What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing allows us to take a close look at your pet’s DNA to find out if there are any inherited diseases for which he or she might be predisposed.
Genetic testing is the use of DNA testing to determine the presence of a genetic disease or disorder in your pets. It can also be used to determine the breed ancestry profile of your pet, so you can understand the mixed breed profile of your pet and look out for certain medical conditions.
Using this information, your veterinarian can provide you with information about their risk of developing certain diseases in the future. Genetic diseases are caused by mutations (changes) in genes, which are segments of DNA that code for one or more traits such as hair color or blood type. Each cell of the body contains two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent. A mutation occurs when there’s an alteration in the DNA sequence between these two copies; this change may affect how well a protein is made by a gene and thus cause disease.
DNA testing is used to detect a number of diseases, including:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Patella luxation
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Allergic skin disease
- Inherited forms of cancer
- Congenital heart disorders
- Many more!
Why would I want to get genetic testing for my pet?
You may want to get genetic testing for your pet if:
- You want to make decisions about your pet’s health. For example, if you know that one of your dog’s parents had a genetic disease, this information can help you plan for the best treatment options should your dog develop the same condition.
- You want to know what your pet’s ancestry looks like. Especially if your pet is a mixed breed, genetic testing can show you what breeds make up their mix.
- You want to make decisions about breeding or showing your animal. Knowing that a parent has a condition such as hip dysplasia will help inform whether it is safe for them to breed in the future and whether their puppies would be more likely than average puppies to have similar conditions.
- You want better information about diet and exercise recommendations based on what is known about predispositions toward specific health problems, rather than just guessing at what might work well.
How does it work?
Genetic testing is done by collecting a sample of any cells containing a nucleus. Collection of these samples is done by rubbing a small, sterile brush inside of your pet’s cheek to collect epithelial cells from the area. The new sample is submitted to a laboratory for DNA analysis. This process is quite simple and can be done by the pet owner or a veterinarian.
Alternatively, in some cases, the test is performed on a single blood sample for assurance that large amounts of DNA are present. The veterinarian will draw the sample and send it to the laboratory for processing.
Book a genetic test for your pet.
Genetic tests have the potential to dramatically change our understanding of our pet’s health, and how we can treat them. If you’re interested in genetic testing for your pet, the VIP Animal Hospital team is here to help. Call us today to schedule your appointment.