Tag archives: Canine DNA testing

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 ...

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Since we opened Paw Print Genetics in April of 2013, we have had the opportunity to work with many breeders and other dog owners who already had previous experience with genetic testing of their dogs. Though the vast majority of these clients have praised us for our ease of ordering, unrivaled customer service, and quick test results, some clients have expressed some confusion in regards to why (or how) we use cheek swabs as our default method of DNA collection opposed to other methods that they were already familiar with.

In The Beginning

When making choices about how Paw Print Genetics would operate, we decided we wanted to eliminate as many barriers to canine inherited disease testing as possible. Not only did we want to make testing more convenient by offering as many disease tests as possible under one roof, we also wanted to make the experience of DNA collection easy and more convenient. To accomplish this, we chose to allow our clients to collect DNA in their own home or kennel with cheek swabs we provide (at no additional cost) after an order is placed. This decision eliminates the time, effort, and expense our clients had previously had to ...

My Dog is Better at Computers Than I Am. How Do I Place an Order at Paw Print Genetics?

My Dog is Better at Computers Than I Am. How Do I Place an Order at Paw Print Genetics?

It’s easy to order from Paw Print Genetics, but having a little help never hurts. From the minute you enter the Paw Print Genetics website, we have quality control measures in place to ensure that your results reflect the samples that you sent to us. We have discussed our quality topics before, but we haven’t explained to you why you must associate each test with a dog when you place your order.  Many of our customers order different tests for each of their dogs, so their orders can be quite complex. To ensure that we are performing the right tests on the right samples, it is important for you to tell us what you want on each dog.  The following steps will help you create an account and place your order. There are three main steps: create an account, enter your dogs, associate tests with each dog and place your order. 

First: How to create an account

Click the Login button at the top of the web page. When the Login To Your Account screen appears click the Create An Account button. In the Create New Account screen, enter all the required data then click the Create Account ...

The Complexity of the Canine Genome

The Complexity of the Canine Genome

Genetic testing may seem simple on the surface.  Order a test.  If it’s positive, the dog will have symptoms.  If it’s negative, there is no risk for the disease.  Open and shut.  However, there are many molecular details that can make genetic testing extremely complicated.  Today’s topic is reviewing these facts and how they impact the diagnosis of a genetic condition and the chance it may happen again.  My goal isn’t to bestow upon you an honorary degree in genetics, but to help you understand how these diseases are diagnosed and how genetic testing for those diseases is designed and interpreted.

Although genetic testing is expanding at an extremely fast pace, it is not perfect.  Genetic testing can allow you eliminate certain conditions but, unfortunately, nobody has a crystal ball and can therefore, not exclude all possible diseases in any dog. Genetic tests are designed after a mutation causing a disease has been described in the medical literature. It may be a mutation common in a particular breed or it may be very rare. In addition, it may not be the only mutation in that gene, or there may be other genes ...

The Variability of Certain Canine Diseases

The Variability of Certain Canine Diseases

In my last blog, I defined words that described when symptoms may present themselves in a dog affected with a genetic condition.  Today’s topic of discussion is how those symptoms show up (or not show up).  These terms are easily confused with each other.  I’ve even heard some geneticists can get these definitions mixed up.  Let me introduce two terms: Incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity.

Incomplete penetrance is a term that describes symptoms, which may or may not be present in a dog with an at-risk or affected genotype.  The dog has the mutated gene in the right number of copies to cause the disease, but the dog may not show physical symptoms of the disease.  As you can imagine, this can cause some confusion when examining the pedigrees of your dogs and this is when genetic testing becomes an important tool.  If genetic testing is positive, we know the dog has the mutation that causes the disease. Regardless if there are symptoms, this dog can pass this mutation on to its offspring.  Knowing this information may impact breeding practices, as discussed in previous blogs.  The concept of incomplete penetrance is an ...

Who’s on First: Congenital, Adult-Onset, and Progressive Conditions

Who’s on First:  Congenital, Adult-Onset, and Progressive Conditions

When it comes to diagnosing genetic conditions in dogs (or in humans), doctors use a variety of clues.  One of those clues may not necessarily be what the physical symptoms are, but when did the physical symptoms start happening.  Today’s blog focuses on the when, not the what, of genetic diseases.  Although the when of genetic disease does not exclude the importance of what; when will be today’s topic.  Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you and you may be thinking about the old slapstick comedy routine “Who’s on First” by Abbot and Costello, let’s get started. 

