Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis test kit), Dr. Johnny Slaughter (the vet who took the blood samples), and all those who showed up for the party.

(Tomorrow: Now what? We’ll take a look at what, if anything, the test results mean — to the dogs and their caretakers.)

Ace and Elliott: What’s in the mix?

Ace and Elliott both bravely submitted to having their blood drawn yesterday for DNA testing, meaning it’s only a matter of time until our ”What’s in Your Mutt Mystery Contest” reaches its final chapter.

Elliott was the winner of our reader contest in which mutt owners wrote about their dogs and why they wanted to know the breeds that were in them.

Ace is my dog, whose DNA test last year — not long after the tests first came out — was recounted in the Baltimore Sun series, Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”

The Canine Heritage test — a home version in which the pet owner swabs the inside of the dog’s cheek and sends the swab in for analysis — found him to be Chow and Rottweiler, two of the 38 breeds that particular test, at that particular time, checked for.

Since then, the technology has improved.  The new Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis, from Mars Veterinary, tests blood, drawn and sent in by your veterinarian, and can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. The new Canine Heritage test, available from MMI Genomics, can now detect more than 100 breeds through cheek cells collected on the swab.

When Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel, offered us a chance to try out the new product we agreed. The company sent us two free test kits, one for Ace, one for our contest winner, who turned out to be Elliott.

On Saturday, we all gathered at my house for the blood drawing — Ace, Elliott, his humans, Andrew and Kelly Gould, and Dr. Johnny Slaughter, a mobile veterinarian in Baltimore, and ohmidog! advertiser, who volunteered his services. Read more »

A new twist in Ace’s tale

The saga of my dog Ace, though already told, may be in for some revision.

My Baltimore Sun series on Ace’s roots — which traced everything from how he ended up in the city animal shelter to the breeds that, according to a DNA test, were in him — originally appeared last year. (You can find the video version of “Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?” on our dog-umentaries page.)

Now, with advances in technology, were going to reexamine Ace’s earliest chapters. The simple cheek swab DNA test we gave him in connection with the earlier project, which checked for 38 breeds, showed only two — Chow and Rottweiler.

Now, we’re going to try the new and more sophisticated blood test, from Mars Veterinary — the Mars Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis – which can determine the presence of 157 breeds.

As a result, we may find out that there is more to Ace — breed-wise — than we originally thought, perhaps we’ll even find out what accounts for his size, which, height-wise, exceeds that of both of the breeds found in him.

Mastiff, horse and minivan were among the guesses last time around, in addition to the more common ones — Akita (which would explain his curly tail), shepherd and Great Dane (which would explain his size). As it turned out most people were wrong, at least according to the Canine Heritage Test.

This time around, we’re going to ask for guesses as well. Those who can name each and every breed — in the form of a comment on this entry – will win a free ohmidog! hooded sweatshirt.

In addition, we’re checking the DNA of our contest winner, Elliott. To guess his breeds, go here.

The process starts this weekend when the blood of Ace and Elliott will be drawn by Dr. Johnny Slaughter, mobile veterinarian, and we’ll give you updates along the way. When the results are in, we’ll all get together — likely at a bar — to hear the results.

Meantime, guess away. Here’s some info on Ace: He’s 121 pounds (having recently dropped a few), is about as tall as me (5′ 9″) when he stands on his hind legs. HIs tail makes a complete loop — at least when he’s happy. He works, off an on, as a therapy dog, loves all humans, and almost all dogs. He’s an Aries (we think) and likes long walks on the beach, watching birds and curling up with a good book, as long as somebody else is reading it.