Many dog owners know their beloved dog better than their closest friends and family, from their favorite toy to their strict nap routine.
However, some things are impossible to know no matter how much time you spend together, like exactly what’s in their DNA.
A dog’s genetic information is unique and can tell you about its breed and why it got its cute big ears or love of howling.
But a new DNA test from The Kennel Club promises to check if they are predisposed to hereditary diseases that can cost thousands to treat or treat at the vet.
MailOnline recruited Sully, a year-old cocker spaniel, to give it a try.
A new DNA test from The Kennel Club promises to check if they are predisposed to hereditary diseases that can cost thousands to treat or treat at the vet. MailOnline recruited Sully, a year-old cocker spaniel, to give it a try (pictured)
Awareness of the conditions a dog may develop in its lifetime can help owners know to watch for warning signs or take preventative measures.
DOG BREEDS THAT CAN BE DNA TESTED
Spaniel (English Springer)
Dachshund (Miniature Short Haired)
Staffordshire bull terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Dr. Joanna Ilska, the genetics manager at The Kennel Club, told MailOnline: ‘For owners, understanding a dog’s genetics and knowing what testable inherited conditions they could be affected by is preparing for the future.
‘Some dogs with inherited conditions may go undiagnosed during the early stages of the disease because clinical signs are missed or mistaken for aging, and missing the early signs of illness can cause a dog unnecessary pain or discomfort.
“Knowing early gives owners the information they need to watch for clinical signs and get their dog the treatment they need as soon as possible.”
Each test kit is tailored to one of 78 breeds and will reveal if the dog carries the mutations for up to three breed-specific conditions.
Sully received one designed for Cocker Spaniels, containing two long cotton swabs, two sample tubes, a padded envelope and a detailed set of instructions.
All it took was for the two cotton swabs to be gently rubbed across his cheeks for at least 30 minutes after he last ate.
Fortunately, spaniels have quite a bit of extra skin, so it took Sully a while to realize there was something poking his cheeks that was right around the corner.
After the swabs were collected, they were placed in the sample tubes, swelled in the clear liquid inside, sealed, and packaged to the lab.
The Kennel Club’s DNA service tests for a total of 80 hereditary diseases and conditions, all of which are caused by the mutation of just one gene.
The results show whether the dog is ‘Clear’, ‘Carrier’ or ‘Affected’ for each condition.
A clear result means they don’t have copies of the abnormal genetic variant that causes the condition, but if they are carriers it means they have one.
This means they should not be clinically affected by it, but they could have affected puppies if they had been bred to another carrier or an affected dog.
Awareness of the conditions a dog may develop in its lifetime can help owners know to watch for warning signs or take preventative measures. Pictured: The DNA test kit
Each test kit is tailored to one of 78 breeds and will reveal if the dog carries the mutations for up to three breed-specific conditions
If they have two copies of the abnormal genetic variants, the results will show them Affected and they may develop the condition.
Fortunately, about a month after the kit was shipped, Sully came back clear of all three diseases for which he had been tested.
These were ‘Progressive rod cone degeneration’, which causes blindness, ‘Familial nephropathy’, which causes early onset renal failure, and ‘Acral Mutilation Syndrome’, which causes obsessive self-mutilation of the soles and paws.
Genetic test developed for disease that prevents dogs from swallowing
A genetic test has been developed that can identify a deadly disease that prevents dogs from swallowing.
Researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina have discovered the genetic variation that leads to congenital idiopathic megaesophagus (CIM) in puppies.
This is a serious condition that causes an enlarged esophagus and makes it difficult for food to pass through to the stomach.
Read more here
However, if he had come back as a carrier or affected dog for any of these conditions I might ask his vet for advice on how to prevent their development.
Dr. Ilska told MailOnline: ‘Knowing in advance – and being able to spot the early signs – owners can take preventive measures to support their dog’s health, prevent conditions from going undiagnosed and untreated and potentially costly vet bills for diagnostic tests and prevent treatments. later on.’
Other conditions the service tests for include metabolic disorders that can cause painful symptoms, such as bladder stones, or even be fatal.
Knowing that a dog is predisposed to one can mean that the vet can create a preventative care plan and specialized diet that will reduce the chance of complications.
The kit can also test for multi-drug resistance, which can cause a dog to react extremely to certain medications that a vet can watch for.
Knowledge of the potential for blindness diseases such as “primary lens luxation” can also give an owner the chance to make their dog’s life more comfortable as they age.
Dogs do not need to be registered with The Kennel Club to use the DNA testing service, nor do they need to have a pedigree.
“Mixed breed dog owners can use the tests developed for the pure breeds that are in their mixed dog,” Dr Ilska told MailOnline.
“However, they should bear in mind that there is currently no scientific data that would prove that the test has the same power to predict clinical outcomes as it does in purebred dogs.”
In 2018, a group of scientists published their doubts about DNA testing in dogs in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.
“Pet genetics need to be reined in,” a Boston veterinarian and two other scientists wrote.
They referred to a pug who was euthanized because her owners interpreted the DNA results as indicating she had a rare, degenerative neurological condition when, in fact, her condition could have been a little more treatable.
“These[tests]should be used in a limited way until we get a lot more information,” says study co-author and veterinarian Dr Lisa Moses.
One of their concerns was that tests may show genetic mutations associated with disease in some breeds, but have unknown effects in the breed tested.
Dr. The Kennel Club’s Ilska told MailOnline: ‘When determining the relevance of a DNA test to a particular breed, we ensure that there is evidence that the mutation being tested has been scientifically identified with a high degree of confidence, and that it is indeed is associated with a disease that is common in the breed in question.
“This is important, because the different genetic backgrounds of different races can influence the association between a given mutation and the clinical outcome.”
It is hoped that the widespread use of DNA testing services such as these will reduce and eventually eradicate diseases as the information can inform breeders.
Researchers at The Kennel Club have found that the frequency of disease-causing gene mutations can decrease by 90 percent about a decade after a DNA test becomes available.
A test kit costs between £60 and £140, depending on the dog’s breed and the number of conditions it is susceptible to, with money going towards canine health research.
Kits can be ordered at The kennel club websiteand until March 31, a 10 percent discount can be applied with code ‘DNAMailOnline’.
Scientists pinpoint the genes responsible for specific behaviors in dog breeds
Have you ever wondered why your cocker spaniel likes to sniff so much, or why your border collie is literally running circles around you?
Scientists and a team at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Maryland also think they’ve cracked the genetic code.
By analyzing the DNA of more than 200 dog breeds, they managed to divide them into ten groups based on their genetic lineage.
Each group also exhibited specific behaviors, and the experts managed to link this to certain genes the dogs share.
Read more here
By analyzing the DNA of more than 200 dog breeds, researchers managed to classify them into ten groups based on their genetic lineage