Accessibility View Close toolbar
Blog Archive

WHY ARE DOGS SO FRIENDLY?

Many studies have studied the behavior of dogs and their connections to people but not all attempt to explain the genetic basis for this behavior.

A new study published on July 19 in the online journal Science Advances suggests that it has located one genetic marker that reveals hypersociability in dogs. Using the genetic markers in people who have Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS), a genetic disorder that makes

? people? friendly and trusting, researchers found the same marker in dogs showing that they had variations in the same kinds of genes that wolves did not possess.

Researchers noted that dogs continue to display hypersociability into adulthood and set them apart from wolves, even wolves who have been hand-raised by people. The study described hypersociability as “a multifaceted phenotype that includes extended proximity seeking and gaze, heightened oxytocin levels, and inhibition of independent problem-solving behavior in the presence of humans.”

Overall, dogs spent a greater amount of time gazing at humans and sought proximity to people more than wolves did. By developing an idea of the sociability of the dogs and wolves, researchers could then determine whether the genetic findings had any relation to their behavior.

As a result, the study proposes that one aspect of domestication is that individuals with hypersocial tendencies were favored under selective breeding leading to adult dogs that show exaggerated motivation to seek social contact unlike adult wolves.


WHAT GETS A CAT ADOPTED?

A cat who looks particularly grumpy or sweet doesn’t seem to be more likely to get adopted. But a cat who rubs up against toys or furniture is more likely to get a home.


Researchers wanted to see whether cat facial expressions had been subjected to selection during domestication. The study was published in the April 2017 issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science. A study published looked at whether the facial expressions of dogs had an influence over people and discovered that dogs who raised their brows more frequently were adopted more quickly than other dogs. The researchers concluded this was because the act made dogs look more like puppies and theorized the early domestication of dogs could have been influenced by facial expressions.


After categorizing facial expressions, researcher concluded that cat facial movements were not related to the speed with which they were adopted, but their behaviors did have an effected. Cats who frequently rubbed their bodies on toys and furniture were adopted 30% more quickly than cats who didn’t.


The researchers concluded that the study’s finding suggest people are more influenced by prosocial behaviors than facial expressions. This could mean that domestication of cats was not related to facial expressions like the domestication of dogs probably was.


ORIGIN OF OUR DOMESTICATED CATS

While ancient Egyptians might not have been the first to domesticate cats, they could be the reason behind the spread of cats across Europe and Asia.

Ancient Egyptian culture and artwork has shown us time and again how popular and revered cats were in their society. For that reason, it was believed for many years that they must have been the first to domesticate cats. However, in 2004, researchers discovered a 9,500-year-old cat buried with human remains on the island of Cyprus.

This new study shows that while Egyptians were not the first to domesticate cats, they likely lent to the popularity of the domestic cat.

The researchers performed ancient DNA analysis from bone, teeth, skin, and hair samples of 352 ancient cats. The cat remains tested covered Europe, north and east Africa, and southwest Asia. Samples spanned about 9,000 years, going back to before 6,500 BCE all the way up to the twentieth century CE.

The expansion of cats with this lineage is clear when looking at the progression from 400 CE to 1200 CE. The way Egyptians bred cats and developed the human-animal bond could account for this popularity.

Early depictions of cats in ancient Egyptian art often show them in a working setting—hunting rats, for example. But as time went on, those depictions changed to show domesticated cats living near and among people, like the famous depiction of a cat sitting under a woman’s chair from around 1500 BCE.

One other interesting aspect of the study looked at cats’ coat colors to see if human breeding played a hand in how cats looked as they have with dogs. They found that the blotched-tabby pattern does not appear in cats before the Medieval period. This suggests that ancient Egyptians bred cats for personality traits rather than looks.

And, without ancient trade routes and an Egyptian affinity for cats, maybe the domesticated breeds we know today wouldn’t be as widespread as they are.


PEOPLE CAN DISTINGUISH TYPES OF DOG GROWLS

Not everyone who hears a dog growling assumes they are being threatened.

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary tested whether people can identify the context of a dog’s growl. They used three different natural situations: dogs at play, dogs guarding food, and dogs faced with a stranger. Participants were able to identify the contexts for the growling at levels higher than chance, although they had a more difficult time distinguishing growls for guarding food and threatening a stranger.

Previous studies have suggested people have more difficulty differentiating between playful and threatening growls. The researchers hypothesized that the length of the growls in those studies, which were restricted to 1.2 seconds, caused confusion as that is shorter than an average aggressive growl and longer than an average playful growl.As a result, this study aimed to give the context of natural growling situations without modifying the frequency or time of the growls.

