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 that some owners do not want to know if there is something wrong with their pet. Instead, they would rather let their pet live without worrying about any genetic information. While this may be nice for the owner in the short-term, it is better in the long-term for both the owner and the pet to know what may come in the future. Understanding your pet’s genetic health not only gives you piece of mind about their health, but it allows you to also make informed decisions about their health.
Benefits of genetic testing:
Many genetic diseases are late onset, meaning, our animals may not display symptoms until later in life. Being aware of possible inherited diseases that your animal may carry will prepare you for a possible medical emergency. In addition, if you know that your pet is at-risk for a disease, you can predict future medical problems, saving costly veterinarian diagnostic workups. Another benefit of testing your animal’s genetics is you can treat diseases that are treatable. These are just a few of the reasons we recommend taking the steps to learn about your pet’s genetic health.
How do I test my dog?
At GVS, we offer two different services to test your dog’s genetic health. If you know the breed of your dog, you can test using our breed-specific testing method through Paw Print Genetics. We offer nearly 300 different tests for over 350 breeds of dog. Each sample is tested with two independent methods, resulting in a 99.9% accuracy rate. We also recommend this diagnostic level testing if you are planning to breed your dog, so you can avoid breeding two dogs that may be carriers of inherited diseases and produce affected puppies.
If you do not know the breed of your dog, we created the Canine HealthCheck, a comprehensive genetic screening approach. The Canine HealthCheck looks at more than 250 of the most common inherited diseases and traits found in all breeds of dogs. Common, inherited diseases include those that affect metabolism, bones, eyes, kidneys and many more. You will receive results for each gene tested as normal, carrier, or at-risk for the diseases. Color and trait results will show your dog’s genotypes for these genes that affect the way your dog looks.
What about my cat?
We developed The CatScan with a similar model as our Canine HealthCheck testing. You do not need to know the breed of your cat to understand their genetic health. The CatScan is a genetic screen of more than 80 diseases and traits commonly found in cats – the most accurate and comprehensive feline genetic test on the market. Just like in dogs, by using the CatScan, you will learn about potential medical problems and uncover the genetic variants contributing to how your cat looks.
Does GVS offer testing for birds?
We developed testing for birds under our brand, AvianDx. Currently, we offer our EarlyBird Sex Identification Testing which will determine if your bird is male or female through genetic testing. There are over 10,000 species of birds world-wide that are monomorphic, meaning that their sex cannot be determined from physical characteristics such as color, plumage or size. AvianDx’s EarlyBird Sex Identification test will determine the genetic sex of your bird within 10 days of receiving your feather, eggshell or blood samples.
Whether you are a dog person, cat person, or bird person, we can all agree that our pets are important to us! By learning about their genetic health, you can help them live the longest and healthiest life possible! If you have any questions about genetic testing, please contact us at 509-483-5950 (toll free in the US and Canada 855-202-4889) or by emailing us at AskUs@pawprintgenetics.com. Celebrate this National Pet Day by taking the next steps of their genetic journey.