Category archives: The Veterinarian's Corner

Canine Genetics in Practice- Congenital and Early-onset Inherited Diseases

Canine Genetics in Practice- Congenital and Early-onset Inherited Diseases

Some of the most emotionally challenging canine cases seen in the veterinary hospital are those involving serious illnesses of newborns or young puppies. Owners’ joyous expectations of a long, healthy relationship with their new puppy makes a disease which decreases that puppy’s quality of life or results in early euthanasia, all the more heartbreaking. Though infectious diseases like parvovirus are often of particular concern in young pups, some puppies ending up on the exam room table show signs of one of a wide array of inherited diseases caused by a known genetic mutation. Unfortunately, limitations in available therapies for many inherited diseases often lead to frustrating and emotional outcomes for all the parties involved; veterinarians and veterinary staff included. Thereby, making prevention of inherited disease through the use genetic testing, an essential part of healthy dog breeding.

Historically, methods to prevent inherited diseases have been limited to selective breeding practices. However, an inability to identify asymptomatic carriers of recessively inherited diseases or dogs in the preclinical phase of late-onset inherited diseases, have traditionally made great reductions in disease incidence difficult to obtain through selective breeding alone. Genetic testing is now playing an important role in identifying these dogs such that ...

Canine Genetics In Practice- A Veterinarian’s Role in Preventing Adult-onset Inherited Disease

Canine Genetics In Practice- A Veterinarian’s Role in Preventing Adult-onset Inherited Disease

Veterinarians examine, treat, and diagnose dogs with inherited diseases daily. Though treatments to fix some inherited disorders such as cryptorchidism and umbilical hernias are relatively safe and effective, rarely are the inherited disorders seen in practice remedied with a simple, relatively low-cost solution. In fact, in many cases of inherited disease, treatment options are extremely limited or non-existent. Therefore, an option to prevent these diseases before they occur would be preferable in most circumstances. Genetic disease testing made possible by the discovery of the causal mutations has become the best medicine to combat many inherited conditions.

Genetic testing of dams and sires has become commonplace in many dog breeds as breeders have recognized the power of identifying those dogs at risk of producing puppies with inherited diseases. Unfortunately, however, some breeders have been slow to adopt the routine use of genetic testing as they continue to rely on traditional selective breeding techniques. Limited by the inability to identify unaffected carriers of disease, selective breeding has historically proven relatively ineffective in the pursuit of large reductions in disease incidence.

Adult and late-onset inherited diseases pose an extra challenge in selective breeding because dogs become sexually mature before signs of the disease ...

Improving Client Experience and Clinical Outcomes with Canine Genetic Disease Testing

Improving Client Experience and Clinical Outcomes with Canine Genetic Disease Testing

The expanding role of the dog over recent decades as an anthropomorphized member of the modern American family has led to an increase in dog owners’ expectations of their veterinarians. With social media, where the old adages about the number of people a dissatisfied client will tell about their experience can be easily multiplied by a factor of hundreds, the pressure to meet client expectations is more intense than ever.

Far more actionable than the commonly used genetic testing for canine breed identification, canine genetic disease testing is an accurate and reliable tool to help veterinarians meet their clients’ expectations in new ways. Genetic testing for a variety of inherited diseases has become commonplace in the dog breeding community to help breeders produce puppies free of particular maladies. However, as we know, not every dog seen in practice is the product of two purebred parents which have been genetically tested and vetted to make sure they are a good genetic match. Having a solution to easily perform canine genetic disease testing for any dog in a clinical setting, no matter the breed, adds a level of sophistication and progressiveness to your practice which can also supplement and improve your overall ...

What To Test? - Selecting Sample Types for Genetic Testing

What To Test? - Selecting Sample Types for Genetic Testing

With canine genetic disease testing becoming an increasingly common practice in both pets and breeding dogs, more and more veterinarians are being tasked with assisting their clients with sample collection for genetic testing. Paw Print Genetics (PPG) accepts a large variety of sample types that can be used for DNA extraction. In some cases, certain sample types may be much more convenient or logical to submit for testing than others.

