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The aim of this study was to analyze the most common diseases and genetic defects that occur during the lifetime of giant dog breeds, to determine the average lifespan and the cause of death/euthanasia. Data were obtained through a survey and concerned the health of 241 individuals of giant dog breeds held in the Czech Republic. Evaluated items involved an average lifespan, an average lifespan per gender, cause of death, reasons for euthanasia, cause of mortality (especially in selected Mastiff type breeds), life expectancy per breed and incidence of diseases among giant breeds during the lifetime. The average lifespan in giant breed dogs was found to be 7.60 years. A significant difference (P ˂ 0.05) was found between life expectancies in males and females, with female dogs reaching 1.42 year higher age (8.10 years) than males (6.68 years). The most common cause of spontaneous death among giant breeds was gastric dilatation and torsion (28% of dogs) and for euthanasia osteosarcoma (38% of dogs). The cause of mortality especially in selected Mastiff type breeds of dogs was gastric dilatation and torsion (30% of dogs). This is the first broad analytical study concerning this topic published in the Czech Republic.
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Scientia agriculturae bohemica, 51, 2020 (1): 9–14 9
animal ScienceS
doi: 10.2478/sab-2020-0002
Received for publication on May 11, 2019
Accepted for publication on November 28, 2019
* Supported by. the Ministry of Agriculture, Project No. MZeRO0714, and by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Project
No. MSM 6046070901.
According to the International Canine Federation
(FCI), dog breeds with body weight over 40 kg are
considered to be giant breeds. In these individuals,
however, the weight in adulthood often surpasses the
average weight of a human (B a r a n y i o v a et al.,
2009). While each of dog breeds originated through
targeted selection for certain traits, unwanted selec-
tion of individuals and entire breeds prone to certain
hereditary diseases was still underway. Additionally,
the process of each breed formation involved a bottle-
neck effect. Consequently, the series of bottlenecks
left genetic footprints in the breeds that have been
manifested in a high prevalence of diseases in certain
breeds (L i n d b l a d - To h et al., 2005).
It has been shown that the lifespan of large dog
breeds is shorter and these causes are relatively well
documented in dogs (e.g., F a v i e r et al. 2001;
B a r t k e , 2017). One of the possible reason for the
‘aging’ effect is related with a higher level of the growth
hormone (GH) in correlation with plasma IGF-1 con-
centrations in comparison with the smaller breeds of
dogs (B a r t k e , 2017). Another problem of the giant
breeds is a small breeding base. Due to inbreeding,
genetic diseases are more prevalent (J a n i s , 2007).
Giant and large breed dogs with a deep chest are
more predisposed to the gastric dilatation and volvulus
(GDV) syndrome (U h r i k o v a et al., 2012), although
there is evidence of similar cases in small and miniature
breeds of dogs in the case studies (T h o m a s , 1982).
Examples of deep-chested breeds include Great Dane,
N. Fiala Šebková1, H. Chaloupková1, L. Zavadilová2
1Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural
Resources, Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Prague, Czech
2Institute of Animal Science, Prague-Uhříněves, Czech Republic
The aim of this study was to analyze the most common diseases and genetic defects that occur during the lifetime of giant
dog breeds, to determine the average lifespan and the cause of death/euthanasia. Data were obtained through a survey and
concerned the health of 241 individuals of giant dog breeds held in the Czech Republic. Evaluated items involved an aver-
age lifespan, an average lifespan per gender, cause of death, reasons for euthanasia, cause of mortality (especially in selected
Mastiff type breeds), life expectancy per breed and incidence of diseases among giant breeds during the lifetime. The average
lifespan in giant breed dogs was found to be 7.60 years. A significant difference (P ˂ 0.05) was found between life expectan-
cies in males and females, with female dogs reaching 1.42 year higher age (8.10 years) than males (6.68 years). The most
common cause of spontaneous death among giant breeds was gastric dilatation and torsion (28% of dogs) and for euthanasia
osteosarcoma (38% of dogs). The cause of mortality especially in selected Mastiff type breeds of dogs was gastric dilatation
and torsion (30% of dogs). This is the first broad analytical study concerning this topic published in the Czech Republic.
