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Genetic association with greater weight, adiposity and food motivation in obesity-prone labrador retrievers

E. Raffan, R. J. Dennis, C. J. O'Donovan, J. M. Becker, R. A. Scott, S. P. Smith and others

IN developed countries, the prevalence of canine obesity ranges between 34 and 59 per cent. Of all dog breeds for which data have been reported, labrador retrievers have the greatest documented obesity prevalence and have been shown to be more food motivated than other breeds. This study aimed to investigate the influence of genetic factors that might predispose certain dogs to obesity.

The genetic association with body weight and adiposity was tested in a cohort of 310 labrador retrievers. All dogs were weighed on electronic scales and the body condition score of each dog was assessed using a validated standard chart. Food motivation was assessed using a dog obesity risk assessment questionnaire, which is an owner-reported measure of dogs' behaviour related to food. DNA was extracted from saliva samples, and PCR primers were designed to amplify coding regions and flanking intronic regions of candidate genes. Initial sequencing was performed in 18 lean labrador retrievers and 15 obese labrador retrievers. The sequences were then aligned against the canine reference sequence.

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