“Congenital” is a term that often floats around the medical community when discussing disease symptoms.  It simply means “present at birth”.  This complicated word comes from the Latin root “congenitus”, which literally means “born together with”.  Con – with; genitus – to bear, or beget.  If a symptom or group of symptoms is seen right when a pup is born, it is congenital.  When making a diagnosis of an inherited genetic condition, knowing the symptoms are congenital can shorten the list of what genetic condition may be the cause.  Only recently has canine ...

A New Year’s Tip: Sampling a new litter for genetic testing

A New Year’s Tip:  Sampling a new litter for genetic testing

Paw Print Genetics often gets asked about an optimal time to swab a new litter of puppies. When reviewing these tips, please keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks to obtain results once Paw Print Genetics has received the swabs.  Therefore, allow plenty of time for the laboratory to process your samples before promising a specific date that the puppy can join its new home.

Puppies and dogs can be tested at any age. However, it is a good idea to allow the puppies to stabilize after birth, bond with their mother, and demonstrate that they can feed and grow before testing.  You do not have to wait until the puppies are weaned; once the puppies are stable and thriving, they can be swabbed.  For puppies that are not weaned, the puppies should be separated from their mother for at least two hours prior to swabbing. This is to ensure we get the DNA of the puppy instead of the mom's DNA. During this time, they should have plenty of water and should not be allowed food to avoid contamination of samples. Once the swabbing is completed, the pups can rejoin their ...

Road Trips for #K9health

Road Trips for #K9health

Meeting our customers face to face and personally answering their questions is a high priority for Paw Print Genetics. In the last month, several members from our team have hit the road to attend dog shows. We had the pleasure to meet hundreds of dogs and their owners to talk about the value of inherited disease testing when breeding and buying a puppy.

In late September, Casey, our DVM and Assistant Medical Director and I travelled to Salem, Oregon for The Poodle Club of America’s Regional Specialty. We met poodles of all sizes and colors from all over the region. The poodle owners spent hours grooming and attending to their canines, but when they had a moment they stopped by our booth to talk about their concerns regarding genetic diseases.  Our Poodle Panel  includes six inherited diseases found in the breed. After discussing health concerns with these owners, most indicated that they always test for PRA-PRCD and neonatal encephalopathy. Many people were unaware that several breeds, including poodles, are possible carriers for degenerative myelopathy, a devastating disease with onset later in life.

Before returning to Spokane, we had one more show to attend in Kennewick, Washington for the 80 ...

How prevalent is Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in the dog?

How prevalent is Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in the dog?

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a group of inherited mammalian diseases characterized by abnormal accumulations of a metabolic byproduct known as lipofuscin in nerve cells and various organs of the body.  The accumulation of lipofuscin eventually leads to progressive nerve cell dysfunction and severe neurological symptoms including behavioral changes, balance issues, muscle atrophy, uncoordinated movement, blindness, head tremors and seizures.  Other organ systems can also be affected to various degrees depending on the severity of lipofuscin build up.  Most dogs will die due the disease or are euthanized when neurologic problems progress to the point of preventing normal daily activities.  While most types of NCL begin to cause clinical signs around 1 to 2 years of age in dogs, the age of onset and speed of progression vary significantly upon the type of NCL.  Variable presentation and progression among NCL types is expected given that multiple genes can cause this clinical condition.

Unfortunately, details about disease incidence and prevalence within a breed are often difficult to obtain including NCL.  Without going into an in-depth discussion about statistics, among other conditions, in order to estimate incidence and prevalence of disease for an entire population, individuals ...

The Tragedy of Canine Genetic Disease

The Tragedy of Canine Genetic Disease

Dedicated in loving memory of Rigel - the blue star Afghan - may his star burn brightly.

Many understand the "need for canine health testing".  People will dutifully test their dog’s hips, eyes (CERF exam), maybe elbows, thyroid, knees and the one DNA test for the BIG recessive genetic disease that has been known to exist in their breed for years.  This sequence is what they have been taught that they must do to be a responsible breeder by the forefathers in their breed clubs.  But how much do people really understand the need for genetic testing?

What about uncommon genetic disease in the breed?  Every individual carries recessive non-working or disease genes; many of which are uncommon and can run silently in the family for generations before two carriers are bred together and produce affected puppies.   It has often been touted that one reason for inbreeding is to identify and weed out recessive disorders, but how often is this actually done?  If the problem is uncommon and unknown, affected individuals, especially those that die young, can go undiagnosed, especially if each and every puppy is not extensively evaluated.   So the problem occurs unrecognized, unidentified and ...