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lot49
So, we just noticed that Otis had some dried blood in his ears, at the bottom of the entrance to his ear canal, in both ears. Does anyone know what this could be? We're of course worried about mites, but he doesn't seem irritated, and he hasn't been shaking his head more than usual. The only other thing I could find about blood in the ears online is that it's evidence of a skull fracture (the bottom of my stomach definitely fell out at the thought of that)... But I definitely don't think it's any that serious -- his pupils are fine, he's acting normal, full appetitie and full of energy, wants to have his head patted as much as usual, etc. Does anyone know what this might be? He has a vet appointment on Wednesday, but I'm wondering if we should get him in sooner.
mornington
lot, is there any more dried blood (I mean fresh blood). He could have scratched himself. If you take an ear bud, and very gently insert it into the canal, you could see if there's more blood there (it's safer than in people as the dog's ear canal has a bend in it) and if it's dry. If he's going in on wednesday, and seems fine - and there's no more blood - there doesn't seem to be any need to take him in. Have you taken his temperature? Do his ears smell? You could ring the vet anyway, and see if s/he thinks it's a problem. God I sound such a condescending nerd. Sorry - I'm terrible at articulating vetty stuff - and you probablly have done all this already; I'm not really sure what it could be, I'm just saying everything I can think of that would indicate a problem.

I've found a house where I can have a dog! a dog! woo! *glees*
ginger_kitty
Lot, is the blood kind of a dark brownish color? And is there a smell like mornington asked? Has your pup been scrating at it's ears?

It could be a yeast infection in your pups ears. Two of my dogs have had water get trapped in there ears before which is the main cause of dog ear yeast infections. Floppy-eared dogs are more prone to them. But my cattle dog got one once too, and the vet told me to bring him in immediately b/c they can't be really serious w/ cattle dogs.

Ask your vet for some ear cleanser that helps dry out the water in dogs earsafter baths and swimming. My vet gives me OtiRinse. Which works great! My pups haven't had a problem since we started using it.

Mornington what kind of pup are you considering getting?
lot49
thanks mornington and ginger kitty! There's no smell...the blood is dark brown, but isn't all dried blood? mornington, I would never, ever think that you're a condescending nerd, especially when you're trying to help my pup! There's a tiny bit more dried blood in one ear tonight, but no smell, and he's not scratching or anything...But I'm thinking it might be yeast like you suggested, ginger -- he is floppy eared and goes swimming constantly in the summer. We're going to see if we can bring him in tomorrow for an appointment.

And woohoo on the new house mornington!!!! Yes, details please!
mornington
ooh, yeast. If he goes swimming loads, some sort of infection is most likely. I'm never sure how much I should say in here; we don't cover a lot of problems in details yet, and sometimes I don't know when I'm saying something really, really obvious. Dried blood is usually dark brown, if it isn't, then there's a problem (although the colour of a scab indicates whether it's a vein or an artery).

I'm thinking a rescue greyhound; it's not a big place - although the rooms are a good size - but it does have a little garden, and it's about five minutes from a park. Greyhounds are the only specific breed I want (other than a rotweiller-basset hound cross) and I can get contacts through uni, or the stadium - they have a rescue kennels there. Whatever I get, it'll be a rescue.
lot49
Aw, greyhounds are such great dogs. Congrats in advance, mornington!

And how does the color of the scab change when it's a vein or an artery? Inquiring minds want to know.

There is no blood or any indication of irritation in Otis's ears this morning, so we're just going to wait until his appt. tomorrow.
mornington
a paler scab indicates an artery - the blood is faster-flowing and therefore fewer red blood cells are trapped in the clot. A darker scab indicates a vein because more rbc's are trapped.
/geek

I'm thinking of getting a few books off amazon - any ideas? (jenn, any fantastic advice - I remember asking you ages ago, but it got eaten)
ginger_kitty
Awe, mornington. Greyhounds are such sweet, gentle dogs. I prefer rescue dogs as well. Two of our dogs are rescues.

