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Science Daily: Dog News

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Genes play a role in dog breed differences in behavior

Border collies are highly trainable, greyhounds love to chase, and German shepherds make good guard dogs. While the environment plays a role, traits like these are highly heritable, according to a study of 101 dog breeds. The work identifies 131 genetic variants associated with breed differences in behavior. View the source article

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Dog ownership associated with longer life, especially among heart attack and stroke survivors

Dog ownership was associated with a 33% lower risk of early death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27% reduced risk of early death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog. Dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners. View the source article

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Identifying a gene for canine night blindness

Researchers have identified the gene mutation responsible for a form of night blindness in dogs. Strategies to treat this condition, which affects a layer of neurons just below the primary photoreceptor cells, could also inform treatment of other diseases that rely on targeting this cell type. View the source article

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Immune response against Toxocara roundworms helps explain disease

Neurotoxocarosis (NT) occurs in humans when larvae of the Toxocara roundworm migrate into the central nervous system. That infection is accompanied by a complex molecular signaling cascade, including changes to anti-inflammatory lipid molecules, researchers now report. View the source article

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What wolves' broken teeth reveal about their lives

An evolutionary biologist has spent more than three decades studying the skulls of many species of large carnivores -- including wolves, lions and tigers -- that lived from 50,000 years ago to the present. She reports today the answer to a puzzling question. View the source article

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The problem with promoting 'responsible dog ownership'

Dog welfare campaigns that tell people to be 'responsible owners' don't help to promote behaviour change, a new report suggests. Dog owners interviewed for a study all considered themselves to be responsible owners, despite there being great variation in key aspects of their dog-owning behavior. View the source article

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Cats are securely bonded to their people, too

Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent. But a study of the way domestic cats respond to their caregivers suggests that their socio-cognitive abilities and the depth of their human attachments have been underestimated. The findings show that, much like children and dogs, pet cats form secure and insecure bonds with their human caretakers. View the source article

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Overweight Danes are more likely to have overweight dogs

A new study reports that the prevalence of overweight dogs is markedly larger among overweight owners than among normal weight owners. Part of the explanation lies in whether treats are used as training tools or ''hygge-snacks''. View the source article

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The diet-microbiome connection in inflammatory bowel disease

A change in diet is a go-to strategy for treating inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's. In dogs with a similar illness, researchers tracked specific changes in the microbiome as the pets went into remission. The team's findings, which mirror what is seen in children with Crohn's, could inform the design of improved therapeutic diets. View the source article

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How humans have shaped dogs' brains

Dog brain structure varies across breeds and is correlated with specific behaviors, according to new research published in JNeurosci. These findings show how, by selectively breeding for certain behaviors, humans have shaped the brains of their best friends. View the source article

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Yet another way dogs help the military: aeromedical patient evacuations

Animal-assisted therapy has many benefits in health care. Yet, its biological and psychosocial effects in the military are unknown, especially for injured, airlifted patients. Researchers teamed up with a non-profit animal organization that trains therapy dogs to see if an animal-assisted intervention could reduce stress in this setting. Results showed that levels of the stress biomarkers cortisol, alpha-amylase, and immunoglobulin A, significantly decreased after a 20-minute intervention with t

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Hush, baby -- the dog is whimpering!

We are all familiar with the sounds of a cat or dog vying for human attention, and for pet-owners, these sounds are particularly evocative. Dog sounds are especially sad to both cat and dog owners, who actually rate a whimpering dog as sounding as sad as a crying baby. View the source article

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Treating dogs with human breast cancer drug

Like many women who develop a particular type of breast cancer, the same gene -- HER2 -- also appears to be the cause of lung cancer in many dogs. Researchers found that neratinib -- a drug that has successfully been used to battle human breast cancer -- might also work for many of the nearly 40,000 dogs in the US that annually develop the most common type of canine lung cancer, known as CPAC. View the source article

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Dog down: Effort helps emergency medical staff treat law enforcement K-9s

Law enforcement K-9s face the same dangers their human handlers confront. Recognizing a gap in care for law enforcement K-9s injured on the job, a team of veterinarians, emergency medical services experts and canine handlers has developed protocols for emergency medical service personnel who may be called upon to help treat and transport the injured dogs. View the source article

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The growing trend of emotional support animals

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are showing up in places previously understood to be animal-free. The growing trend includes 'certifying' animals to provide emotional assistance to a person with a diagnosable mental condition or emotional disorder. New research outlines the ethical challenge and offers possible solutions to better serve both people who feel they need ESAs and those who must comply with the animals. View the source article

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Cancer without end? Discovery yields fresh insights

Scientists describe the evolutionary dynamics of a sexually transmitted cancer affecting dogs, which arose in a single ancient animal, living as much as 8.5 millennia ago. The findings provide fresh insights into disease evolution relevant to human cancer study and treatment. View the source article

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