Canis lupus familiaris, Molossian type, Irish Wolfhound, lifespan, cause of death, reason for euthanasia
10 Scientia agriculturae bohemica, 51, 2020 (1): 9–14
Greyhound and Setter dogs (G l i c k m a n , 2000). High
risk of mortality resulting from GDV threatens mainly
large and giant breeds (E v a n s , A d a m s , 2010). In
dogs weighing over 45 kg, the susceptibility to this
syndrome is 20% higher than in other breeds (B e c k et
al., 2006). The close inbreeding among individuals who
underwent the disease even increases the subsequent
risk of potential GDV syndrome (G l i c k m a n , 2000).
Giant breeds of dogs are 20 times more likely to
develop osteosarcoma than smaller breeds. In this
regard, breed-specific predisposition does not play
any major role; the size and weight of the individual
are much more important. R o s e n b e r g e r et al.
(2007) calculated the statistics for various dog breeds
affected by osteosarcoma. In addition, they studied
age and gender as risk factors in three dog breeds in
which the incidence of osteosarcoma was the most
frequent. The greatest prevalence was found for Irish
Wolfhound (21/339 – 6.2%), Rottweiler (51/969 –
5.3%) and Great Dane (13/297 – 4.4%). E g e n v a l l
et al. (2007) report Irish Wolfhound, St. Bernard Dog
and Leonberger being the breeds of the greatest risk
of exposure. Gender was not identified as a risk factor
for osteosarcoma to develop; rather, the risk increased
with age in each of the breeds.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) forms another
common cause of death in large and giant breeds of
dogs. It results in heart failure with subsequent death
(M e u r s et al., 2012; W e s s et al., 2012). Breeds
such as Doberman, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water
Dog, Boxer, Great Dane, Cocker Spaniel, and Irish
Wolfhound show a higher prevalence of this disease
(B r o s c h k , D i s t l , 2005). Further, a very high preva-
lence of the disease is indicated for Irish Wolfhound
in the study by P h i l i p p et al. (2012).
The current study focuses on the analysis of the
most common diseases, the causes of death and the
life expectancy of giant breeds in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic ranks among a breeding ground
with a high number of dogs per capita, therefore initial
analysis of the state is crucial and may contribute to
improving the breeding of these breeds.
Data were collected from 15 veterinary clin-
ics located in various cities of the Czech Republic,
a survey from databases of veterinary clinics, from
practicing veterinarians who were able to cooper-
ate in the research. Veterinary practitioners recorded
a summary of diagnosis of the disease as well as the
cause of death or the reason for euthanasia, where
appropriate, from an inserted list of individual code
numbers for each disease. Data were collected only
if they concerned pure breeds with FCI pedigree and
covered only animals that had died. Data were re-
trieved of 241 individuals of the breeds listed below:
English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro,
Bullmastiff, Irish Wolfhound, Caucasian Shepherd
Dog, Komondor, Landseer, Leonberger, Great Dane,
Newfoundland Dog, Central Asian Shepherd Dog,
St. Bernard Dog, Tibetan Mastiff, and Spanish Mastiff.
All dogs were born after January 1, 1998. The survey
was asking for elementary data relating to the health
of the dogs – breed, gender, history of diagnosed
diseases, lifespan reached and cause of death, as well
as the information whether the dog had spontaneous
death or died via assisted euthanasia. The data were
collected in 2012–2015; all the owners lived in the
Czech Republic.
Statistical analysis
For the needs of later statistical processing, the
sourced data were transferred from words into a
numerical form with each character and its replace-
ment assigned a specific number. Data converted into
numbers were processed using Statistica version 9
(StatSoft, Czech.Republic s.r.o.). The statistical evalu-
ation was done using t-test, Scheffé’s test, Shapiro-
Wilk test using R program, non-parametric Wilcoxon
signed rank test (also known as Mann-Whitney
U test), ANOVA test and testing for P-value from
binomial distribution. Differences were considered
significant at P ˂ 0.05.
