How Genetic Testing is Keeping Pets Healthier

How genetic testing is keeping pets healthier

You’ve no doubt seen advertising on television about genetic testing – how you can find out
about your origins and ancestors. How you can even find out if you carry risk genes for
certain diseases like breast cancer. Have you ever wondered how this new technology could
help your pet?

There are over 750 genetic traits or disorders discovered for dogs to date, and over 350 found
for cats. The sphere of genetic disease testing is moving a rapid pace, and it can be hard to
know what all this means for you and your pet.

Genetic testing in dogs and cats is mostly used by breeders to identify any disease-causing
and disease-associated traits in their breeding animals before they carry out matings.
Offspring obtain one set of genes from each parent – so the aim is to avoid two carriers ever
being mated together (in most situations). In this way, they contribute to making the breed
healthier over the generations.

But genetic disease screening in young animals can also be beneficial over that pet’s life,
especially in breeds of dogs or cats that have higher chances of developing one or more
severe genetic disorders. It may also be useful if you have obtained your pet from a breeder
who was not screening their breeding animals for genetic diseases.

Genetic screening allows you to find out:
 Any genetic diseases that your pet will develop at some stage
 Any genetic diseases that your pet has a higher than average risk of developing
 Any genetic diseases that your pet may be carrying (but will not develop signs of)

From this, you can develop a plan for your pet’s health management for the entirety of his or
her lifetime. If you know that your dog is going to suffer open-angle glaucoma, as an
example, you can arrange to have eye exams from an appropriate age to check for the effects
of this disease. In this way, you can save your pet pain and suffering, and hopefully, keep the
vision for your pet as well.

Sometimes a genetic test may tell you that your pet has an increased risk of a disorder. In this
case, you and your vet can develop a plan to monitor closely for any signs of this disease
occurring. If it does, you can also ensure that treatment is instituted at an early stage, again to
minimise any suffering on the part of your pet.

And sometimes there may be a condition present that makes certain other disorders more
likely as your pet ages. If one of these is detected, you can be aware of the signs to look for
as your pet gets older and becomes more likely to have secondary effects or complications.
You can see an example of a Personalised Lifetime Genetic Health Plan here:
https://aus.orivet.com/pages/personalized-life-plan

If your pet is carrying a genetic disease, you will know that breeding your pet is not a good
idea, and in most cases, he/she should be desexed to prevent the disorder being passed on.
New breeders who are unsure about breeding with carriers of specific conditions should
consult with a veterinarian or genetic counsellor.

Genetic screening involves taking either a cheek swab from a young puppy or kitten or a
blood sample from an older individual. This sample can be tested for numerous traits if
required. And, as you can see, the results of genetic screening have benefits that stay with
your pet for the whole of their life.

  • Dr Janette Mattey, BVSc BAnSc Technical Advisor, Orivet Genetic Pet Care

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals, OMIA. Sydney School of Veterinary Science, {18/09/2020}. World
Wide Web URL: https://omia.org/
Lyons LA. Feline genetics: clinical applications and genetic testing. Top Companion Anim Med.
2010;25(4):203-212. DOI:10.1053/j.tcam.2010.09.002
A Feline DNA Analysis. It’s still a new technology, but it has great potential. Cat Watch Newsletter
September 16, 2019 Updated: December 30, 2019 https://www.catwatchnewsletter.com/health/a-feline-dna-
analysis/

Bess, Emilie n.d. Cat DNA Tests: Is The Science Worth the Cost? at The Dog People blog
https://www.rover.com/blog/cat-dna-test/
Mattey, J S. 2017. Glaucoma (p. 8) in Your Beagle’s Genetic Health Book. Orivet Genetic Pet Care, Mulgrave,
Australia. 1st Ed. https://orivet.com

Orivet
Orivethttp://www.orivet.com
Orivet Genetic Pet Care is a leading genetic testing organisation offering an extensive range of genetic services to Breeders, Veterinarians and Pet Owners worldwide. Orivet has developed internationally recognised protocols and programmes for member bodies, breed clubs and associations. Their mission is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your pet with fully personalised, breed-specific care. Orivet was founded on the premise that each and every pet is unique, with its own set of specific traits, behaviours, genetic health needs and inherent risks. They work with pet owners, breeders and veterinarians to provide completely personalised products and services that treat and care for pets as the unique individuals they are, taking into account each pet’s genetic makeup, age, sex and lifestyle.

Get in Touch

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Buying Prescription Pet Medicines Online in Australia

Older pets need a little more care, to maintain their health and comfort. For most pet owners,...

Do Dog Joint Supplements Really Work?

In a recent survey, over 20% of dog owners surveyed said that they purchased joint supplements for their dog every month. This...

Aging and Nutrition in Dogs

Your dog will need different levels of veterinary care and nutrition at each stage of its life. As your dog enters its...

Sign up for our newsletter

Get in Touch

113FansLike
1FollowersFollow

Latest Posts

Buying Prescription Pet Medicines Online in Australia

Older pets need a little more care, to maintain their health and comfort. For most pet owners,...

Do Dog Joint Supplements Really Work?

In a recent survey, over 20% of dog owners surveyed said that they purchased joint supplements for their dog every month. This...

Aging and Nutrition in Dogs

Your dog will need different levels of veterinary care and nutrition at each stage of its life. As your dog enters its...

Senior Cat Health & Nutrition

Ageing is a natural process. While ageing itself is not a disease, cats will go through both mental and physical changes as...

Games to Entertain Your Older Dog

Are you trying to work from home but are constantly being interrupted by a wet nose on your leg or a paw...