Author archives: Lisa Shaffer

Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

2015 was a big year for Paw Print Genetics. We made improvements to our website for easier account management, launched new disease tests, coat colors and traits, and won our lawsuit over Labrador exercise-induced collapse (EIC), so that you have choice in testing laboratories.

Our account management system is the best in the industry, but we are always looking for new ideas. Some of the website improvements made in 2015 include the ability to hide dogs within your account, share dogs between accounts and move dogs to new accounts.  What would you like to be able to do in your account? We continue to make improvements to our testing, reporting and website, all based on your input.

In early January, we launched several new, important disease tests including hereditary cataracts for Australian shepherds and related breeds and hereditary cataracts for French bulldogs and related breeds.  We also launched two progressive retinal atrophies in the golden retriever and retinal dysplasia/oculoskeletal dysplasia in Labrador retrievers.  We have many additional tests on our list to develop in 2016. We look forward to bringing you those tests throughout the new year.

Paw Print Genetics now offers 10 coat color tests and ...

Season's Greetings from Paw Print Genetics

Season's Greetings from Paw Print Genetics

This is a special time of year; the time of year when we reflect on all of the things for which we are thankful. Good health, warm houses and loved ones are just a few of the things that we can be thankful for throughout the year. Paw Print Genetics is very thankful and grateful for our customers, large and small.  Without the responsible breeders and individuals who care deeply about canine health, we would not be here. We take pride in serving you the best way we know how.

Paw Print Genetics works very hard to provide you the best genetic testing and customer service in the industry. We are proud to provide you with so many little extras to help you better care for your dogs. Some of the little things that matter include online account management, providing you changes to your dog’s reports at no charge, as you select the best and register those for the future, and providing Paw Print Pedigrees so that you can show the world that you are a responsible breeder.

In addition to our customers, I am thankful for our amazing staff of molecular technologists, PhD geneticists and veterinarians that are dedicated to ...

Paw Print Genetics Can Help You Better Integrate Genetic Testing Into Your Veterinary Practice

Paw Print Genetics Can Help You Better Integrate Genetic Testing Into Your Veterinary Practice

Paw Print Genetics has begun a new series of blogs aimed at helping veterinarians integrate genetics into their practice. These blogs help illustrate how the veterinarian might include discussions about genetics during new puppy visits, while helping a breeder with their breeding program, or considering genetic causes in developing a differential diagnosis for symptomatic dogs.

Veterinarians can assist clients in receiving genetic services in several ways. First, the vet may simply provide the dog owner information about testing options and clarify any questions that they might have.  Second, the veterinary staff assists the owner in setting up an individual account and performs the blood draw or cheek swabbing for the customer.  In this case, the genetic results would be uploaded to the customer’s account and the customer would have direct access to the information. Third, the veterinary clinic can set up a master account on the Paw Print Genetics website. Each customer’s dog is entered into the master account as orders are placed. For each dog, there is a field that allows the clinic staff to enter the dog owner’s name and contact information. After testing, the genetic results are uploaded to the clinic’s master account and the ...

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That famous quote by William Shakespeare conjures up images that any name will do. But will it?  How do you choose names for your dogs?

In our household, we all participate in thinking up names for our new dogs. However, when it comes to decision time, my husband or myself usually make the final determination.  Otherwise, we would have more than just a pygmy goat named Princess Ariel Diamond!

At Paw Print Genetics, our online account management system allows you to put all of your dogs into your account, keeping your information and genetic testing results all in one place.  We see some fantastic and imaginative names come through our laboratory.  We thought it would be fun to see what names are most commonly used.

The top ten call names that we have seen in the laboratory across all breeds are:

10th     Duke

9th       Maggie

8th       Lily

7th       Lucy

6th       Max

5th       Gracie

4th           Penny

3rd           Sadie

2nd           Bella

1st       Annie

Some ...

Why Should I Test with a Breed-specific Panel?

Why Should I Test with a Breed-specific Panel?

At Paw Print Genetics, we offer nearly 200 different breed-specific panels. We are often asked "why choose a breed-specific panel?".  Choosing a breed-specific panel will help you avoid introducing a new genetic disease into your breeding program while saving you time, money and anguish in the future.  Here's why:

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 ...

