Understanding your dog’s DNA can help you plan their health for the rest of their life. The best dog DNA tests reveal a wealth of information from their ancestry to their risk for common genetic health issues like hip dysplasia and eye conditions.
Just remember that you should always consult your vet before making major medical decisions based on DNA test results. For example, a certain mutation could indicate your dog’s susceptibility to osteoarthritis but they may still avoid the condition altogether.
Veterinarians typically run several tests on your dog during a physical examination. These include blood work, a biochemistry profile and urinalysis, which detects things like bladder infections, diabetes and kidney disease. If your dog is drinking a lot of water, having difficulty going to the bathroom, acting hungry all the time or displaying other signs of Cushing’s disease (overproduction of cortisol), a veterinarian might recommend ACTH stimulation and low dose dexamethasone suppression testing.
Wellness testing is important because dogs are excellent at hiding illness, especially when it’s in its early stages. Regular screening allows veterinarians to find and treat diseases in their early phases when they’re less invasive and less expensive to treat.
A good breeder will be knowledgeable about the health tests available for their particular breed. This includes hip and elbow scoring, eye testing, heart examination and DNA testing.
Responsible breeders test their puppies and only breed dogs that are healthy. The good news is that many of the inheritable diseases can be prevented with simple, routine screening.
Health tests might seem costly, but they could save you money in the long run by preventing future medical bills or heartache for your new dog. Embark DNA offers doggie genetics testing that is specific to purebred dogs, and provides information such as breed identification, 35+ physical traits, ancestry, geographic origin and hereditary disease risk. It also determines biological age by measuring telomeres, which shorten with age, and provides insight into a dog’s predisposition to cancer. It also includes a health questionnaire. It’s available online and at most veterinarian offices. Paw Print Genetics is another service that tests for a variety of inherited conditions in both dogs and cats.
Genetic Testing Companies
Genetic testing companies offer DNA tests for hereditary diseases that can affect your dog. These tests can help veterinarians develop better preventative health plans for your dog.
For example, Embark offers a DNA test for the genetic disorder EIC (exercise-induced collapse). This condition causes sudden weakness and life-threatening collapse after intense exercise. The EIC test can alert breeders and vets to watch for signs and take precautions, such as limiting your dog’s vigorous activity.
These tests can also identify whether your dog is a carrier of hereditary diseases such as Centronuclear Myopathy and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency. The results can help breeders create healthier gene pools by excluding affected dogs from breeding.
Online Genetic Testing
Every dog owner dreads the day that their beloved pet is diagnosed with a health condition they know little about. Dog DNA tests promise to ward off this heartbreak by screening dogs for genetic diseases before symptoms show up.
Some DNA testing companies include detailed breakdowns of breed ancestry and specific genetic health risks with their results. These tests are becoming more popular with dog owners as they become more readily available and affordable.
For example, Embark’s cheapest test scans for 350 breeds and over 200 genetic diseases and includes a drug and food sensitivities test. The company’s most expensive kit includes a veterinarian consultation if your dog shows up with notable health risks like a predisposition to hip dysplasia or proneness to seizures.
Wisdom Panel also offers a comprehensive report of your dog’s genetic health and ancestry with its Premium test, which analyzes 350+ breeds and 210+ medical conditions. It also calculates your dog’s biological age by measuring the length of his telomeres, which tend to shorten with age.