Table 1. Average lifespan of giant dog breeds
Breed nMale Female Average lifespan
English Mastiff113 5 8 7.81
Irish Wolfhound348 15 33 7.52
Leonberger220 218 9.50
Great Dane1107 38 69 7.05
Newfoundland Dog213 4 9 9.88
St. Bernard Dog216 7 9 7.13
Total 217 71 146
Weighted average lifespan 7.60
1group FCI 2.1., section: Molossian type, subsection: Mastiff type; 2group FCI 2.2., section: Molossian type, subsection: Mountain type; 3group
FCI 10. Sighthounds
Scientia agriculturae bohemica, 51, 2020 (1): 9–14 11
Average lifespan
The average lifespan in giant breed dogs (both
genders) was 7.60 years (n = 241, confidence interval
7.22–8.00) (Table 1).
Lifespan by gender
The average lifespan was 6.68 years for male dogs
(n = 85, confidence interval 6.01–7.36) and 8.11 years
for female dogs (n = 156, confidence interval 7.65–
8.57). There was a significant difference (P ˂ 0.05)
in life expectancy between male and female dogs.
The results are summarized in Figs. 1 and 2.
Cause of death
Spontaneous death for various reasons occurred in
62% of dogs (149 animals), while assisted euthanasia
was carried out in 38% of dogs (92 animals). The
most common cause of spontaneous death was gastric
dilatation and torsion (28% of all the dogs that died
without applying assisted euthanasia, i.e. 41 out of
149 animals), while death from unknown causes was
the second most frequent cause when 17% of dogs
died of natural decrepitude (25 animals). Circulatory
diseases formed the third leading cause with 10% of
dogs dying of the condition (15 animals). As regards as-
sisted euthanasia, osteosarcoma was the most common
cause with 38% of animals so treated, i.e. 35 dogs out
of the 92 cases of euthanasia applied. Musculoskeletal
disorders formed the second most common reason
for euthanasia, which was applied in 18% of dogs
(17 animals), while gastric dilatation and torsion was
the third most frequent cause with euthanasia applied
in 12% of dogs (11 animals).
Also in young dogs up to 4 years of age
(n = 25), as in the whole sample, dilatation and gas-
tric torsion were the most common cause of death
(n = 8). In the second and third place were diseases
of the circulatory system (n = 3) and poisoning and
injuries (n = 3).
Only breeds ranked by group FCI II – as section
2 Molossian type, subsection 2.1 Mastiff type were
selected for the sample, i.e. English Mastiff, Dogue
de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Bullmastiff and Great
Dane. In this group, gastric dilatation and torsion
formed the most common cause of death. Out of the
total of 127 animals of Molossian type, subsection 2.1
Mastiff type dogs, 48% of dogs died as a result of the
syndrome (38 animals).
Life expectancy per breed
The computation was limited to breeds with at
least 10 representatives to ensure that the results are
statistically significant. After testing at the P = 0.05
significance level, one can definitely conclude that there
is a statistically significant breed-specific variation as
regards the average lifespan. More attention was sub-
sequently given to testing the statistical significance.
To this end, Scheffé’s test was employed where life
expectancy per breed was the variable. The detailed
assessment based on Scheffé’s test shows that there
is a statistically significant difference only between
Great Dane and Leonberger breeds.
Table 1 makes it evident that the highest lifespan is
reached by Newfoundland Dog (9.88 years) followed
by Leonberger (9.50), while the shortest lifespan is
that of Great Dane (7.05 years).
Prevalence of diseases during the lifetime as per giant
dog breed
The R program tested increased/decreased levels
of representation of diseases per breed (applied only
to breeds represented by more than 10 individuals)
(Table 2).