Good luck at the vet tommorrow, lot.
turbojenn
awwww.....I'm so excited for your mornington!! My favorite book is "Adopting the Racing Greyhound" by Cynthia Branigan - that's really the defining text....Greyhounds for Dummies is a decent one too.

greytalk.com is a great online forum for issues and advice too....but beware, righteous right wingers abound there, so watch out. But when you have a sudden issue with your hound, they're a very caring and helpful group...just stick to the doggie discussions. rolleyes.gif You'll see a disproportionate number of threads about medical issues, but just keep in mind that people post much more often when there's a problem than when their dog is slobbering on the floor in the cutest way!

If you have any specific questions about bringing a hound home, just let me know...I can babble for hours..
mornington
thanks jenn! greytalk looks really interesting too. I'll probably have more questions later - I won't be getting him or her until at least september (I have exams, not much time, etc etc).

how did it go, lot?
lot49
Thanks for asking, mornington. The vet said that he couldn't see anything -- no sign of infection or mites, and no bad smell. But after we talked about it, I'm pretty sure the brown stuff probably was some secretion from a yeast infection and not blood. So we got some cleanser, which he absolutely hates. sad.gif We also got him a heartworm test and started on heartworm meds (there's almost no heartworm in our area, but we're hitting the road for a x-country trip soon). Otherwise, he's all happy and healthy.

ps, I never knew that about scab color!
halcyon
Hi fellow puppy people! I'm slightly at a loss with my new four-month-old puppy (whippet/?? mix?). Lily was abandoned in the desert with her brothers and sister when they were little tiny things, and in the month I've had her, she's adjusted to civilization pretty well (eta: is usually a friendly, smart little girl). Except...she barks madly at dogs, at people in the dark, at life-size cow sculptures...the dog one is what I'm not really sure how to deal with at the time.

I really don't think she would hurt them, and I know it means she needs more socialization, but does anyone have any advice on how to socially handle the situation? it seems like most of the time people are understanding, especially when I explain, but sometimes (particularly with children) people seem really offended or scared. What's a good way to handle this without looking like a pushover or a jerk?
turbojenn
halcyon - I just finished reading Cesar Milan's book, "cesar's way," and I think it could really help you. The main idea is that you are the calm, assertive leader, and you exude calm leadership for your dog. Turbo had a growling issue with other dogs after he was attacked, and it was an anxiety issue. Rather than avoiding people and other dogs, we continued to our normal routine, and when we approached other dogs, I just calmy stopped Turbo, held him firmly, and allowed the other dog to approach and sniff, and turbo would relax. Turbo's an older dog, so I don't know if this will exactly work with your pup, just keep working with her, take some training classes, and start setting up the groundwork for how you want her to behave. Good luck, and don't forget to enjoy your pup, and be the alpha!!
sillygrrl13
My bulldog's nose has been looking dry & rough for a week or so. It started across the top & now is a bit further down. Why is this happening & what can I put on it?
turbojenn
Is he dehydrated? That would be my first guess, especially in the hot days of summer. I'm not sure I'd put anything on his nose...he's just going to lick it off. How's his skin - is he getting more dandruff than normal?
mornington
I'd go with jenn. If it's cracking and he'll let you, you could rub some vaseline into his nose (although be careful not to get it up his nose too!). He'll lick most of it off, but vaseline isn't going to do anything to him, and it's a little more durable than moisturiser. I'd look at the rest of his skin too? Is he going swimming, or getting a lot of baths?

yay lot! good to know it's all alright.
halcyon
Thanks turbojenn! I actually read the book as well, and that aspect has been helpful...my trainer says something similar, that dogs pick up a lot of anxiety "through the leash" and how you handle it.

