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Pet DNA tests can reveal underlying health issues

Posted July 11

Humans and pets alike enjoyed the contests after the SPCA Walk in downtown Raleigh.

— If you're the owner of a mixed breed, chances are you have wondered more than once exactly what makes up your four-legged friend. 

DNA testing is available for pets, and it often can do much more than give you the perfect answer to the question, "what type of dog is he/she?"

"The information found in pet DNA tests is frequently used to trace underlying health issues or help breeders make good breeding decisions," Dr. David Linzey, president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, said. 

Certain breeds have a tendency to experience different health issues, so identifying those risks early can helps vets develop long-term maintenance and treatment plans. For example, Dalmations are prone to skin irritations and hip dysplasia. Pugs commonly have eye problems and allergies. 

"It lets us know what health problems are genetically predisposed for specific pets," Linzey said. "This allows us to take the preventative and proactive measures needed to keep pets happy and healthy throughout their lives."

Typically, companies that perform pet DNA tests will send owners a kit so they can swab the inside of their pet's cheek. The swab is mailed off, and the company will send back the results within four to six weeks. 

Pet DNA tests are also available at pet stores. Cost varies, but many tests are available for less than $100.

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  • labs Jul 11, 1:31 p.m.

    It's a whole new world for breeding but this news story goes in the wrong direction and falls short of the DNA potential. Hip dysplasia is NOT detected by a DNA test. At least not yet. There are new DNA test coming available for genetic diseases and the ones that exist now are extremely helpful to help make good responsible breeding decisions to breed out diseases but breeders that don't utilize
    these tools are sending more business to their veterinarian with affected dogs and puppies. To check what major genetic illnesses could affect your breed go to http://www.offa.org/breedtests.html?btnSearch=Tests+by+Breed