Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of Brothers and Sisters...and Doggy "Sniff Test"!

Just back from the clinic...Yup! Sunday fun!
Had 2 spay/neuters scheduled today; Koala and Bella, brother and sister. Reason that brought them on the surgery table? They made a baby together!
Oh Yes! Even if there might be a faint natural inhibition to inbreeding, the pheromones released by a female in heat is overwhelming and siblings do copulate with each other. While from a human perspective, it is morally repulsive to think of a brother and a sister having a baby together, the reason why nature does not favour this is different. Inbreeding (breeding amongst related individuals) brings out recessive weaknesses and pathologies and does not carry any variation in the species. Thus, inbred animals often have unusual characteristics but also express otherwise suppressed genes (recessive ones). A good example here in Mauritius are the specimens of blond/white Alsatians...these are all inbred animals; products of incestuous matings. Many of the Pedigree dogs are the products of a long line of inbreeding to obtain the desired morphology of the dog; shorter snouts for Boxers and Pugs; lower Hip Placement in the Alsatians; specific coat colour for Dalmations etc...and the list of genetic problems for these Pedigree dogs is long too!
So back to Koala and Bella...two cute Bichons; my advice to owners having animals related to each other in the same household - Please do not wait for them to copulate and have offsprings to think of spaying/neutering. This can be done from the age of 5-6 months.
Hah! Whilst waiting for the patients to recover from anaesthesia, owner asked me how, in nature, inbreeding is prevented. Well, the answer lies in the famous "sniff test" Loool! Whether dogs know each other or not; when they meet up, they often sniff each other's butt. We tend to think of it as them saying "Hello! Wassup!" but in fact the animals are seeking vital personal info from that area. Dogs possess anal glands that secrete an "aroma" rich in information about themselves. That, coupled with the fantastic olfactory capabilities of dogs,allows in single whiff the "sniffer"to  be informed about the sex, health status, temperament and how genetically related he/she is to him. So family members should recognise themselves by the similar smells they carry and this is supposed to inhibit any further sexual arousal.
Next time you see two dogs sniffing each other's rear you will remember me now! Hahaha!

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