I tested it out the other day when we were strolling through my neighborhood and encountered a couple of coyotes (!!)...they watched us warily, and I wasn't afraid of them, so I tried my best to act like there was nothing to be concerned about (while still moving us along and away from them), and she looked at them, gave one halfhearted bark and trotted along with me. Impressive!
ginger_kitty
I have been hearing a lot lately about states like California and Colorado trying to pass legislation to ban certain breeds of dogs considered to be dangerous. Check out this list of dogs that are included in the possible bans. (It's appalling!!!!! Some of these are the best breeds)

1.*AIREDALE TERRIER
2.*AKBASH
3.*AKITA
4.*ALAPAHA BLUE BLOOD BULLDOG
5, *ALASKAN MALAMUTE
6.*ALSATIAN SHEPHERD
7.*AMERICAN BULLDOG*
8.*AMERICAN HUSKY
9.*AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER
10.*AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER
11.*AMERICAN WOLFDOG
12.*ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD
13.*ARIKARA DOG
14.*AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG
15.*AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
16.*BELGIAN MALINOIS
17.*BELGIAN SHEEPDOG
18.*BELGIAN TURVUREN
19.*BLUE HEELER
20.*BOERBUL
21.*BORZOI
22.*BOSTON TERRIER
23.*BOUVIER DES FLANDRES
24.*BOXER
25.*BULLDOG
26.*BULL MASTIFF
27.*BULL TERRIER
28.*CANE CORSO
29.*CATAHOULA LEOPARD DOG
30.*CAUCASIAN SHEPHERD
31.*CHINESE SHAR PEI
32.*CHOW-CHOW
33.*COLORADO DOG
34.*DOBERMAN PINSCHER
35.*DOGO DE ARGENTINO
36.*DOGUE DE BORDEAUX
37.*ENGLISH MASTIFFS
38.*ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL
39.*ESKIMO DOG
40.*ESTRELA MOUNTAIN DOG
41.*FILA BRASILIERO
42.*FOX TERRIER
43.*FRENCH BULLDOG
44.*GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
45.*GOLDEN RETRIEVER
46.*GREENLAND HUSKY
47.*GREAT DANE
48.*GREAT PYRANEES
49.*ITALIAN MASTIFF
50.*KANGAL DOG
51.*KEESHOND
52.*KOMONDOR
53.*KOTEZEBUE HUSKY
54.*KUVAZ
55.*LABRADOR RETRIEVER
56.*LEONBERGER
57.*MASTIFF
58.*NEOPOLITAN MASTIFF
59.*NEWFOUNDLAND
60.*OTTERHOUND
61.*PRESA DE CANARIO
62.*PRESA DE MALLORQUIN
63.*PUG
64.*ROTTWEILER
65.*SAARLOOS WOLFHOND
66.*SAINT BERNARD
67.*SAMOYED
68.*SCOTTISH DEERHOUND
69.*SIBERIAN HUSKY
70.*SPANISH MASTIFF
71.*STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER
72.*TIMBER SHEPHERD
73.*TOSA INU
74.*TUNDRA SHEPHERD
75.*WOLF SPITZ*

mornington
Pugs? Since when were pugs dangerous?

Ok, some of those dogs, IMO you should require a licence for - like a car. I wouldn't let just any guy off the street have a boerbol, those things are mean. I've worked with them, and they're too damned big to handle easily (they don't make conventional muzzles to fit these dogs) and really are bred to be dangerous (hello? lion-hunters?). But I do think that half the viciousness in a dog comes from the owner - temprament is heritable, but can be worked with. I've known some rotties that were as nice as pie, yet yorkies that would bite as soon as look at you; it all depends on the individual dog and how the owner trains and treats it.

There are only four breeds which need registering in the uk - the pitbull type (it isn't a breed here), the tosa, the fila brasiliera and the dogo argentino - they have to be neutered and microchipped, and then muzzled in public. I wouldn't ban them, though.
turbojenn
Yeah, I just don't believe in breed bans, either. Half of it is being a responsible owner and choosing the appropriate kind of dog for your lifestyle and dog handling abilities.

