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Characteristics + English

  • Despite the huge variety in coat color, there are only two basic pigments that determine the color of canines: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). All different variations in color are created by these two pigments, which are both forms of melanin. This handout discusses the details of genetics and coat color selection.

  • There are multiple methods of inheritance including autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and sex-linked inheritance that determine which characteristics (or phenotypes) are displayed by the offspring. There are also many polygenic traits (i.e., associated with multiple genes) as well as environmental factors that make prediction of disease or likelihood of passing disease onto offspring much more complicated.

  • Mutations are errors made during DNA replication. Mutations can be acquired as cells divide within the body or can be inherited if the parent’s DNA contains a mutation. Acquired mutations can arise spontaneously or can be triggered by external factors. Effects of mutation depend on what area of the DNA has been altered and can range from no effect to severe effects such as cancer development. Genetic markers can be used to determine genetic heritage such as breed origins.

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a long molecule that contains an animal’s entire genetic code. DNA is primarily located within the nucleus of each cell. In the nucleus, enzymes transcribe the DNA bases into a substance called RNA (ribonucleic acid), which serves as a messenger, taking the DNA message out into the cytoplasm of the cell where the RNA is translated into proteins. These proteins are responsible for a number of functions in the cell and throughout the body, primarily by acting as enzymes that regulate various cell reactions. DNA tests allow us to examine an animal’s DNA in order to see whether they carry certain genetic diseases. DNA testing can also be used to determine the ancestry of an animal.

  • Dogs use their noses infinitely more than humans to get around in the world and gather information. With specialized olfactory organs that detect pheromones, dogs' sense of smell is thousands of times better than humans.

  • This handout discusses the concept of hypoallergenic dogs. These breeds are meant to create less allergic reactions in people that suffer from dog allergies. Humans sometimes react to the proteins found in dog saliva and dander. Precautions to take when trying to reduce your exposure to these allergens are highlighted. As well, breeds that tend to be less reactive to dog allergy sufferers are discussed.

  • The lacrimal duct is part of the nasolacrimal system, a series of narrow tubes that allow tears to drain from the eye into the nose and mouth. This duct can sometimes become blocked or fail to develop properly, resulting in tears overflowing and potentially staining the face below the eye. The clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment options for the condition are explained in this handout.

  • Lories and Lorikeets are small to medium size, energetic parrots. They come from southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Polynesia. They are fun-loving, social birds with a variety of brightly colored variations. Lories and Lorikeets can be high-maintenance pets and require a specific type of diet.

  • Feral cats are fiercely independent and survive (but may not thrive) without the help of humans. They avoid people and hide, back away, or flee when they spot humans. Lack of immunization, parasite control, adequate nutrition, and hygiene put feral cats at risk of many life-threatening problems. TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Release) programs are the hallmark of controlling feral cat populations.

  • Mynah birds are best known for their ability to talk and mimic sounds. They are lively, social birds and have wonderfully outgoing personalities. A young, hand-raised mynah will be easier to tame and train compared to a wild, colony, or parent-raised bird. As with all pets, mynah birds require regular, routine veterinary checkups.