Tag archives: Breeding

Breeding Carriers of Canine Recessive Diseases- Why It Should be Considered

Breeding Carriers of Canine Recessive Diseases- Why It Should be Considered

The breeding of dogs identified as genetic carriers of recessive disease is a hotly debated topic in the canine breeding world with many breeders firmly entrenched in their own personal approach to the issue. With increasing regularity, dog breeders and their clients are bringing genetic questions (including those about breeding carriers) to their veterinarians under the assumption that most veterinarians would be up to speed on the current information and genetic testing available. Unfortunately, at Paw Print Genetics we occasionally speak to breeders whose veterinarians have given them advice about breeding carriers that may not be in the best interest of the kennel or the breed. Given the large number of variables and differences between the way kennels are operated and the recessive disease risks of individual breeds, there is not necessarily a breeding approach that would be appropriate in 100% of cases. However, understanding some guiding principles and the potential ramifications of doing so, can help a veterinarian advise their dog breeding clients in a way that will help them meet their goals without increasing the incidence of recessive diseases in a kennel or in the breed.

What is a “Carrier” of a Recessive disease?

As a quick refresher ...

Happy Holidays from Paw Print Genetics

Happy Holidays from Paw Print Genetics

I enjoy writing this annual holiday message to thank our customers for their trust and loyal patronage throughout the year.  It also gives me a chance to reflect on the year and once again point out that Paw Print Genetics exists because of you, our customers.  Before we started Paw Print Genetics (PPG), we performed extensive market research and identified many gaps not filled by the available laboratories. Some of the ways in which we have filled these gaps include our online case management system within our website that allows you to have all of your genetic testing records in one place, the largest menu of disease, coat color and trait tests in the industry, and our uncompromised quality, accuracy and service in all that we do.

Filling these gaps has led Paw Print Genetics to become the most trusted laboratory and the leader in canine genetic testing in just a few short years.  This continues to demonstrate to me that people are willing to try something new because they want the best for their breeding program.  Once they have tried PPG, many customers have expressed to me that they have found their “home”; a place where they ...

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

I like to use this time of year to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of the past year. Paw Print Genetics (PPG) was founded only a few short years ago, launching our first set of canine disease tests in 2013.  Our commitment to excellence in both testing accuracy and customer service quickly propelled us to the top of the canine testing industry. In no other testing laboratory can you find the highly skilled staff of veterinarians and PhD geneticists eager to help answer your questions and guide you to the useful and informative testing that you need for your breeding program. Aiming to be the best, our web-based ordering system is unparalleled in the industry.  This didn’t happen by chance, as we continuously talked to our customers about how we could improve our systems and deliver a product that was user friendly and met their high standards, comparable to their own breeding principles.

This year was not without its challenges, but overcoming obstacles makes us stronger.  We ended litigation over PRA-prcd and CEA, allowing us to be listed as an approved laboratory with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Fighting for our customers’ rights to have a ...

Paw Print Genetics uses the Latest Technologies to bring Customers Enhanced DNA Profiles and Paternity

Paw Print Genetics uses the Latest Technologies to bring Customers Enhanced DNA Profiles and Paternity

Providing a unique DNA profile to identify a dog or performing paternity to qualify a sire is not new. In both humans and canines, these services have been around for decades, but so has the technology.  The use of microsatellite markers has been the mainstream technology for identifying people and dogs since the early 1980’s.  However, these particular markers are best used to exclude a suspect or exclude a sire, but trying to prove identity or prove that a sample is from the one and only possible sire is much more difficult.

Welcome to the 21st century!  The old microsatellite markers were just not good enough, in some cases, to distinguish a sire from his sons or brothers from one another.  And in true Paw Print Genetics fashion, we are just compelled to do everything better than anyone else! Introducing single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. These are small changes in the DNA that tend to be different between individuals, including relatives.  Paw Print Genetics is using a proprietary set of 99 distinct SNPs found in different locations throughout the canine genome to uniquely identify individuals and better qualify sires.

Take a look at the ‘heat map’ ...

To Anyone Dedicated to Breeding Better Dogs, an open letter by Cheryl Hass

To Anyone Dedicated to Breeding Better Dogs, an open letter by Cheryl Hass

Brief personal history as credentials . . .

In the world of dog breeding, I started long before any genetic testing was readily available, with Chesapeakes, more than 25 years ago now. We performed OFA Hips and that was about it. Then I went back to my herding dog roots with Australian Shepherds, Miniature Australian Shepherds and now Miniature American Shepherds. What I have to say about genetic testing however, applies regardless of breed.

Some of you that have been in this for a while, may remember a company that offered a slew of testing, all in one package, for $25. It was the hottest item on the market. I remember feeling very virtuous about being able to test all my dogs, for a reasonable price, for a whole bunch of things that I didn't understand at the time. But as breeders we educated ourselves, found out that testing really DOES matter and learned how to breed away from some of the unfortunate genetics that our dogs carried. It really was an exciting time in breeding because it gave us such powerful, valuable information that increased the overall health of the dogs we produced. The problem was that this company was not all ...

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 ...

Economics: Supply and Demand in the Gene Pool

Economics: Supply and Demand in the Gene Pool

When we breed to better a line of purebred dogs, many intangible or subjective variables come into play – conformation, athleticism, intelligence, trainability and more. Mentoring and experience, even the gut instinct borne from these teachings, can make assessing those variables easier. As we learn more and develop an eye for evaluating and reading dogs, the standards for what constitutes a ‘better’ dog, one worthy of breeding, usually rise. The comparative knowledge experience brings allows us to differentiate a ‘great dog’ from a ‘good’ one; what might have been an acceptable to us a decade ago, might not make the cut today. And therein creates the economic correlation of supply and demand among top breeders.

As we eliminate potential breeding partners in favor of ‘better’ dogs, those that will truly improve a line and therefore breed, fewer and fewer potential partners exist. That makes the remaining pool of dogs more desirable and valuable.

When the qualities that elevated a dog to the top of the gene pool are combined with the objective results of canine genetic screening, a breeder is truly ‘bettering the breed’ by passing along the best physical and mental qualities the dog possesses while reducing or eliminating detrimental ...

Genetic Screening: Cornerstone of Bettering a Breed

Genetic Screening: Cornerstone of Bettering a Breed

Nearly everyone espouses the belief that we should produce puppies that better a breed. However, ‘better’ is a subjective term; what it means to one person is completely different than what it means to another. ‘Better’ is something that’s often based in our ultimate goals, the end results of which are sometimes dictated by success in the dog game we play.

What isn’t subjective is sound genetic health. Science seeks objective and discernable answers regardless of the subjective nature of an issue. Genetic screening therefor is the cornerstone of bettering a breed, regardless of the game being played. While we should always strive for proper and acceptable form and function, the perfect dog does not exist – we do the best we can with the sires and dams available to us.

When deciding pairings, we should seek dogs that complement each other in form and function so as to produce consistent puppies. We should also seek to strengthen weaknesses in both parents' conformation by pairing them with a dog that offers a contrast to the flaws in each. With the randomness of how genes combine in all aspects of puppy's physical, mental and psychological attributes, it’s a tough order ...