We are confident that a significant amount of risk for bloat will be explained purely by genetics,” and thus provide data to develop a test for the disease, says Sharp.
A genetic test could determine which dogs are at highest risk of developing bloat. At-risk dogs could undergo preventive surgery known as gastropexy to affix the stomach to the abdominal wall so it can’t twist. It would also be a breakthrough for the dog-breeding community, Sharp says. “A genetic test would help them dramatically reduce the likelihood of bloat in future offspring.”
If you have a dog that has had bloat and would like to contribute DNA to the study, please email Claire Sharp at email@example.com.
Here are a few resources on bloat if you’d like to learn more.
Specifically, when exposing the handlers to stress that is irrelevant to the detection task, we were surprised to find that the dogs showed a superior performance across all measures. Focusing on the handler–dog interface, we found that when the handlers’ anxiety level is elevated, the dog performance is improved. We postulate that since the handlers’ exposure to stress elevated anxiety level and impaired their attention, it may have led to less control over the dog. Consequently, it allowed the dogs to ‘take control’ and manifest their training outcomes. This alleged locus of control transfer may explain the improved performance of the dogs, and further emphasizes the importance of the handler–dog interface.
Maybe feeling stressed is a good thing during a tracking trial. :)