Why do some dogs need high chairs, and how can genetics help?

Why do some dogs need high chairs, and how can genetics help?

Jake, the German Shepherd Dog in Bailey’s Chair. Dogs with esophagitis should eat in an upright position to help the food move into their stomachs. Credit: Beth Grant

Some dogs have to eat in a high chair – or more specifically, a Bailey chair. The chair keeps them upright while they eat so gravity can do the work their bodies can’t: move food from mouth to stomach.

these dog They have an esophagus, a disorder of the esophagus that can prevent dogs from properly digesting food and absorbing nutrients. When you swallow a morsel of food, it travels through the muscular tube, the esophagus, into the stomach. The esophagus in humans is vertical, so the muscles of the esophagus do not have to fight gravity. But because dogs are four-legged, a dog’s esophagus is more horizontal, so “there’s a greater load on peristaltic contractions to move food into the stomach.”

In dogs with esophagus, the esophagus dilates, and these contractions are less effective. Instead of moving properly to the stomach, food can remain in the esophagus, exacerbating the problem and preventing proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Dr. Lee Ann Clark, assistant professor at Clemson University, recently spoke at Duke University about megaesophagus in dogs and its genetic underpinnings. She has authored dozens of publications on canine genetics, including Five Cover Traits. Her research primarily includes[mapping] Alleles and genes that underlie disease in dogs. “In complex diseases like the esophagus, this is easier said than done.” The disease has a spectrum, Clark says, and “spoiler: it makes mapping more complicated.”

Clinical signs of megaesophagus, or megaesophagus, include regurgitation, cough, loss of appetite, and weight loss. (We might use the word “symptom” to talk about human conditions, but “a symptom is something someone describes — eg, I feel sick. But dogs can’t talk, so we can only see the “clinical signs.”) Complications from enormity can include aspiration pneumonia and, in severe cases, gastroesophageal intussusception, Emergency Where dogs’ suck their stomachs in esophagus. “

Sometimes esophagitis resolves on its own with age, but that’s when lifelong management is not required. There is no cure for mega, but management can include vertical feeding, smaller and more frequent meals, soft foods, and sometimes medications. until liquid water It can cause problems, so some dogs who have large amounts of water get “water cubes,” made by adding a “gel” to the water, instead of a regular water bowl.

In dogs, megakaryosis can be congenital, that is, present at birth, or acquired. In cases of esophageal acquisition, the condition is “usually secondary to something else,” and the root cause is often never identified. (Humans can acquire acromegaly, too, but as with acquired megalobomas, the cause of acromegaly in humans is usually a pre-existing condition. The best human comparison, according to Clark, might be achalasia, a rare disorder that causes difficulty swallowing.) . Current research focuses on the congenital form of the disease in dogs.

Her lab was recently published paper Investigating the genetic basis of MEG. Unlike some diseases, acromegaly is not caused by just one gene mutation, so identifying genes that may play a role requires some genetic screening work. “You see the massive breeds,” Clark says, “which suggests an environmental component, but the disease is more prevalent in some breeds than others. For example, 28% of all diagnoses were in German Shepherds. That was a “red flag” that genes were at least partially responsible.

Clark and her collaborators chose to limit their research study to German Shepherds. Although a wide variety of dogs were included in the study, they did note that males were significantly overrepresented. Clark believes that estrogen, a hormone more abundant in females, may have a protective effect against megakarama.

Clark and her team performed a Genome-wide association study (GWAS) to search for the most common alleles in dogs with Mg. One allele that was found to be a major risk factor was a variant of the MCHR2 gene, which plays a role in feeding behaviours. In breeds where there is a large representation, such as German Shepherds, “we have a situation where the dominant allele in the population is also the risk allele,” Clark says.

Using the results of the study, they developed a test that can identify which version of a gene a particular dog has. The test, available at veterinary testing companies, is designed “to help breeders reduce the frequency of the risk allele and plan the matings least likely to produce affected dogs.”

Introduction of
Duke University


the quote: Why do some dogs need high chairs, and how can genetics help? (2022, November 18) Retrieved November 18, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-dogs-high-chairs-genetics.html

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