The Paw Print Genetics Blog

National DNA Day 2021

National DNA Day 2021
DNA Day

I founded this company in 2012 with a single vision, to raise the bar regarding canine genetic testing. Since then, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) has tested more than 200,000 dogs and has provided the most comprehensive menu of tests for inherited diseases and traits across more than 350 breeds of dog. We have helped more than 34,000 customers gain access to genetic knowledge to help them improve their breeding program.

Today is National DNA Day – the day we celebrate the successes of the human genome project. The human genome was completed in 2003 and this opened the door to the sequencing of other animal genomes. With knowledge of the dog genome, which was published in 2005, researchers are now able to identify the DNA changes (called mutations or variants) that contribute to hundreds of traits and diseases in dogs.  Once these variants have been identified, we can use this knowledge to develop tests to identify these DNA changes in your dogs.

The unraveling of the dog genome has not only allowed discoveries of single gene mutations but has offered the opportunity to identify and better understand the complexities that exist for some traits and diseases. No ...

The Biology of Cleft Palate Defects

The Biology of Cleft Palate Defects

One thing a veterinarian does when either assisting a dog during whelping, or in the immediate follow up to a cesarean section is examine the puppies.  Included in this examination is an oral exam to check both suckle reflex and for any congenital defect which may compromise the puppy’s quality of life.  In effect, the vet is looking for any sign of a cleft lip/palate (CL/P).  A CL/P is a relatively common congenital defect of the craniofacial region.  The development of the palate includes the soft palate, the rostral (frontal) hard palate, the premaxilla section of the skull and the lips1.  This defect creates an opening between the oral and nasal cavities.  This opening is concerning because the puppy will have difficulties nursing leading to malnutrition and may inhale milk into the respiratory system which can lead to a sinus infection or pneumonia11.  Some dog breeds more commonly present with cleft defects than others suggesting a genetic component to this condition1.  Genetics do play a role in the formation of this defect, but they are not the only cause of a cleft lip/palate.  Genetic ...

National Pet Day!

National Pet Day!
Dog and Cat

Our dogs, our cats, our birds. They are more than just pets – they are our family members! Today, April 11th, we celebrate National Pet Day. The ones who bring us joy, laughter, and even snuggles. What would we do without our pets? Although they may not be able to live forever, we can do our best to give them long and healthy lives. At Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc. (GVS), we provide resources to achieve optimal canine, feline and avian genetic health to do just this. We do this through the genetic testing that we have developed for dogs, cats and birds.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing allows us to look into the DNA of your pets to learn about the inherited diseases they may have. We can also genetically test to learn about traits your animal may carry for such as coat colors. Our company differs from others as we follow the standards and guidelines for canine clinical testing laboratories, based on human diagnostic standards. This means all of our testing is of the highest quality and accuracy possible.

Why should I test my pet?

A common response we receive when discussing the benefits of genetic health testing is ...

The Veterinarian’s Corner: New Canine Genetic Disease Tests at Paw Print Genetics

The Veterinarian’s Corner: New Canine Genetic Disease Tests at Paw Print Genetics

As of January 2021, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) is proud to offer 44 new inherited disease tests for the canine health and breeding community. While these new tests are associated with diseases identified in dozens of breeds, the population size of each breed and the relative frequency of these mutations in those populations mean that some of these diseases are much more likely to be seen in clinical veterinary practice than others. Here we will highlight five diseases from the recent PPG test additions that are among those most likely to be diagnosed in the veterinary hospital setting.

Cerebellar Degeneration- Old English Sheepdog and Gordon Setter1

A genetic mutation in the canine RAB24 gene is associated with a juvenile-onset, autosomal recessive form of cerebellar degeneration (CD) in two seemingly disparate breeds, the Old English Sheepdog (OES) and Gordon Setter (GS). Also referred to as hereditary ataxia or cerebellar abiotrophy (CA), CD presents between 6 months and 4 years of age with progressive neurological dysfunction due to degeneration of cerebellar neurons, especially Purkinje neurons. Coordinated movement becomes progressively more difficult as the disease progresses and can include intention tremors, ataxia, and a stiff, high-stepping gait (hypermetria). Affected dogs are often ...

Testing for Dermatomyositis Risk

Testing for Dermatomyositis Risk

Dermatomyositis (DMS), also known as Juvenile Dermatomyositis or Canine Familial Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease of the skin and muscles caused by an over reactive immune system1. This disease has consistently plagued Shetland Sheepdogs and Collies of all varieties.  What makes this condition truly insidious is that although it mostly affects immature dogs, it can flare up seemingly out of nowhere to create issues in dogs of any age2.  Although testing for the genetic mutations that pre-dispose certain dogs for this disease has been around for some time, interpreting the results can be complicated often leaving owners confused about the results of this test.  Misunderstanding genetic results may lead to poor breeding decisions.  Let us look closer at DMS, how the disease presents, the complexity of genetic testing, and how to best utilize the results of this test.   

 

What is Dermatomyositis?