There were 40 participants, 14 men and 26 women. For the first set of growls, they received a scoring sheet for emotional scaling, choosing from five inner states: aggression, fear, despair, happiness, and playfulness. Rather than just choosing the emotion, however, they had a visual analogue scale and placed the mark along a line, allowing them to rate how strongly the growl associated with a particular emotion.

While the participants’ demographics had no effect on how they scored the growls emotionally, women and dog owners were more likely to correctly recognize the context of growls. Because these results differ from previous studies, the researchers concluded that the length and rhythm of the growls likely helped the listeners to correctly identify growls.


Exposure to household pets from birth could reduce a child’s risk for allergies and obesity.

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta looked at infant gut microbiota to see whether pre- or postnatal pet exposure would have a significant effect.

Mothers were given questionnaires and the infants were split into four categories based on exposure: no pet exposure in the pre- or postnatal periods; only prenatal pet exposure; both pre- and postnatal pet exposure; and only postnatal pet exposure.

More than half the infants had some exposure to pets—8% were exposed in pregnancy alone and 46.8% had exposure during both time periods.

To control for other factors, comparisons were conducted for specific groups with or without siblings, non-exclusively breastfed infants, as well as non-exclusively breastfed infants without siblings.

Pre- and postnatal pet exposure enriched the abundance of the bacteria of Oscillospira and/or Ruminococcus. It was determined that infants with high levels of Oscillospira and Ruminococcus would be at a lower risk for allergies and obesity.

Some of the benefits of pet exposure applied to infants who had prenatal exposure but not postnatal exposure, indicating that the microbiome exchange could take place before birth. The researchers concluded that further research is needed to link the microbiota changes with the health outcomes of infants in this study as well as children in other cohorts.


Stressed owners lead to stressed dogs.

Owners might be able to influence their dogs’ ability to adapt to stressful situations. Researchers from the University of Vienna conducted a study to see how owners and dogs might influence each other in adaptation to stressful situations. They wanted to see whether human and dog personalities might make the other more or less able to handle stress. In order to test this, researchers took samples of dog and human saliva after various testing situations and measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The researchers also used questionnaires to analyze the personalities of owners and their dogs.

Extended exposure to stress and anxiety can affect a person’s cortisol levels. If exposed to continued stress over time, the levels won’t vary much, even in reaction to extra stressful situations, indicating a more constant state of anxiety. For this reason, the researchers hypothesized that dogs and people with high cortisol variability were better able to adapt to stressful situations. They believe testing these levels of cortisol “may be an informative measure of stress coping, with a high amplitude between arousal peaks and relaxation lows reflecting healthy regulation.”

The study focused on 132 human-dog pairings. Owners completed questionnaires to assess their personality and their dog’s personality. Questionnaires evaluated the owner’s personality in five categories: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. They also considered the attachment between the owner and the dog.

Results showed that female owners with male dogs had the lowest cortisol variability of all owner gender-dog sex combinations. Owners who scored high in Agreeableness had higher cortisol variability as did owners with dogs who were cool and friendly.

Owners who scored high in Neuroticism had dogs with low cortisol variability. Neuroticism, according to the researchers, is linked to low expectations of social support, major depression and anxiety. As a result, dogs who are sensitive to their owners’ emotional state “may mirror the anxiety and negative expectations of neuroticistic owners in their cortisol variability.” Dogs who were insecure in attachments to owners also had low cortisol variability.

DO DOGS UNDERSTAND "BABY" TALK?

Using the high-pitched “dog voice” toward pets works better for puppies than adult dogs.

Researchers decided to look into this pet-directed speech, which is similar to the tone of voice used for human babies “known to engage infants’ attention and promote language learning.” In the first investigation of “potential factors modulating the use of dog-directed speech,” the research also aimed to determine its immediate impact on behavior.

To find out how dogs reacted to human speech, researchers had 30 female volunteers read a script while looking at pictures of dogs—both puppies and adults. The script included common phrases like, “Who’s a good boy?” They also recorded as if speaking to another person.

Analysis of these recordings found that the human speakers used dog-directed speech no matter the age of the dog in the photo, but that when speaking to puppies, the pitch of their voice did go up.

The recordings were then played for 10 puppies and 10 adult dogs. 9 out of the 10 puppies reacted strongly, barking and running toward the loudspeaker even when the recording had been made for an older dog. The adult dogs, meanwhile, did not react to speech directed at puppies, older dogs, or humans.

Adult dogs seemed to ignore dog-directed speech at least when the voice is from an unfamiliar person.

To find out whether speaking to puppies this way could help them learn words, like speech directed at infants does, more studies will have to be done.

Do Dogs Remember?

Have you ever wondered if your dog remembers things in the past? A new study suggests that might just be the case.

