Friday, February 12, 2016

DNA Tests for Pets Help Us Understand Genetic Disease

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Sleuth, Veterinary News Networks Reporter Dog

Have you ever wondered why some dog breeds seem to have all the bad luck and have problems with their eyes, bones or skin?  Well, Sleuth wondered why some of his friends seemed to get sicker than others…and here’s what he found out from the Veterinary News Network.

1)    Many diseases of our pets and our farm animals can be traced to specific genetic problems.

2)    Genetics is the study of heredity and how certain physical traits and characteristics are passed from generation to generation.  Genetics controls the color of our pets’ hair, eye color and every other physical attribute

3)    Humans have been selectively breeding our domestic animals for many thousands of years.  We have seen great advances in some aspects, but we have also fixed some genetic diseases.

4)    Conditions like degenerative myelopathy in dogs or polycystic kidneys in cats are both examples of illnesses that arise from genetic mutations.

5)    Thankfully, scientists have successfully sequenced the genome of our canine friends and we now know that more than 300 different dog diseases are actually genetically based.

6)    The cat genetic sequence and horse sequences have also been successfully translated.  Experts expect that a similar number of genetic issues will be found in these animals.

7)    Knowing the whole sequence enables scientists to create accurate testing for many diseases.  If we know that a dog or cat carries a gene for a certain negative trait, we can keep that pet from breeding.

8)    Even if we can’t stop or cure the disease, genetic testing is valuable as many times veterinarians can help slow the progress or even minimize the effects if they are aware of the disease potential.

9)    If you are considering breeding any of your animals, be sure to ask your veterinarian about potential genetic conditions for your pet and what tests are available to screen for them.

10)    Trust a site like to provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.