DMS is an inherited disease that causes dramatic inflammation of the skin, blood vessels and muscles in affected dogs.  Lesions often originate and are limited to the skin of the face with the lips with the area around the eyes particularly affected3.  Although the mechanisms of the ...

The Genetics of Hairlessness

The Genetics of Hairlessness
A hairless Chinese Crested next to a Powder puff

Aficionados of the hairless breeds are motivated to perpetuate and conserve these very historical and special dogs. The Xoloitzcuintles (“show-low-itz-QUEENT-ly.” or just Xolo “SHOW-low”) and the Chinese Crested dog are the more common hairless dogs but are no means the only hairless breeds. Some controversy surrounds the hairless breeds due to the nature of the hairless gene variant and its inheritance from one generation to the next. Looking at some basic genetics and how they apply to the inheritance of the mutation responsible for hairlessness will benefit the breeder trying to determine the best pairing for these unique dogs.


All genes are inherited from the parents. Half of the genetic material, or alleles, come from the mother, the other set of alleles come from the father. Two alleles, one from the dam and one from the sire, make up the genotype. The genotype will then determine the phenotype, or what trait or condition we observe in the dog. Further, we define genes as either being dominant or recessive. A dominant gene requires only one allele, passed from one parent, to express its phenotype. Whereas, a recessive gene requires two alleles, one passed from each parent, for its phenotype to ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches 46 New Tests for Dogs

Paw Print Genetics Launches 46 New Tests for Dogs

Paw Print Genetics has launched 44 new inherited disease tests and two new trait tests for various breeds.  With nearly 300 different tests for more than 350 breeds of dog, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) continues to be the leader in providing genetic tests for dogs.  Here are some of the new tests being offered.  You can find these new tests for your breed under the category “Additional Disease Tests” on your breed-specific page on our website.

New Trait Tests

PPG has launched Saddle Tan (As locus) and Intensity (I locus) as part of their large number of coat colors and traits offered for various breeds.  Both of these genetic loci modify a dog’s coat color based on their genotypes at other coat color genes. For Saddle Tan, the variation in the RALY gene will modify a dog’s coat presentation only if the dog also has tan points (kyky at the K locus and at/at or at/a at the A locus).  Sometimes called creeping tan, a dog with one or two copies of the As variant and tan points may show a ‘shrinking’ dark saddle across ...

A Tribute to Trixie the Wiener Dog

A Tribute to Trixie the Wiener Dog

Today we mourn the loss of one of the founding members of Paw Print Genetics, Trixie the Wiener Dog. Trixie died peacefully on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.  She was a beloved member of our family, our children’s first dog, and made important contributions to Paw Print Genetics (PPG).

Along with being the official ‘spokesdog’ for PPG and adorning our brochures, Trixie provided the samples that we used to do market research of the other companies in the canine genetic testing space prior to launching PPG.  After identifying the gaps in the industry that we thought we could fill by starting PPG, Trixie supplied the first samples used to test our DNA extraction and start the development of our first genetic disease tests.  Trixie’s actual paw print is used in our logo and has become a symbol of PPG, with one of our blog categories even named Trixie’s Paw Prints.

It was fitting that Trixie was a founding member of PPG because she didn’t know she was a dog. Preferring to be with humans rather than our other dogs, Trixie could be found sleeping in my home office while I worked or laying on the couch with us ...

Picking the Right Genetic Test for Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Picking the Right Genetic Test for Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Canine progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of inherited eye diseases which are among the most common causes of inherited blindness in domestic dogs. Extensive study and characterization of the various PRAs have led to the discovery of well over a dozen different genetic mutations in many different genes which can now be identified to help prevent, predict, or diagnose PRA in many breeds. However, complicated PRA naming schemes and the breed-specific nature of the PRA tests can make it challenging for dog breeders or veterinarians to select the correct test for the dog in front of them.  

Multiple Genes, Similar Clinical Findings

The known underlying mutations associated with the various forms of PRA are found in a wide variety of different genes. Thus, highlighting the complexity of the biological pathways involved in the development and ongoing maintenance of the eyes. PRAs are marked by the abnormal development and/or the gradual degeneration of rod and cone photoreceptor cells of the retina. Each type of PRA may display variation in the age of onset, speed of disease progression, and the relative rates at which each of the two photoreceptor types are destroyed. However, when it comes to clinical ...

Happy, Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

Happy, Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

If you are like me, 2021 is a welcomed sight. As you all experienced, 2020 was full of challenges related to COVID-19. At Paw Print Genetics, some of us have been working from home since March and really miss being able to get together with our colleagues. The laboratory needed to go to different shifts to allow for social distancing, which really put a strain on our turn-around times. We have experienced delays in getting laboratory reagents that allow us to do our testing, as they are being used by other laboratories for COVID testing, and the US Postal Service has been struggling even before the holidays to deliver our kits and your samples in a timely manner.

Even with these challenges, I have kept track of what I like to call the COVID silver linings. First, in Washington State, veterinary services were deemed essential business so although many restaurants and gyms were forced to close, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) remained open. This meant that we were able to serve our customers and keep our staff employed. Even with social distancing and shift work, we were able to meet our published turnaround times for more than 90% of cases! In ...