Figure 2: Life expectancy histogram for female dogsFigure 1: Life expectancy histogram for male dogs
9 10 11 12 13 14
7 8 9
11 12 13 14 15
12 Scientia agriculturae bohemica, 51, 2020 (1): 9–14
A significant difference (P ˂ 0.05) for an increased
rate of disease representation was demonstrated in the
following breeds:
● English Mastiff; specifically for osteoarthritis and
hip dysplasia (level C to level E),
● Leonberger; specifically for osteosarcoma,
● Great Dane; specifically for gastric dilatation and
● Newfoundland Dog; specifically for osteoarthritis,
hip dysplasia (level C to level E), and inflammation
of the uterus (pyometra),
● St. Bernard Dog; specifically for osteosarcoma and
ear infection.
A significant difference (P ˂ 0.05) for a reduced
level of disease representation was demonstrated in
the breeds listed below:
● Irish Wolfhound; specifically for hip dysplasia (level
C to level E),
● Great Dane; specifically for hip dysplasia (level C
to level E), cancer (osteosarcoma) and inflammation
of the uterus (pyometra).
Percentage of disease per breed during the lifetime
Osteoarthritis was most often diagnosed for English
Mastiff (38.46%) and Newfoundland Dog (30.77%).
Gastric dilatation and torsion was most often noted
for Great Dane (39.25%). Hip dysplasia (level C to
level E) was most frequently diagnosed in English
Mastiff (38.46%) and Newfoundland Dog (38.46%).
Dilation cardiomyopathy was diagnosed to the ex-
tent of 10% in the selected 10 breeds, only for Irish
Wolfhound, the prevalence was 10.42%. Osteosarcoma
was diagnosed to the increased extent in St. Bernard
Dog (50.00%) and Leonberger (40.00%). Inflammation
of the uterus was diagnosed mainly in Newfoundland
Dog, where the disease affected 55.56% of the nine
female dogs. Otitis externa infection became pre-
dominant for St. Bernard Dog where 43.75% suffered
from the illness.
The study of dog diseases and the length of their
life expectancy has recently become increasingly
important. Just as the dog offers a natural model for
human conditions and diseases, a simple observa-
tion leads to the conclusion that the canine aging
phenotype also mimics that of the human. Genotype
information, biochemical information pertaining to
the GH/IGF-1 pathway, and some limited longitu-
dinal investigations is the reason why the domestic
dog was first considered an animal model on aging
(B e r r y m a n et al., 2008).
In the world (mainly USA and Great Britain), studies
on the lifespan and disease of dogs have been published
(e.g., Michell, 1999; Glickman, 2000; Gagnon
et al., 2009; E v a n s , A d a m s , 2010). However, there
was no scientific study on the subject in the Czech
Republic, a country with a high concentration of the
dog population.
A recent study indicated the median lifespan in
dogs to be 12 years (O ’ N e i l l et al., 2013). The lower
threshold of the same in giant breeds as provided herein
(7.60 years) fully corresponds to the opinion that the
prolonged lifespan is associated with a small body
size in several species of mice, in dogs and in humans
(Patronek et al., 1997). Stourac, Labrousse
(2007) reported that giant breeds age relatively faster
Dog breed
Disease-> 1 2 5-7 17 18 21 23 26 29
p-value-> 0.0871 0.2863 0.0871 0.0830 0.0664 0.0913 0.2116 0.1369 0.1245
English Mastiff
*0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846 0.3846
** 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009 0.0009
Irish Wolfhound
*0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625
** 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796 0.7796
*0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000
** 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239 0.3239
Great Dane
*0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467 0.0467
** 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762 0.1762
Newfoundland Dog
*0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077 0.3077
** 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071 0.0071
St. Bernard Dog
*0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625 0.0625
** 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230 0.8230
*P-value for the degree of disease representation, **P-value for the level of significance
Explanatory key for the table: 1 - Osteoarthritis; 2- Gastric dilatation and torsion; 5-7 - Hip dysplasia, level C to level E; 17 - Dilated cardiomyo-
pathy, negative finding; 18 - Dilated cardiomyopathy, positive finding; 21 - Other; 23 - Cancer (osteosarcoma; 26 - Inflammation of the uterus
(pyometra); 29 - Ear infection
Table 2. Statistical evaluation of the diseases prevalence
Scientia agriculturae bohemica, 51, 2020 (1): 9–14 13
than smaller breeds, their average lifespan being about
7 years; they provided a similar average lifespan as
we did in the present paper. Most of the data in the
studied sample came from Great Danes (107 amimals)
and Irish Wolfhounds (48 animals). Both of the breeds
gain much attraction among breeders in the Czech
Republic and their numbers considerably exceed those
of other giant dog breeds.
