At Paw Print Genetics, we are often asked about a common scenario, “My bitch is about ready to whelp and I just found out that her half-sister carries this horrible genetic disease. What should I do?”. Our answer is always the same. Follow these simple steps to avoid this situation while saving you time, money and anguish in the future:
1. Test your dam and sire with the breed-specific panel before you breed.
Performing a complete, breed-specific panel on your dam and sire will help you make an informed decision to breed or not to breed.
Testing first the dam and sire with an entire panel also saves money in the long run by reducing the need to test their future puppies. This is because puppies will be clear for a disease if both tested parents are also clear for that disease. Therefore, the puppies sold as future breeding stock will only need to be tested for any disease-causing mutations found in the parents. If both parents are clear of all disease-causing mutations, no testing of the puppies is necessary.
2. Test your new puppy with the entire breed-specific panel before you buy.
Introducing a new dog into your breeding program is always a little risky. Although you can’t exclude every potential health risk, by performing as many genetic tests that are available, you can rule-out the common (and not so common) genetic problems that can be found in many pure bred dogs.
Before buying that new puppy in the hopes of breeding them in the future, make sure the breeder performed an entire breed-specific panel on the dam and sire. If not, ask the breeder to do the panel on the pup so that you know that the dog can be used for its intended purpose. Finding out later that a dog carries a bad mutation may turn your expected brood bitch into just a nice, expensive pet.
3. Maximize the health of your breeding program.
When our clients ask “Shouldn’t I just test for the one bad disease that I know about and save money?”, our answer is usually no, unless the client knows from DNA testing that the dam and sire are clear for all other potential genetic diseases that run in that breed. The reason is that you may clear the one concern, but you don’t know, what you don’t know, and other mutations could be introduced into your breeding lines. Once tested, your dog will never need to be tested again for these diseases and you can make informed decisions about your breeding program.
If you have a specific question about your dog or your breeding program, call the experts at Paw Print Genetics. You can speak with one of the PhD geneticists or veterinarians on staff. We are here to help!