Who To Test? - Canine Autosomal Recessive Genetic Diseases

Who To Test? - Canine Autosomal Recessive Genetic Diseases

Genetics play an enormous role in the health of dogs walking through the doors of any veterinary hospital. However, the treatment of an animal with an inherited disease rather than proactive testing of the genetic mutations responsible for disease has been the traditional role of the veterinarian. With an increase in the availability of canine genetic disease testing and great improvements in the ease and convenience of ordering genetic testing through Paw Print Genetics, more and more dog breeders and their clients are having genetic testing performed prior to being symptomatic and learning the benefits of these powerful technologies. As a veterinarian, understanding the basics of genetic testing and how genetic test results can be used to prevent and diagnose disease will keep you current and prepared for your clients as these technologies inevitably become a more significant part of clinical veterinary practice.

One of the more challenging but important aspects of canine genetic testing is deciding what recommendations to make when a dog or one of its relatives are found to be at risk for (or affected with) a particular inherited disease. Appropriate testing recommendations for the relatives of affected dogs may be crucial for prevention of additional affected ...

Genetic Testing of the Symptomatic Dog

Genetic Testing of the Symptomatic Dog

It does not come as a surprise to veterinarians that many of the diseases they see in clinical practice have a hereditary component. If a genetic disease is amenable to treatment, veterinarians are typically well equipped to improve quality of life based upon their patient’s clinical signs. However, since clinical signs alone don’t always point to a specific definitive diagnosis, veterinarians treating inherited disease are often left with unanswered questions about the root cause of the medical problem. Paw Print Genetics offers genetic testing for over 140 different genetic diseases to help veterinarians shorten their list of differential diagnoses and identify the specific genetic mutation responsible for causing the clinical signs they are seeing, thereby, allowing for more specific therapies and recommendations to be made for the benefit of their patients.

Breed Specific Genetic Testing

Many inherited conditions seen in dogs are breed specific or have only been described in particular breeds or breed groups. For instance, one specific mutation in the canine HSF4 gene responsible for early-onset hereditary cataracts has only been described in the Australian shepherd and closely related breeds. Searching a specific breed or symptom on the Paw Print Genetics website will simplify the process of choosing ...

Integrating Genetic Testing Into Veterinary Practice- Mixed Breed or Pure Bred Pet Dogs

Integrating Genetic Testing Into Veterinary Practice- Mixed Breed or Pure Bred Pet Dogs

For many years, an extensive physical exam, fecal sample testing, vaccinations, and deworming have been the mainstays of new puppy veterinary visits. While all of these tried and true steps are crucial in making sure that a puppy is healthy and stays that way, advances in genetic testing technologies are now revolutionizing the veterinarian’s approach to addressing and anticipating potential health issues in young dogs. Though inherited diseases are seen by veterinarians on a frequent basis, many veterinarians do not realize that genetic testing for diseases is available or understand how clinically helpful testing puppies at their first visit can be. How often do you discuss puppy genetic testing with your clients?

How Can Genetic Testing Improve Veterinary Practice?

The implications that genetic testing results can have for a dog’s veterinary care vary by a specific disease’s age of onset, progression, and clinical signs. Early diagnosis of late-onset inherited diseases allows for your clients to become educated about what to expect and in some cases, take preventative measures and plan for life changes. Knowledge that a dog is at-risk for a particular late-onset disease also allows for early diagnosis and implementation of early treatment when possible. In some cases, clients ...

Integrating Genetic Testing Into Veterinary Practice- Breeding Dogs

Integrating Genetic Testing Into Veterinary Practice- Breeding Dogs

Most veterinarians are well aware that canine hip and elbow radiographs, echocardiograms, and eye examinations have become routine veterinary health clearances requested by dog breeders. The goal of these diagnostics is to help breeders to improve their blood lines and produce healthy puppies. However, unless you work in a practice with a heavy canine reproduction case load, it is likely that you are less familiar with the genetic testing employed by breeders, what genetic tests are available, and how the results of genetic testing can help your dog-breeding clients attain their goals. Now that genetic testing has become a common addition to other pre-breeding canine health testing, gaining an understanding of available genetic testing and offering a service to help your clients complete their genetic testing through Paw Print Genetics (PPG), may increase the value of your customer relationships and build client loyalty, while at the same time, fulfilling your veterinary goal to improve the quality and length of puppies’ lives. How often do you discuss genetic testing with your dog breeder clients?

Dog Breeding and Genetic Testing

Though vet school curriculums have historically addressed canine inherited diseases and treatments for these conditions, much less emphasis has been placed on ...

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 ...