Out of the evaluated giant breeds, Great Danes had
the shortest lifespan (7.1 years). M i c h e l l (1999)
reports an estimate of life expectancy for Great Danes
to be 8.4 years, while A d a m s et al. (2010) give
8.5 years and O ’ N e i l l et al. (2013) provide the av-
erage lifespan of Great Danes to be a mere 6.0 years.
The value found in the present study is placed within
the range above.
The average lifespan of Irish Wolfhounds from the
studied sample was 7.52. This corresponds with data of
U r f e r et al. (2007) where the estimated life expectancy
was between 4.95 - 8.75 years in Irish Wolfhounds.
However, previous research has demonstrated that all
Irish Wolfhounds alive worldwide during the study
time can be traced back to one recent bottleneck in
the 1950’s. As recently as the 1990´s, the gene pool
was further limited by the use of several popular sires,
each of whom sires 30 to 40 litters (J a n i s , 2007).
Statistically, females were demonstrated to achieve
a significantly higher life expectancy than male dogs.
This fully corresponds with the results reported by
Miller, Austad (2005) as well as O’Neill et
al. (2013). Likewise, K e n g e r i et al. (2013) report a
longer exposure of the ovary in the body of Rottweiler
females as a prerequisite for successful longevity. A
higher life expectancy is provided in female mammals,
which applies even to humans (G a g n o n et al., 2009).
As regards mortality, gastric torsion or dilatation
formed the most common cause of death (natural
death and euthanasia) in giant breed dogs regardless
of gender (22%, i.e. 52 animals), followed by osteo-
sarcoma (20%; 47 animals). The number of dogs that
died naturally (62%) exceeded that of the dogs that
died by means of assisted euthanasia (38%) nearly
two times. According to available data, owners and
veterinarians in various countries make use of assisted
euthanasia in dogs to the varying degrees. According
to the study of O N e i l l (2013) from England, the
rate of assisted euthanasia was 86.4%; for the UK,
52% was reported by M i c h e l l (1999). A study from
the USA (Gobar, 1998) reported 71%, P a t r o n e k
et al. (1997) showed 70.2% for purebred dogs and
68.5% for hybrids. Opting for euthanasia may also
pose a moral dilemma for the veterinarian (Ye a t e s ,
M a i n , 2011) and emotional turmoil for the dog owner
(M c C u t c h e o n , F l e m i n g , 2001). Instances of
reasons behind the lower rate of employing assisted
euthanasia in giant breeds that was found in the present
study may include the fact the gastric dilatation and
torsion forms the most common cause of death. This
disease arises in healthy animals suddenly, progressing
very fast. It usually occurs after the evening feeding
with the owner finding a dead dog outside the house
in the morning. The most common cause for assisted
euthanasia found in the present study was osteosar-
coma. In this diagnosis, dog owners were opting for
euthanasia in 74.4% of cases (35 events of assisted
euthanasia out of 47 diagnosed cases of osteosarcoma).
Such a high number reflects holder opinions preferring
the quality of life to longevity.
In general, among the investigated giant breeds of
dogs, the most common cause of spontaneous death
was gastric dilatation and torsion, followed by osteo-
sarcoma with applied euthanasia. The females had
a longer lifespan than males; however, the average
lifespan was 7.6 years. Among the investigated breeds,
the most frequently repeated health problem was hip
dysplasia. This initial analysis may be useful for a
subsequent breed selective recovery program.
The authors wish to thank A. Köhlerová for help
with data collection.
