Tag archives: Canine Genetic Disease

Cheek Swabs Serve a Very Important Purpose

Cheek Swabs Serve a Very Important Purpose

Canine genetic testing is somewhat of a mystery for non-scientists who are just starting to learn more about the ins and outs of the genetic world. I was recently given the opportunity to tour Paw Print Genetics’ state of the art laboratory and was amazed at what is possible to achieve with the sample after the simple act of swabbing a dog’s cheek.

During the tour, it dawned on me that one of the most important parts of the process of genetic testing is the moment when the cheek cells are being collected. Although the process itself is not complicated, it is still important to make sure to collect as many cells as possible and avoid collecting foreign matter that might interfere with the testing or confound the results. The cells that are being collected are dead skin cells, comparable to how we shed skin from our arms. It is a painless process for the dog but  might make them a little uncomfortable so having a friend help  collect the cells would be a good idea.

Optimal collection of cells  is achieved when the inner cheek surface is brushed for a slow count of 30 using the cyto-brushes provided by ...

We have a lot to be thankful for!

We have a lot to be thankful for!

At Paw Print Genetics, we are so thankful for our customers. Without you, we simply wouldn't exist. Without your input, we wouldn't have some of our recently launched programs such as Veterinary Verification reporting, Paw Print Pedigrees and Clear by Parentage certificates, as these, and many other features and tests that we offer have been suggested by our customers.  We see our customers as our partners, suggesting changes, tests and features that enhance your testing experience with us.  

After a report has been issued, I send each customer an email thanking them for their business and for their commitment to healthy dogs.  These take time, but I feel that these emails are important to send. The emails remind me of how important it is to connect with our customers, to reach out to see if there is anything else that we can do for them, to ask if there are ways we can improve our service, and to provide a little reward for being a responsible breeder with a discount on their next order.  Will I be able to keep this up as we grow?  I hope so.  It provides such a great opportunity to get feedback from our customers and I receive ...

Genetic Disease Testing and the Hunting Labrador- Protecting Your Investment

Genetic Disease Testing and the Hunting Labrador- Protecting Your Investment

You’ve spent a small fortune and an immense amount of time selecting, purchasing, socializing, and training your young Labrador retriever, Charlie, for the big hunt. It’s the first hunt of his career and he’s amped! As you are getting everything out of your truck, you let Charlie out of his crate to run around and explore a little. He disappears for several minutes as you are getting your gear and you call him back to you. However, when he returns, you notice that Charlie seems wobbly in his rear end and eventually his hind limbs collapse. He attempts to keep running, but drags his hind limbs for a short distance before giving up and lying down. Uncharacteristic for Charlie, he won’t get up when you call him and he no longer seems to be as interested in the hunt. After comforting Charlie for several minutes, he gets back up on his feet, though you can still see that he is a little wobbly. After several more minutes, Charlie is back to his jovial self with little indication that anything was wrong.

Unfortunately, the scenario described here is not a terribly uncommon story among Labrador owners and those that hunt with ...

Paw Print Genetics Review by Tina Cox at Misty Shores Chesapeakes

Paw Print Genetics Review by Tina Cox at Misty Shores Chesapeakes
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Keehn and Misty Shores Chesapeakes

The following is a review written by a Paw Print Genetics' customer, Tina Cox, reposted here with her permission.  You can find her entire review on her website


Paw Print Genetics Review
by Tina Cox

Recently I used Paw Print Genetics to do some genetic testing on Maia.

I was introduced to them a couple years ago through friends on Facebook. I kept seeing all these posts about the site so I thought I should check this out. What I found was a place to do my major genetic testing at a price I could afford while not skimping on quality. This is from the homepage of their website…

Highest Industry Standards and Accuracy

Our laboratory is staffed with expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians. We are equipped with the latest testing technology and analyze each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy in the industry. 

  • All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
  • Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
  • Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
  • All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
  • Majority of test results accepted ...

Paw Print Genetics Now Offers Veterinary Verification Option for Your Samples

Paw Print Genetics Now Offers Veterinary Verification Option for Your Samples

Paw Print Genetics understands that our customers know what’s best for their breeding programs and what they need from a laboratory. Our customers are the experts and that’s why we listen closely and ask questions. Doing so has resulted in Paw Print Pedigrees, a free website that Paw Print Genetics customers can use to promote their kennels and show off their health tested dogs. Another feature recently added is our Clear by Parentage program, which allows the breeder to get Clear by Parentage certificates on any pup resulting from health tested, parentage-proven parents. Because our customers asked for it, Paw Print Genetics now offers an optional, Veterinary Verification for samples collected by a veterinarian and submitted to us for testing.

