veterinarian checking dogs heartbeat.

Genetic testing for pets typically involves a saliva swab and is extremely accurate. It is also pretty affordable, and the results are pretty amazing

Why should you consider genetic testing your pet? At Home Pet Doctor is here to explain. 

The Obvious

Most people consider genetic tests for one main reason: to learn more about what breed(s) their furry friend might be.

It can be quite interesting to understand whether Fluffy is truly half pomeranian and half rottweiler, but it can also help you to be a better pet owner. Knowing about your pet’s genetic tendencies can help you to better understand behavior and instinctive tendencies. 

I can also help you to understand how big a pet might grow to be or how long you can expect it to live. 

Some pet genetic companies also provide a database to help you find your pet’s relatives. 

Don’t Forget Breed-Specific Genetic Health Issues

The benefits of genetic testing in pets goes well beyond fun facts about your pet’s ancestry. It can be a very cost-effective way to screen for genetic tendencies toward breed-specific genetic health issues (sometimes seen in breeds you weren’t even aware that your pet had in them!). 

Common examples include:

  • MRD1 Receptor mutation seen in herding dogs that alter how their body reacts to certain drugs
  • Bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease seen in dobermans, great Danes, and golden retrievers
  • Degenerative myelopathy that can cause dysfunction of the rear limbs in German shepherds and other breeds
  • Progressive retinal atrophy that can lead to blindness
  • Intervertebral disc disease that can cause back issues
  • And so many more!

Not only is it helpful to know that your pet might be at risk for certain conditions, it also allows you the opportunity to obtain pet insurance coverage that is likely to be helpful for specific conditions. 

And Early Disease Detection for Dogs and Cats

With most diseases and conditions, the sooner we can identify a problem, the much better treatment options and prognosis we can offer. 

Genetic testing offers us a unique chance for early disease detection for dogs and cats since it can pick up on problems even before symptoms or laboratory changes are present. This can create a huge impact for our pets. 

Imagine preparing your pet for growing blind so that it is not such a dramatic change when it occurs, being able to provide strengthening exercises to slow the progression of a disease that affects mobility, or changing your pet’s diet to prevent problems associated with a nutritional mutation. 

Genetic testing for pets might be newer territory, but the benefits are endless. Chances are we are just discovering all the ways that we can utilize the information as well. Contact us to discuss your pet today.