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Corresponding Author:
Dr. Ing. Naděžda F i a la Š e bk o v á, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources,
Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, 165 00 Prague 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic, phone: +420 224 383 045,
Lifespan and time of death of dogs died in Switzerland between 2016 and 2020 were evaluated in order to increase the awareness of the public to animal welfare-related consequences of extreme brachycephalic breeding and to clarify the torture breeding problem of dogs suffering from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). Skull shape, body size, country of origin and altitude of the registered place of residence at the time of death were analysed in a set of anonymized data from the national animal database Amicus as potential factors influencing the life expectancy. Death rate during summer months and the altitude of the reported place of residence at death were analysed in relation to the skull shape to demonstrate the heat intolerance of brachycephalic dog breeds. The final dataset included 137 469 dogs. The average age of death of the study population was 11,8 years, mixed breeds reaching a higher average age of 12,4 years than purebred dogs with 11,5 years. Bodyweight classification, skull shape and the origin of the dogs had a significant effect on the average lifespan. Giant breeds reached with 9,0 years the lowest mean age compared to the other bodyweight categories. The mean life expectancy of brachycephalic dogs was 9,8 years, i.e., 2,1 and 1,7 years less than mesocephalic and dolichocephalic dogs, respectively. Brachycephalic dogs and dogs imported from abroad showed increased mortality at a young age.
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Mammary Cancer is the most prevalent form of malignancy to occur in female dogs. With metastasised malignancies representing 50% of diagnosis, current treatments produce little efficacy towards survival and induce harsh adverse side effects, thus there is need for novel therapeutics. Venoms have been shown to exploit anti-cancer properties with specific selective effects towards many forms of human cancers, thus, the prospect of anti-cancer inhibition towards Canine Mammary Cancer is a feasible hypothesis. Utilising in-vitro cell viability assays, panels of venoms from snake, scorpions and spiders were profiled against canine mammary cancer cells lines, CMT28 and CMM26, and an immortalised normal canine kidney cell line, MDCK. Screening of these venom fractions identified selectivity towards the cancerous cells utilising venoms from the Naja genus by >70% inhibition. Mass spectrometry data of 5 fractions identified them as 3-finger toxins with 3 of the fractions identifying as novel cytotoxins and 2 matched to sequence in the database of the same species. Epidermal Growth factor receptor- 2 (HER2) is a key antigenic target in Human breast cancer and has been shown to be as a potential therapeutic target for Canine Mammary Cancer. Utilising computational modelling and molecular docking simulations, the identified cytotoxins obtained from mass spectrometry have been predicted to bind to the dimerisation loop of the extracellular domain of HER2, that is hypothesised to inhibit dimer formation. In practice Canine HER2 demonstrated to have a high binding affinity for proteins in whole snake venoms, signifying the potential of HER2 being a therapeutic target for the treatment of Canine Mammary Cancer.
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Although larger species of animals typically live longer than smaller species, the relationship of body size to longevity within a species is generally opposite. The longevity advantage of smaller individuals can be considerable and is best documented in laboratory mice and in domestic dogs. Importantly, it appears to apply broadly, including humans. It is not known whether theses associations represent causal links between various developmental and physiological mechanisms affecting growth and/or aging. However, variations in growth hormone (GH) signaling are likely involved because GH is a key stimulator of somatic growth, and apparently also exerts various “pro-aging” effects. Mechanisms linking GH, somatic growth, adult body size, aging, and lifespan likely involve target of rapamycin (TOR), particularly one of its signaling complexes, mTORC1, as well as various adjustments in mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, thermogenesis, inflammation, and insulin signaling. Somatic growth, aging, and longevity are also influenced by a variety of hormonal and nutritional signals, and much work will be needed to answer the question of why smaller individuals may be likely to live longer.