Yesterday, we got kicked out of the abandoned tennis courts on our street that we use as a dog run....we worked it out with the Alderman that the police would leave us alone in there, so long as we clean up the tennis courts, and agree to leave should anyone desire to risk breaking an ankle on the uneven surface and actually play tennis. So far, this has worked out well. Yesterday this fuckchop "Park District Security" guy drives through the park in his SUV, parks right in front of the entrance and then yells at us all to get out or he would write us citations. Uh, first of all, I have *never* in seven years in this neighborhood, seen "park security" - that's what all the bike cops are for, right? And second, am I supposed to believe that a sweaty, rude man, in a t-shirt with a security emblem silkscreened on it has the authority to write me a citation? No, I don't think so.

But more than anything, its one thing to ask us to leave, and an entirely other thing to be an asshole about it. I asked for his name, he wouldn't give it, so all of the owners who were in there wrote down the license number and ID# of the truck, and we all wrote letters to the Alderman last night.

I fully support the leash laws of the city - they're good for everyone, but I do NOT understand forcing us to leave a fenced area where the dogs and folks enjoying the park and beach are all safe. The lifeguard on duty felt so bad about it that he ran after us and apologized for the rude way we were treated...which was sweet.

Oh, and if the park security dude wanted to make everyone obey the rules, he really should have done something about all the people drinking likker in the park...that's against the law too. rolleyes.gif
pollystyrene
Airdale terriers? Like Asta from The Thin Man movies? WTF? Any dog who is untrained, unsocialized, uncontrolled (seems like their owners would be untrained, unsocialized and uncontrolled, too!) is a problem and you can't go by breed. Yes, some breeds have certain traits, but with training and socialization, you can work on them. People just don't take responsiblity for their dogs. My dog's not perfect and he has some issues, but I don't let him loose, and I make sure he doesn't have the oppotunity to cause trouble. We've tried to work on some of these issues, but Basenji's are really difficult. We're just always on the offensive with him.

That totally sucks, turbo. Hopefully you can get it worked out through your alderman...I think it's good that you went through him in the first place- at least it makes you look like responsible residents that you obviously are. Don't take crap from those rent-a-cops!
ginger_kitty
Yeah half that list shocked me. I have an Australian Cattle dog and they are one of the smartest dogs you can get. It's all about training and enviroment. Peolpe freak out b/c they can be protective, but that is what they were breed to do.

Yes, the CANE CORSO and the PRESA DE CANARIO can be dangerous breeds but it really is all about the owner's.

Turbo that sucks, that guy seems like a big jerk. I wouldn't give up your little dog spot so easily. Go back and see what happens.
mornington
I've just noticed labradors are on there. Seriously. Have they just gone "we'll ban every dog bigger than a chiwawa" (not that I'm especially biased against chiwawas, but at least a boerbol will warn before it bites).

I think the worst mix is when you have an agressive breed (like the tosa, or a doberman) and then team it with an agressive owner. A mean person makes a mean dog. The problem is that people will choose a dog on its aesthetics rather than its nature, and not treat it or train it in such a way that will counterbalance the inbuilt agressiveness of the breed. Any dog can be dangerous in the wrong hands, really.

jenn, that sounds... stupid. I hope you can get something sorted and the jerkish rentacop gets a damned good telling off for being so power-happy. It sounds like you weren't doing anything except keeping out of the way of all the dogless people!


turbojenn
Yeah, we went to the park twice today, and were not bothered at all. The rent-a-cop must've just been an anomaly. I still sent an email to the alderman...no one should be treated rudely by a city employee.
lowredmoon
hello busties!

my parents' shepherd has been shaking his head and scratching at his ears (which are semi-floppy, due to a genetic anomaly or something). each time they take him to the vet for this, the vet can't find anything wrong--no mites, no yeast. it doesn't look irritated inside, and it doesn't smell like anything but dog. i'm a cat person, so i'm totally at a loss here. suggestions of what it might be, and possible treatments would be incredibly appreciated.
gomersalgirl
that is the dumbest list I have ever seen! Golden Retrievers?!?! They are like the least harmful creature on the planet.

lowredmoon, have your parents had the dog's ears cultured? A couple of other things that I think of is a possible inner-ear problem, or possibly scratching at something outside his ears? Ask your vet to give you some dermalone (or something similar). Sometimes this makes all the difference even if there is nothing real obvious going on.