Researchers from MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group and Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary concluded that dogs have the same kind of “episodic memory” that humans do, and are able to recall past events.

The researchers took advantage of a trick called "Do as I Do." (Dogs trained to "Do as I Do" can watch a person perform an action and then do the action themselves, such as jumping in the air.) The dogs were able to mimic the researchers' actions.

To further prove the presence of episodic memory, the researchers trained 17 dogs to imitate human actions with the "Do as I Do" training method. Next, they did another round of training in which dogs were trained to lie down after watching the human action, no matter what it was.

After the dogs had learned to lie down reliably, the researchers surprised them by saying "Do It" and the dogs did. In other words, the dogs recalled what they'd seen the person do even though they had no particular reason to think they'd need to remember. They showed episodic-like memory.

Dogs were tested in that way after one minute and after one hour. The results show they were able to recall the demonstrated actions after both short and long time intervals although the memory faded somewhat over time.

Dogs are really much smarter than we ever thought!


WHEN TO SPAY OR NEUTER?

This question used to have an easy answer! Not anymore. In 2013, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine published a study revealing that neutered golden retrievers are seemingly at a higher risk of joint disorders and cancers compared to sexually intact dogs of the same breed. The university has now followed that research effort up with a study of long term health effects of neutering in golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers.

According to Benjamin Hart, DVM, Ph.D., lead investigator and professor emeritus at the veterinary school, the new study found that neutering impacts each breed's health differently.

"We found in both breeds that neutering before the age of 6 months, which is common practice in the United States, significantly increased the occurrence of joint disorders - especially in the golden retrievers," Hart said. "The data, however, showed that the incidence rates of both joint disorders and cancers at various neuter ages were much more pronounced in golden retrievers than in the Labrador retrievers."

So what does this all mean? It means we need more research! In the meantime, it is still our recommendation to spay a female dog before her first heat as we know definitively that even one heat cycle significantly increases the risk of breast cancer. Regarding the male dog? Take your time! Early castration is not a necessity, and our recommendation is anytime before one year of age. Regarding cats? Early spay/castration before 6 months of age is still the recommendation!

David A. Gordon, DVM
Oceanside Veterinary Hospital
Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital

home2.jpg

SUMMER POSES HEAT THREAT FOR PETS

In the heat of summer, it's important for people to take extra measures to keep their pets safe. As your pet's caretaker, you want to make sure they are staying hydrated! If you have to leave them outdoors, be sure to keep them in a shady area. Heat affects dogs quickly, which increases the risk of heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke include extreme tiredness or a high body temperature.

Over- heating is a very serious condition. Once the temperature starts to climb above 106 degrees F., the internal organs literally start to cook. It only takes a few minutes for this to become an irreversible process, so please be careful!

Here are some tips to help protect your furry friends in the summer:

1) Never leave your pet in the car. In just minutes, the temperature inside the car can reach more than 100 degrees, regardless of whether a window is cracked.

2)Take frequent water breaks if walking or jogging with your dog. Asphalt and concrete get hot quickly.

3)Keep the water in their bowl fresh and secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can't accidentally tip them over.

4) Immediately apply cold water to your pet's paws and tongue if they are showing signs of heat exhaustion to help cool them down. Signs can include excessive panting, vomiting, lethargic behavior. If this happens, we need to see your pet immediately.

David A. Gordon, DVM
Oceanside Veterinary Hospital
Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital

ACC_tCB_RGB_WEB.jpg

4 Internet Myths about Toxins in your Pet


Rumor: Almonds are toxic to pets

Like many rumors, there is some basis in fact here. Sweet almonds—the kind sold in stores in the United States for eating—are not toxic to pets, although it’s possible for gastroenteritis and pancreatitis to develop if a lot of sweet almonds are ingested.

Bitter almonds, on the other hand, contain a cyanide compound and are considered toxic. These are typically not sold in the U.S., but it may be possible to find them at some natural food stores. They should be clearly marked as bitter almonds.

Rumor: Pistachios are toxic to pets

We’re not sure why nuts get such a bad rap, but like sweet almonds, pistachios are not really toxic.

That being said, a pet who eats a large number of pistachios is likely to develop gastrointestinal distress and possible pancreatitis. And if pistachios are ingested with their shells a foreign body obstruction could result as well.

Rumor: Hostas make bubbles & bloat in a pet’s stomach

The theory is that since Hostas contain saponins, and saponins are used to make soap, if a pet ingests the plants they will make soap bubbles in the pet’s stomach. That, according to the rumors, leads to bloat.

It’s true that saponins are used to make soap, but it’s not true that soap or soap bubbles are produced in a pet’s stomach if plants containing saponins are ingested.