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The aim of this study was to determine total antioxidant capacity in dogs with gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome (GDV) and its correlations with high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) and lactate concentrations. Correlation analyses between the measured parameters and disease severity were also performed. Fourteen dogs with GDV and six control dogs were used in this study. Blood was collected at the time of admission and again in the early reperfusion period. To assess antioxidant capacity, total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) analysis was performed. No significant difference in TRAP values existed between healthy dogs and dogs with GDV at admission. In the reperfusion period, TRAP values decreased in six dogs and increased in eight dogs. Changes in TRAP values strongly correlated with HMGB1 values (r = −0.83, P < 0.01) in the reperfusion period. Strong correlations between disease severity and TRAP values, HMGB1 and lactate levels were also found.
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The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of body size of dogs on their coexistence with humans in Czech households. For this purpose we used questionnaire data on 246 dogs indicating the breed. The dogs were divided into five body size groups, i.e. toy (T, up to 5 kg body mass, n = 32), small (S, 5-10 kg body mass, n = 52), medium size (M, 10-17 kg body mass, n = 39), large (L, 17-33 kg body mass, n = 70), giant (G, over 33 kg body mass, n = 53). The largest dogs surpassed the body mass of the smallest dogs at least seven times, and giant dogs weighed at least one half and toy dogs less than one tenth of the average body mass of people in the Czech human population. Despite this the majority of the studied traits regardless of body mass of the dogs showed no significant differences. In the vast majority of Czech households all dogs were considered household members, taken on travels or vacations, photographed and their birthdays were celebrated. Aggressiveness of the dogs did not correlate with their body size. Among the 84 traits of the behaviour of dogs and their owners, which were analysed, only 23, i.e. 27.4% traits were significantly related to their body mass. Larger and heavier dogs were more frequently kept in houses with yards and gardens, in rural environments. Toy and small dogs prevailed in urbanised environments, in apartments. They were allowed to use furniture, sleep in beds of household members. Moreover, toy dogs predominated in one-person households. Large dogs were more often trained, sometimes by professional trainers, obeyed commands better and were more often described as obedient. They were considered not only as companions but also as working dogs. Giant size dogs were also more often trained to be protective. These data show that the differences in the body size of dogs modified their co-existence with humans only to a limited extent.
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Here we report a high-quality draft genome sequence of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), together with a dense map of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across breeds. The dog is of particular interest because it provides important evolutionary information and because existing breeds show great phenotypic diversity for morphological, physiological and behavioural traits. We use sequence comparison with the primate and rodent lineages to shed light on the structure and evolution of genomes and genes. Notably, the majority of the most highly conserved non-coding sequences in mammalian genomes are clustered near a small subset of genes with important roles in development. Analysis of SNPs reveals long-range haplotypes across the entire dog genome, and defines the nature of genetic diversity within and across breeds. The current SNP map now makes it possible for genome-wide association studies to identify genes responsible for diseases and traits, with important consequences for human and companion animal health.
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Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a highly prevalent and often lethal disease in Irish wolfhounds. Complex segregation analysis indicated different loci involved in pathogenesis. Linear fixed and mixed models were used for the genome-wide association study. Using 106 DCM cases and 84 controls we identified one SNP significantly associated with DCM on CFA37 and five SNPs suggestively associated with DCM on CFA1, 10, 15, 21 and 17. On CFA37 MOGAT1 and ACSL3 two enzymes of the lipid metabolism were located near the identified SNP.
Pet death, like other losses, requires that the bereaved adjust to the often severe consequences of that loss. Previous research suggests there may be specific owner characteristics and situational variables that can affect how individuals adjust to the loss of their pet (Thomas, 1982). The present study investigated the influence of a number of variables on how one adjusts to companion-animal death including: Cause-of-Death (euthanasia versus natural death); Attachment; Gender; Age; Time-Since-Loss; Type-of-Pet; Replacement-of-Pet; and Household-Make-up. Voluntary participants (N = 103) completed the Grief Experience Inventory (Sanders, Mauger, & Strong, 1985), the Companion Animal Loss Scale (Stallones, Johnson, Garrity, & Marx, 1989), and a General Information Questionnaire. Major findings indicated that: 1) owners whose pets died naturally experienced significantly more total grief, social isolation, and loss of control compared to owners who had their pets euthanized; 2) female owners experienced significantly greater depersonalization, death anxiety, and rumination compared to males; 3) younger owners experienced significantly greater anger/hostility and despair than elderly owners; and 4) owners who lived alone experienced significantly greater somatization than owners who lived with others. Results of the present study suggest reasons why some owners may be "at risk" for excessive grief reactions due to the loss of their companion animal. The importance of providing bereaved owners with a source of mental health counseling is discussed, and directions for future research are suggested.