Veterinary Verification is an optional and voluntary program offered by Paw Print Genetics that allows breeders to confirm the identity of their dog by having a veterinarian collect the sample and verify a permanent identifier for that dog (microchip number or tattoo). There is a simple form that must be completed by the veterinarian and this form must accompany the sample to the laboratory.

Having a verified sample may provide puppy buyers extra assurance that the test results they receive ...

Misconceptions About Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Misconceptions About Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

If there is anything that I have learned in Paw Print Genetics’ quest to prevent canine inherited diseases, it is that degenerative myelopathy (DM) is one of the most misunderstood diseases in the dog breeding community. This late-onset, progressive neurological disease is notorious for cutting affected dog’s lives short and preventing them from living out their golden years. Unfortunately, sometimes there are misunderstandings in regard to what causes DM, what DM genetic test results mean, and whether or not DM occurs in certain breeds or bloodlines. I will attempt to address the confusing aspects of DM in order to empower people to eliminate this devastating disease from their blood lines.

How Do DM Affected Dogs Present? How is it Inherited?

Dogs affected with DM typically begin showing signs of painless, hind limb weakness and loss of balance around 7 to 10 years of age. These dogs often have difficulty rising after lying down, will drag their hind feet while walking, and abnormally cross their legs while standing. As the disease progresses, affected dogs’ front limbs also become progressively weaker until the dog becomes unable to walk. Affected dogs also may develop urinary and fecal incontinence as the disease progresses. Most ...

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.  ...

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: An Inherited Disease of the English Springer Spaniel

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: An Inherited Disease of the English Springer Spaniel

The intelligent, prey-driven English springer spaniel (ESS) has forged its path as a popular, hardworking companion for bird hunters while maintaining a loyal and affectionate personality suitable to family life. Until the early 1900’s, springer spaniels were produced in the same litters as cocker spaniels; springers were chosen from the largest puppies of the litter and were trained for flushing or “springing” game while the smaller littermates were labeled cocker spaniels and were trained for hunting the elusive woodcock. Since then, springer spaniels have been further split into the generally leaner, shorter haired field (hunting) variety and the denser boned, densely haired show (“bench”) line. Unfortunately, like other purebred dogs, English springer spaniels are known to inherit genetic diseases that can keep some individuals from reaching the great potentials for which the breed is capable. One such inherited condition is an eye disease known as progressive retinal atrophy, cone-rod dystrophy 4 (PRA-crd4) caused by a mutation in the RPGRIP1 gene.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is not a single disease, but rather a group of inherited diseases each caused by different genetic mutations in different genes. The various forms of PRA affect over 100 different dog breeds. Though there are variations ...

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

When we look at the vast majority of genetic tests currently available for canine inherited diseases, we find a large number of diseases that can be predictably diagnosed with our current technology. For most of the available canine genetic tests, dog breeders understand that there are three commonly used designations applied to a dog for any given inherited disease; normal, carrier or affected. By knowing the way a disease is inherited (recessive vs dominant vs X-linked) and the number of copies of a mutation present in an individual, genetic testing laboratories like Paw Print Genetics can give predictable information about these diseases because they have a clear, 100% correlation between the cause and the illness. 

Unfortunately for dog breeders, inheritance is not always as clear cut as a simple recessive or dominant pattern. In fact, the diseases with a clear-cut inheritance pattern likely only make up a small percentage of the diseases with inherited components. Some of the most frustrating diseases for dog breeders and geneticists are those which pose an increased risk by the combined effects of multiple genetic mutations and/or environmental conditions. In these multifactorial diseases, rather than a 100% correlation between a singular genetic mutation ...

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

Inherited Diseases of the Beagle

It’s easy to see why the beagle has been ranked near the top of AKC registered dog breeds since their acceptance in to the AKC registry in 1885.  Their amiable personality, fantastic sense of smell, and natural talent as a hunter and guard dog have kept them popular with American dog lovers for the past 130 years. Unfortunately, like most popular, purebred dog breeds, particular inherited diseases can make life tough for some beagle blood lines. Luckily, the genetic cause of some of the beagle’s known inherited diseases have been discovered. Thus, allowing laboratories such as Paw Print Genetics to develop genetic tests that allow for the elimination of these disorders through informed selective breeding. The following genetic tests are available at Paw Print Genetics:

Musladin-Lueke Syndrome

One of the largest inherited disease concerns for beagle breeders is a disease known as Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS). MLS is listed on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) as a required test for the beagle and is typically identified in affected puppies by 2 to 3 weeks of age. MLS is a connective tissue disease that causes stiff, contracted joints, and inelastic skin giving affected dogs a characteristic tip-toe walk described as ...