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The beagle is a small, robust and compact dog breed from the Kennel Club’s hound grouping, and one that many of us over a certain age associate more with hunting and working roles rather than life a pets.
However, as many of the beagle’s traditional working roles have been eroded over the years, this breed that was once largely considered to be only a good fit for working roles has successfully begun to make the transition to that of a pet, and dogs of the breed today are fast gaining traction as pets and companions for people from all walks of life.
The beagle breed as a whole is loyal, affectionate, personable and friendly with both other dogs and people, and they also tend to get on well with children and love playing and spending time with them. They are also small and compact enough to suit even smaller homes, assuming that enough play and exercise can be provided for the dog to keep them fit and happy.
Beagles generally tend to be healthy and fit for life, but like most pedigree dog breeds, a number of hereditary health condition have been identified as posing a threat to the health and welfare of the breed as a whole. One such condition is called catalase deficiency (also sometimes known as either acatalasia or hypocatalasemia instead), and this is caused by a deficiency in the body’s ability to produce the catalase enzymes necessary to metabolise hydrogen peroxide, which is a waste product that the body generates as part of respiration.
There is a DNA health testing scheme in place for beagles that enables breeders to find out the status of their breeding stock prior to choosing a mating match, and later on, we will explain how the test works and how to get your own dog tested if you have any concerns. We will also explain how catalase deficiency in beagles is passed from dog to dog, and the effects that it has. Read on to learn more.
Catalase deficiency in beagles is an unusual and uncommon type of hereditary health condition caused by a gene mutation that affects the body’s ability to produce catalase, which is a type of antioxidant enzyme that the body needs to metabolise and eliminate hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is produced through normal respiration, and dogs that are deficient in the necessary catalase enzyme that processes it have a sensitivity reaction to hydrogen peroxide that can lead to the development of sores inside of and around the mouth, as well as having a range of other affects on the dog’s metabolism and digestive system.
In some affected dogs, catalase deficiency doesn’t cause any obvious problems and the presence of the condition at all may only be discovered by accident, although the condition can in some cases cause some very serious symptoms such as ulceration and even gangrene of the mouth.
Catalase deficiency in beagles is not a contagious condition, and the only way for a dog to develop the condition is to inherit the gene faults for it from their parents. However, catalase deficiency is an autosomal recessive health condition, which means that just because one parent dog has the condition, this does not necessarily mean that their pups will too.
It is the status of both parent dogs combined that dictates whether or not their puppies will have the condition too, and dogs may be either carriers of or affected by the condition, or clear of it entirely.
Two clear dogs will only produce pups that are also clear, whilst two affected dogs will produce affected puppies. Two carrier dogs bred together produces mixed results in their litter, with each pup having a 50% chance of being carriers, and a 25% chance of being either clear or affected respectively.
Breeding a clear dog with an affected dog will result in a litter of carriers, and breeding a clear dog with a carrier will result in 50% chances for each pup to be either clear or a carrier.
Breeding an affected dog with a carrier will result in 50% chances for each pup to be either affected or a carrier.
There is a DNA test available in the UK that allows beagle breeders to have their dogs screened for the presence of the gene mutation that causes catalase deficiency in beagles prior to breeding from them, so that they can predict the status of the subsequent litter.
In order to get a dog tested, a DNA sample needs to be taken and sent off to a laboratory approved to test the sample, and this is something that your vet can take care of on your behalf.
Once the sample has been tested, the dog’s result is returned to their owner. It is important to remember that you need to know the status of both parent dogs in order to work out the status of their litter, and so both parent dogs should be tested prior to breeding.
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