The strongest evidence in favor of the idea linking early life growth rate and aging comes from the analysis of size and mean life span among dog breeds. The squared correlation coefficient indicates that more than half of the life-span variation among breeds is explained by the factors-virtually all genetic-that modulate interbreed differences in body weight. The differences in longevity among dog breeds of different sizes seemingly reflect not only survival per se but also real differences in aging rate in multiple degenerative conditions. Diseases appear earlier in larger breeds compared to smaller ones. Indeed, the age at which clinical veterinarians consider dogs to require "geriatric" care ranges from 6 to 9 years in giant breeds to 9 to 13 years in smaller breeds. Life span of rodents can be extended by at least two classes of nutritional manipulations, those that diminish total caloric intake and those that restrict the levels of essential amino acids, such as methionine or tryptophan.
Improved understanding of longevity represents a significant welfare opportunity for the domestic dog, given its unparalleled morphological diversity. Epidemiological research using electronic patient records (EPRs) collected from primary veterinary practices overcomes many inherent limitations of referral clinic, owner questionnaire and pet insurance data. Clinical health data from 102,609 owned dogs attending first opinion veterinary practices (n=86) in central and southeast England were analysed, focusing on 5095 confirmed deaths. Of deceased dogs with information available, 3961 (77.9%) were purebred, 2386 (47.0%) were female, 2528 (49.8%) were neutered and 1105 (21.7%) were insured. The overall median longevity was 12.0years (IQR 8.9-14.2). The longest-lived breeds were the Miniature poodle, Bearded collie, Border collie and Miniature dachshund, while the shortest-lived were the Dogue de Bordeaux and Great Dane. The most frequently attributed causes of death were neoplastic, musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. The results of multivariable modelling indicated that longevity in crossbred dogs exceeded purebred dogs by 1.2years (95% confidence interval 0.9-1.4; P<0.001) and that increasing bodyweight was negatively correlated with longevity. The current findings highlight major breed differences for longevity and support the concept of hybrid vigour in dogs.
To better understand the potential trade-off between female reproductive investment and longevity in an emerging model of human healthspan, we studied pet dogs to determine whether intensity of reproduction (total number of offspring) encumbered the likelihood of exceptional longevity. This hypothesis was tested by collecting and analyzing lifetime medical histories, including complete reproductive histories, for a cohort of canine "centenarians" - exceptionally long-lived Rottweiler dogs that lived more than 30 % longer than the breed's average life expectancy. Reproductive intensity (number of litters, total number of pups) and tempo of reproductive effort (age at first reproduction, mean interbirth interval, age at last reproduction) in 78 exceptionally long-lived female Rottweilers (>13 years old) were compared to a cohort of 97 female Rottweilers that had usual longevity (age at death 8.0-10.75 years). We found no evidence that a mother's physiological investment in offspring was associated with disadvantaged longevity. Instead, similar to some studies in women, our data showed an inverted U-shaped trend, suggesting that moderate investment in reproduction may promote longevity. Late reproductive success, a much-studied surrogate of maternal fitness in women, was not a strong predictor of longevity in this canine cohort. Instead, independent of reproductive investment, the duration of lifetime ovary exposure was significantly associated with highly successful aging. Our results from exceptionally long-lived pet dogs provide rationale for further investigative efforts to understand the ovary-sensitive biological factors that promote healthy longevity in women and pet dogs.
Three cases of gastric dilatation with or without torsion are described in small or miniature breeds of dog. Gastric neoplasia in the form of leiomyomata was present in two cases.