Rumor: All lilies are toxic to cats

This is a tough one because some lilies do cause acute kidney injury (AKI) but there are many plants that go by the common name lily.

Asiatic lily, Calla lily, Easter lily, Peruvian lily, Peace lily and Day lily all have lily in their name but only three are renal toxic to cats. Do you know which ones? If you said Asiatic lily, Easter lily and Day lily you are correct.

The best way to check is to look up the plants and see what their genus names are; if they are either Lilium sp. or Hemerocallis sp. then you should be worried. Calla lilies (Zantedeschia sp.) and Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) both contain insoluble calcium oxalate (note this is different than soluble calcium oxalate plants) which can cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation.

Peruvian lilies (Alstromeria sp.) are only concern for mild gastrointestinal upset; however they look a lot like Lilium sp flowers and are a favorite of florists to use in bouquets.

5 Strange Facts About Parasites You Should Know!

1) Indoor only pets can still get worms: 15% of plant potting soil contains roundworm or hookworm eggs or both! Pets can also get tapeworm by ingesting fleas.

2) Children do not get pinworms from their pets. They are only contagious from child to child.

3) 98% of intestinal parasites are not visible to the naked eye. That is why veterinarians insist on submitting stool samples to the lab for analysis.

4) Pets do not carry bed bugs or lice. Bed bugs are an environmental problem and lice are contagious only from other people.

5) Cockroaches are a source of parasites for indoor dogs and cats.

So, the best recommendation is...................have a stool sample analyzed for parasites at least once a year!

ANIMAL CRUELTY IS FINALLY BEING PUNISHED

Animal abuse, like any form of abuse, is unacceptable and this year, such crime statistics will be collected by at least one state, and at the federal level.

Tennessee launches first state animal abuse registry

In Tennessee, the first Animal Abuse Registry launched Jan. 1. The registry includes names and photographs, as well as ages and places of residence, of those who have been convicted of animal cruelty.

"This bill was modeled after the sexual offender bills where there is a registry that is kept on people who have committed sexual offenses, so people can look it up and see if they have a record, and we wanted to do the same thing with animal abusers," State Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, declared.

Nearly a dozen states considered animal abuse legislation last year, although Tennessee is the first state to sign it into law. Several local governments in New York have done the same.

FBI to collect data on animal cruelty crimes

In 2016, the FBI will begin to collect crime statistics from U.S. law enforcement agencies detailing animal cruelty crimes through its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), The data will be available to the public in 2017.

Animal cruelty is an early indicator of violent crimes.

The FBI will collect data on four types of animal abuse categories, including simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse, and animal sexual abuse.

ANIMAL CRUELTY IS FINALLY BEING PUNISHED

Animal abuse, like any form of abuse, is unacceptable and this year, such crime statistics will be collected by at least one state, and at the federal level.

Tennessee launches first state animal abuse registry

In Tennessee, the first Animal Abuse Registry launched Jan. 1. The registry includes names and photographs, as well as ages and places of residence, of those who have been convicted of animal cruelty.

"This bill was modeled after the sexual offender bills where there is a registry that is kept on people who have committed sexual offenses, so people can look it up and see if they have a record, and we wanted to do the same thing with animal abusers," State Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, declared.

Nearly a dozen states considered animal abuse legislation last year, although Tennessee is the first state to sign it into law. Several local governments in New York have done the same.

FBI to collect data on animal cruelty crimes

In 2016, the FBI will begin to collect crime statistics from U.S. law enforcement agencies detailing animal cruelty crimes through its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), The data will be available to the public in 2017.

Animal cruelty is an early indicator of violent crimes.

The FBI will collect data on four types of animal abuse categories, including simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse, and animal sexual abuse.

STRESSED OWNERS LEAD TO STRESSED DOGS.

In research conducted by Leeds Beckett University, researchers interviewed dog walkers about their relationships with their dogs on their walks. The aim was to examine how humans share space with their pets and how they negotiate the walking experience.

Lead researcher Thomas Fletcher explained in press release, “The study reveals that humans walk their dogs in large part because they feel a deep-rooted emotional bond with them and hold a strong sense of obligation to ensure they stay fit and healthy. Perhaps more interestingly, humans also walk their dogs because they believe their dogs have fun and are able to be more 'dog-like' while out on a walk.”

The study found that people thought of the walk as something they did for their dog and that characteristics of the walk, including timing, length, and place were determined by the dog’s personality and what the people thought the dogs liked and disliked the most.

Many walkers indicated, for example, that they would avoid high-trafficked areas if they thought being around other people and dogs would be stressful for the dog on their walk.

Contact Us

Send Us An Email Today! We'll Provide You With That Winning Smile!

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours Of Operation

We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday:

7:00 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am-7:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-7:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-7:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed