DNA Testing: Who’s Your Daddy?

Post By Dr. Cindy Carter

Chiweenie? Corgiedoodle? Coton de Pekingnese? Do you ever wonder just what in the world kind of dog you have? Most of us don’t have an AKC registered pet. We adopt from shelters, Craigslist, or even rescue our best friend from the side of the road. In many cases we can guess fairly accurately what the prominent breed in our pet’s lineage is, but often the mix is more of a mystery. Lucky for us we live in the 21st Century, a time of Apple pay and Google; it only make sense that we should have come up with accurate DNA testing for dogs, right?!

There are lots of at-home test you can perform that take a cheek swab for analysis, with variable accuracy, but the most reliable results come from blood testing. At Corner Vet we are using the Royal Canin Wisdom Panel. The panel compares your pet’s DNA against an ever-growing database of genetic markers from more than 250 breeds, mostly those found in the AKC registry. So unless you’ve got a rare dingo pup they should be able to determine your pet’s general breed make-up. What’s more, the Royal Canin labs are USDA-accredited and their results are proven 99% accurate, and they are constantly testing more pure-bred dogs to add to their database to make it more fine-tuned.

It’s not only fun just to know what kind of dog you have, but also a very helpful guide in creating a tailored health plan for your pet. For example, Dachshunds are at risk for back disease, Labradors are more prone to arthritis, and Cavaliers may develop heart murmurs and valve disease. When you know your pet’s ancestry it can help prepare you for their possible future health issues, as well as give us as their health care providers more information about how to implement preventative medicine such as supplements or special diets.

Besides the fun of knowing exactly what breed markers your pet carries, a lot can be learned from DNA testing. In particular, the Wisdom Panel traces the MDR1 gene, which is often mutated in herding breeds and can change their absorption of certain drugs. This information can direct your veterinarian in knowing if certain medications wouldn’t be safe for your pet. There are over a dozen other markers that are tested for with each blood sample, and if any are found in your pet and further testing is needed, any of the doctors at Corner Vet can guide you through those next steps. The panel also gives an expected weight range (very useful for puppies) and age of adulthood and seniority (differs between breeds and sizes of dogs).

Not sold yet? Well here’s a few examples of some dogs we’ve tested from Corner Vet!!

Billie – Pyrenese and Australian Shepherd mix

Billie – Pyrenese and Australian Shepherd mix

Tippy – Portuguese Water dog, Lab, Shar Pei mix

Tippy – Portuguese Water dog, Lab, Shar Pei mix

Joey Byerlotzer – Lab, Bichon Frise mix

Joey Byerlotzer – Lab, Bichon Frise mix

If you have any questions about the DNA testing available at Corner Vet, feel free to give us a call or bring it up at your next wellness visit!

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