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics Partnerships

Paw Print Genetics partners with a number of different organizations. In many cases, the organization comes to us wanting help in providing members with educational materials on genetics to promote genetic testing among their members. In other cases, we see a need in an organization for better education and we want better visibility to their membership.  In either case, our partnerships are limited to providing genetics education when desired, discounts to members to promote testing, and supporting their events with raffle items or prizes, such as gift certificates for free testing. 

You may have noticed that some of the organizations and clubs that we have partnered with may be considered nonconforming in the sense that some are not AKC recognized, nor are they well known.  Some individuals have recently questioned our integrity or intentions with these groups.  In partnering, our only agenda is to promote healthy dogs and genetics education.  We do not have any other agenda.  Paw Print Genetics will accept samples from all dogs, regardless of breed, color, conformity to published standards, registered, rescued or adopted.  We do not discriminate when it comes to promoting genetic testing and healthy dogs.  ...

Rickie Roo to Compete at Westminster

Rickie Roo to Compete at Westminster

Rickie Roo, well-known star in the world of dog agility is also known for her canine philanthropy, recognized by the American Kennel Club as an Award of Canine Excellence (ACE) award honoree for her educational and charitable efforts.

This spunky 7-year-old Rat Terrier is an exceptional athlete and is ranked among the best in her sport, earning her titles Master Agility Excellent and Master Excellent Jumpers With Weaves. These titles were needed for Rickie Roo to qualify for this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Masters Agility Challenge event.  Despite having a visual impairment due to both lenses needing removal because of primary lens luxation (PLL), she will be competing on February 14th (show airs on 2/15) at Westminster. 

In the sport of dog agility, just like in the Olympics it is important to be in tip-top shape and able to perform at your best. Which is why her breeder, Barbie Trammel and her owner and trainer, Deborah Davidson-Harpur had Roo’s DNA tested for an inherited mutation that causes lens dislocation in several breeds. PLL is caused by a mutation that affects the ligaments that holds the lens of the eye in place. When those ligaments ...

Does the same mutation always cause disease?

Does the same mutation always cause disease?

Paw Print Genetics is often asked if the same mutation always causes genetic disease, especially when the mutation is identified in a breed different from that originally investigated.  The answer is not simple.  For many of these types of genetic questions, I go back to my ‘human’ roots as a human geneticist.  Because more than 4,500 diseases and their genetic causes are known, human genetics can shed considerable light on problems just beginning to be investigated in dogs.

Currently, there are about 185 known mutations in dogs, with about 150 that cause disease and another 30 or so that cause traits such as coat color or coat length.  In dogs, these disease-causing mutations have been narrowly defined to certain breeds or certain clinical features (phenotypes), but is this always the case?

In human genetics, anything imaginable has been described. Certainly, there are diseases that are caused by single mutations; in this case, one mutation causes one disease.  But there are many examples of multiple mutations in one gene causing one disease and examples of multiple mutations in multiple genes causing one phenotype (one disease).  Likewise, there are many examples of the same exact mutation ...

Stupid Human Tricks. How Well Does Your Dog Have You Trained?

Stupid Human Tricks. How Well Does Your Dog Have You Trained?

We train our dogs to do certain things, like sit, stay, lay down, retrieve or even run through an agility course. Training a dog takes patience and persistence. It means providing consistent clues that your dog will eventually come to understand if done in the same manner. But I’ve recently come to wonder, have I trained my dog, or has she trained me?

Every time we sit down to eat dinner, our dog Daisy runs to the front door, whips around and stares at us. Invariably, one of us says, “Daisy needs to go out” and my daughter groans, gets up and lets her out.   Most of the time, Daisy does her business, but sometimes, she runs out to the middle of the yard, expecting my daughter to follow her and hopefully play.  This has led us to believe that Daisy’s behavior of running to the door and then staring us down, has trained us to respond in a particular way, and has us wondering if she brags to the other dogs that she has trained her human to stand up and open the door on command.

Likewise, Trixie the Wiener Dog has my husband trained to take ...

To Breed or Not to Breed, That is the Question

To Breed or Not to Breed, That is the Question

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 ...