Good luck!
sidecar
That list is beyond stupid. The meanest dog in my neighborhood is a beagle. In fact, everyone on our block calls it The Evil Beagle. And it is eeeeevil. Meanwhile my shepherd/rottie mix is about as sweet as a dog can be, a real gentle soul.

I think it's all about owners. I got new neighbors recently, who never walk their pit mix (who is adorable but nasty). They leave him out for 30-40 minute stretches in their yard, during which he mopes about, barks, and HOWLS at all hours of the day. They shovel his poop into their garage, and then when it's too much, they just push it into the alley. I'm actually calling our alderman to complain about the poop in the alley, because it's getting into our area. Also, he keeps pushing his nose through the fence separating our buildings and trying to snarl at the dogs in my building.

on a new topic, we asked some neighbors to walk sophie while we were out at a concert yesterday, and they managed to lose her rabies tag, dog park license, and city license. I'll get started replacing those tomorrow, I guess.

The city of Chicago is proposing an ordinance requiring microchipping and charging higher fees to license dogs who aren't spayed or neutered, limit tethering, and fine people for letting their dogs roam free (and also make it officially legal to take your pup to a sidewalk cafe). It would also require daycares and groomers to be licensed. I have to say ... I'm all for this. The people in this forum are responsible owners, but there are so many people who aren't.

Jenn, how did you like Cesar's Way? I am thinking of reading it. I love that show.
turbojenn
I really liked Cesar's Way, and you would be most welcome to borrow it...then maybe we can finally meet, eh? smile.gif

Oh my cod, sidecar, I would have called the alderman, police, animal welfare, ANYONE, if there were a pile o' poop next to my building...that is beyond gross. And the flies....eeeewww.

I'm all for the microchipping ordinance, turbo is chipped already, the rescue chips all greyhounds before adoption, so that's a good thing.

I'm not sure how you could lose all those tags on a dog in just one walk....yikes!! Turbo wears a tag collar, and a separate collar that is attached to his leash, just for safety.

Yesterday morning, Turbo got a baby bunny and maimed it. I had to kill it. Poor thing. Turbo was just sniffing in the long grass like normal, and then I heard a squeak...and then I knew. I took it from him, and it was probably only a few days old, and he crushed the whole right side, and it wasn't going to live. I broke the neck, and buried it under a bush. This morning, of course, Turbo was all sniffies, wanting to catch another one.
moxiegirl
Um, i'm not a puppy mama, but what possible harm, in any possible way, could:

BOSTON TERRIER
or a
PUG

honestly do any damage to anything besides their funny faces? SHeesh.

Turbo, I'm sorry you had to finish off turbodog's little kill...i would'a been sad.
ginger_kitty
Yeah, there are tons of stories about killer Pugs on killing sprees!

Turbo, that must have been hard but you did the right thing so the poor thing didn't have to suffer. I know it's in a dogs nature to kill. But I get so sad when my dogs kill something. Just a few weeks ago they squished the hell out of a poor baby robin that fell out of its nest.
turbojenn
The really sick thing is how oh, so crazy turbo is to go outside and find another bunny to snack on! He is a crazy sniffing machine, to the point that it took 20 minutes to get to the end of the block this afternoon...that dog is on a mission.

Oh, yeah, and he's had heat diarhhea for 2 days....fun fun fun!

