Achondroplasia: A Form of Dwarfism

Acondroplasia is a rare genetic disorder characterized by short stature.

Acondroplasia features include disproportionate stature. This basically means that the arms and legs are relatively small when compared to the torso (body). The size disadvantage acondroplasia patients have is more observable in the upper legs and arms (proximal).

Additional signs include a prominent forehead (frontal bone), a prominent jaw, and a flat or depressed region between the eyes. On occasion, there is overcrowding of teeth, and the upper and lower dentition have bad alignment. The disease occurs in all races with equal incidence in women and men. Achondroplasia attacks one in 25,000 to one in 40,000 people.

The lower extremities of a patient with achondroplasia almost always turns bowed, and occasionally the elbow joint can’t be straightened out completely. The arms are short and stumpy and the feet can be small, flat and wide.

Causes of Achondroplasia

A chemical modification within a single gene results in achondroplasia. It does not arise from anything the parents have practiced during or prior to childbirth. Achondroplasia starts from an autosomal dominate condition. What this means is a new chromosomal mutation or genetic alteration began to take place at the time of conception.

The disease may also be communicated from one generation to the next; 9 out of 10 babies born with this illness have average-sized mothers and fathers. If one adult has the disease, there is a fifty percent probability their baby will inherit a copy of the gene. If the mother and father both have the disease there is a twenty-five percent chance the baby will have a dominant gene factor and a seventy-five percent possibility of a single achondroplasia gene. This gene is referred to as FGFR3 (fibroblast growth factor).

Other Illnesses Related to Achondroplasia

Babies with this disease have an inclination towards middle-ear infections. This may occur until 5 or 6 years of life, and it may be owing to abnormal draining from the “pipe” that leads from the middle part of the ear to the throat (pharynx). Respiratory troubles can happen in babies and children, due to constricted nasal openings.

An individual with achondroplasia will have the same life expectancy as an individual without the disease. Hydrocephalus (water in the central nervous system) can also occur in certain instances of achondroplasia.

Kids with achondroplasia may successfully reach motor milestones of growth, but differently and more gradually than youngsters without the disease. For example the baby with achondroplasia might take much longer to sit up than a baby who does not have the disease – but there could always be exceptions.

What Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need? Vaccinations and the Symptoms of Canine Infectious Diseases

Vaccination is a crucial step in the health care of your dog to prevent Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Kennel Cough.

Most people know the importance of having their puppy vaccinated. Here are some details about canine diseases commonly vaccinated against in Australia. In addition to these diseases, some countries also vaccinate against Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Coronavirus etc. Not all vaccinations (apart from Rabies) are necessary and may depend on factors, such as pet health and the area you live in. Please see your local Veterinarian for further information. Here are 4 common diseases that should be vaccinated against:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Kennel Cough (Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease)

What is Canine Distemper?

Canine Distemper is an infectious viral disease (related to measles) that has a high morbidity rate and depending on factors including patient and the treatment provided, has a varying mortality rate. There is a risk for any dog to contract distemper, however, more susceptible are dogs between 3-9 months of age.

Distemper virus is shed in faeces, urine, vomit, saliva and nasal and ocular discharge. It is most commonly transferred by contact with an infected dog via inhalation of droplets or aerosol.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Pyrexia (fever)
  • Tonsillitis
  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of pharynx/sore throat)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of body condition
  • Hyperkeratosis of nose and footpads (thickening of skin)

What is Canine Hepatitis?

Canine Hepatitis is another infectious disease and affects the liver, lymph nodes and vascular endothelium (layer of cells of the cardiovascular system that regulates the transport of blood). Mortality is high with sudden deaths common in neonatal (newborn) puppies, which may not show clinical signs.

The virus is shed in faeces, urine and saliva and transmission is via dog-to-dog contact or contact with infected faeces/urine.

Symptoms can include:

  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Pyrexia
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Abdominal pain

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus is an infectious disease that causes myocarditis (inflammation of heart tissue) in puppies and acute gastroenteritis (stomach/intestine inflammation) in puppies and adults.

Parvovirus is shed in faeces and contact with contaminated faeces is the main source of transmission. Because Parvovirus is resilient, it can remain viable off the host for up to a year, facilitating its spread. It can also be transmitted through dog-to-dog contact.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (containing blood)
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Death (within a short time if not treated)

What is Kennel Cough?

Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease commonly known as Kennel Cough is a highly infectious disease and, as its name suggests, often occurs where dogs are kept together such as kennels or animal shelters.

It is transmitted via dog-to-dog contact via inhalation and is not life threatening like the previous viruses discussed, but still very uncomfortable for your dog and on occasion, the infection can last for months.

Symptoms can include:

  • Dry cough
  • Frequent coughing
  • Retching
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal discharge

How Often Should I Vaccinate?

This can vary slightly from vet to vet, but generally your puppy will need 3 vaccinations at the following intervals:

  • 6 weeks
  • 8-10 weeks
  • 10 – 12 weeks/14 weeks (depending on when the previous vaccination was administered)

The reason your puppy needs 3 vaccinations is because it is impossible to determine when the immunity the puppy received from its mother will ‘run out’. After your puppy has had its 3 vaccinations, it will require ongoing annual boosters, as this will build a good immune response.