Well, my friends' pugs are very fierce - if anyone goes after one of the greyhounds at the dog park - fezziwig and oswin are fierce little ankle biters....its more funny than anything else, but damn, those little chunkers can transform into the angry little ewoks!
sidecar
Aw, turbo, I'm sorry about the bunny. I still haven't managed to call the alderman. Must do so tomorrow. I've just had so much work lately. It's funny, Sophie is also microchipped. I just feel so much safer knowing that if she got away, they could find us, you know?

I dunno. In theory, I am against nanny laws and legislating behavior, but now that I live next door to some of the most irresponsible dog owners I've ever met, I am in favor of it. (Also, the neighbor dog is a pit mix of some sort, and I get really angry because if that dog ever does hurt anyone, the reaction will be "Oh, well it's a pit bull" and the problem is not the breed but the way that dog is treated.)

At least the weather is about to break. Sophie can't handle more than a few blocks on her walks these days.
cloverbee
sorry to just jump in the thread but my roommate was biking home last night from the bar and a dog just ran up and bit him on the leg. bad. so we were up all night w/ the director of the humane society, the police and the hospital. they wouldn't go find the dog so we had to do a late night stalking mission at 4am to find the damned thing. we found it and now it's going to quarantine where it belongs. it's amazing to me that the owners just let it roam the neighborhood at night oblivious that it's out biting people. and I seriously doubt that this is the first time it has bitten someone. anyway, my roommate is outraged and rightly so. I hope they teach the owners a lesson. if your dog is aggressive around bicycles, then keep the damn thing on a leash! aaaarrrrgh. sorry for the venting.
turbo, if it makes you feel better, my dog tries to attack my neighbors ferret all the time. i think clover thinks it's a squirrel! she would kill it in a hearbeat.
GiGi21
Does anyone have any suggestions for a dog that would do well with apartment living- it needs to be 30 pounds or less. I'm planning on getting it from the shelter but there are still a lot of breeds available. As for that list a Mastiff?!?!? Those pooches don't even move! =)
ratgrl
GiGi21--ratboy and I lived in a one-bedroom apt. for the first 5 years of our marriage. During that entire time, we had our West Highland White Terrier with us, and he did fine in such limited living quarters. Westies generally weigh about 20 pounds and don't need much space.
ginger_kitty
Gigi, there are tons of small apartment size dogs available. It depends how much you are looking to spend. Dachsunds, french bulldogs, and pommerains are three of my fav. small dogs.

Don't forget about the adoption option this is a great way to find pups near you that need a good home:

http://www.petfinder.com/
halcyon
My pup came from an indian reservation in AZ...she's a skinny tan thing with a really long nose and skinny legs. Lots of people have suggested she might be part coyote, but there's no way to know since her parents weren't around when she was found. Personally, I'm not sure--I think she looks mostly like a whippet, but does have some similarities, and the vet said it's possible. Does anybody know anything about coyote-dog hybrids?

ETA: this is her! Whaddya think?
mornington
westies are a good apartment dog (there's one in the block across the road from us). And they are very sweet little chaps, usually (unlike those fearsome pugs). But definitely see what a rescue turns up with. I'm not a small-dog person, and I adore westies. And Scottish Terriers...mini schnautzer comes to mind too.

halcyon, there could be some wild-dog in her. She's beautiful!


gomersalgirl
I have two scottish terriers....but I have to warn you...they DO bark. Alot. Most terriers do bark, but I adore them. I think a pug or a french bulldog would be good!!
ginger_kitty
I just had to share this pic. It kinda looks like he is cracking up laughing.......

IPB Image
halcyon
thanks, mornington! smile.gif she's a delight.
sidecar
Gigi, it's too bad there's a weight limit, because I hear that Great Danes are actually terrific apartment dogs onaccounta the constant sleeping. Greyhounds are supposed to be good apartment puppers, too (Turbojenn will sing the gospel if you ask smile.gif )

One of my neighbors has a cockapoo who is 11 pounds, tiny, and very fun. My old neighbors had a small beagle mix, who weighed around 30 pounds and did pretty well in an apartment. Personally, I have a 70 pound rottie/shepherd mix who is pretty content in our apartment, but a big dog isn't for everyone.

speaking of whom, Sophie is attending doggie day camp today. I like to pretend that she's making lanyard necklaces and darkroom classes, but i suspect there's not too much arts and crafts going on. She realized within a minute of getting in the car that we were going to day camp and whined the whole way there.
turbojenn
What, did someone ask for a greyhound endorsement???!!! laugh.gif

I can attest that I currently have turbo and two guest greyhounds in my 900sq ft apartment for the next 2 weeks, and they co-exist beautifully, and make lovely floor rugs with piqued ears, listening for the slightest movement toward the treat box!

I love the idea of ms. sophie making lanyards, maybe some clay paw print tiles to give to you for dog momma's day!

I love Danes, but I could never have one - first there's the drool, and then there's giving up your couch for the dog, and well, I don't have a spare couch to give up! Seriously sweet dogs though. We dog sat for one awhile ago, and it kind of freaked turbo out that he wasn't the big dog he normally is. wink.gif
ginger_kitty
Okay, I apologize in advance for the extemely long post....but I found in another forum and found it incredibly interesting...

A new study in the August 11, 2006 issue of the journal Cell provides evidence that a form of cancer afflicting dogs has spread from one individual to another by the transmission of the tumor cells themselves. The disease demonstrates how a cancer cell can become a successful parasite with a worldwide distribution, according to the researchers.

The findings may have broad implications for conservation biology and for scientists' understanding of cancer progression, the researchers said.

Robin Weiss of University College London and his colleagues traced the origin of so-called canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) to a single clone. They estimated that the parasitic cancer arose at least 200 years ago in either a wolf or a closely related ancient dog breed. That makes the tumors the oldest cancer known to science, and possibly the longest continually propagated mammalian cell lineage in the world.

"Our results, based on several independent genetic markers in tumor-bearing dogs living on five continents, show that CTVT arose from a common ancestral cancer cell," Weiss said. "The cancer escaped its original body and became a parasite transmitted from dog to bitch and bitch to dog until it had colonized all over the world." Early in its evolution, the clone diverged into two separate lineages, each of which now has a broad geographic range, he added.

CTVT, also known as Sticker's sarcoma, is apparently transmitted among dogs through sexual contact but may also spread through licking, biting, and sniffing tumor-affected areas, the researchers said. Earlier studies found that the cancer could be transmitted only by experimental transplantation of living tumor cells, not by killed cells or cell filtrates. Scientists had also noticed similar chromosomal abnormalities in tumor samples collected in different geographic regions. However, several reports of virus-like particles in CTVT had led some to suspect that a cancer-causing virus might play a role.

"The idea that this cancer in dogs might be caused by the transmission of tumor cells themselves has been around for some time--30 years or more," said Weiss. "But the actual truth wasn't there."

The idea that cancer may be spread by cell transfer has attracted renewed interest due to the recent emergence of a facial tumor apparently transmitted by the bite of the Tasmanian devil, an endangered marsupial species, he added.

In the current study, the researchers applied forensic science to the study of CTVT, systematically examining tumor and blood samples from 16 unrelated dogs in Italy, India, and Kenya. They also examined tumor samples taken from animals in Brazil, the U.S., Turkey, Spain, and Italy.

They quickly found that DNA isolated from the tumor and blood samples were not a match.

"We saw that the tumor cells didn't belong to the dogs," Claudio Murgia, the veterinarian who is first author on the study said. Rather the tumors collected from dogs around the world were closely related to one another, stemming from a single cancer clone.

The researchers traced the origin of the CTVT cancer by comparing the sequences of tumor genes to the related genes of gray wolves and dogs. They found that CTVT clustered most closely with gray wolves, suggesting that the disease originated in wolves or a closely related East Asian breed of dog. Based on genetic variation among the very similar CTVT samples, the researchers estimated that the disease has been transmitted among dogs for two centuries or more.

The team further found evidence that CTVT has adapted to evade dogs' immune responses. Otherwise, the unrelated tumor tissue "ought to be rejected," Murgia said.

Interestingly, he added, most dogs infected with CTVT develop a tumor that then regresses several months later and disappears.

"It looks like there is an aggressive phase of growth as the foreign tumor initially isn't recognized by the immune system," Murgia said. "In the long run, the immune system gets the better of it."

"As a sexually transmitted cell, CTVT would not have been able to colonize dogs worldwide if it killed them too quickly; the host must survive in a fit state long enough to transmit the tumor, which in the case of females probably entails an estrous cycle."

The findings in CTVT might lead to new insights for cancer more generally, they said.

"It's a curiosity of nature, but apart from that, it might also raise important new ideas about the instability of cancer," Weiss said.

It has become dogma that as cancer develops, it tends toward greater genomic instability and becomes "more and more aggressive," he added. After the gross chromosomal rearrangements soon after its emergence, however, CTVT--the longest lived of all known tumor clones--bears "no evidence of genome loss or progressive instability."

The findings challenge the idea that there is "an inevitable progression of cancer towards more instability," Weiss said.

The study also raises important issues for conservation biology, said Elaine Ostrander in an accompanying preview of the article.

"At present, CTVT can enter the wild canid population through physical contact between individuals (licking and biting) or mating between closely related species," she said. "For highly endangered canids, exposure to CTVT could theoretically create an immediate threat to the population's survival."

It's also possible that the small population sizes of endangered species like the Tasmanian devil might leave them generally more prone to developing other forms of transmissible cancer.

"It has not yet been checked thoroughly, but the Tasmanian devil tumor looks as if it might be the same phenomenon," Weiss said.

"The low numbers of these animals has led to inbreeding. Therefore, the tumor probably isn't recognized as foreign," he speculated.

Although difficult to study, Weiss said that the possibility of sexually transmitted tumors--for example, prostate or cervical cancer--may have merit in humans, particularly among people with compromised immune systems such as organ transplant recipients and those with AIDS. In humans, occult tumors in donor organs have been known to emerge on rare occasions in immunosuppressed transplant recipients, Weiss noted.

GiGi21
Thank you guys for all the advice- I was looking at terriers as there are a lot of them on petfinder.com- I too wish we could have a great dane although a cuddler might be nice. What about Basset Hounds?
turbojenn
I love love love Bassets, they are so incredibly sweet. Good for apartments, definitely, but you have to be able to handle a little baying, so beware that the neighbors might have something to say about that. But, we have 3 bassets in our neighborhood, and I don't think anyone has had any problems. They can be drooley, so be prepared for that.
lucizoe
I just wanted to delurk to say - omigodturbo you have 900 square feet??!?!?

My inner claustrophobic hates you right now. Our apartment is under 300. Basically, we can't get a dog until Mr.Luci gets a raise so we can afford more space. Like planning for a kid, this.

Oooh, dog-search! I'm jealous! It's always so hard, but ultimately so fun to choose a new dog. I cannot wait, but we really can't even look until late next spring. *pout*
turbojenn
Yeah, I'm pretty happy with our space, its really the perfect size for two people and a very lazy dog! Our old apt. was a lot bigger, but now that we have our own place, I'm allowed to have dogs!
GiGi21
That's one of the things I don't get with the weight restricitions on the dogs- our apt is 1100 sq feet. Large enough for a big dog. That's one plus to living in WI- cheap rent (and cheese) lol
Pallas
Beautiful cattle dog gingerkitty! Is he half kelpie, half blue healer?

My dog, Shelby Sue, is that mix. She looks kelpie all over save for a silver blaze up the center of her nose and the blue is all over her chest. It's interesting to see the different ways the genetics assert themselves. I have always had cattle dogs and prefer them to other breeds. They're active enough to be fun but not high strung. Plus they're large enough that they are good protectors and small enough to sit on your lap to cuddle.
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