Tag archives: canine genetics

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 ...

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 ...

Genetics 101: Dominant and recessive traits in your dogs

Genetics 101: Dominant and recessive traits in your dogs

The field of genetics has progressed rapidly in recent years.  Perhaps you’ve seen headlines about these top genetic topics in 2013. These stories show the importance of genetics and how it affects us as individuals and as a society.  To understand the impact, though, one may need a review of Genetics 101: dominant vs. recessive disease traits.

In order for our bodies to work properly, our DNA must be coded in specific sequences.  DNA sequences are grouped into units called genes, which tell our bodies what to make to build cells and metabolize nutrients.  We are all a unique combination of re-shuffled genes from previous generations.  Everything from eye, hair and skin color, muscle, bone, etc. is coded by genes.  A mutation in a gene usually causes something to change and many of these changes can lead to disease. There are thousands of genes, and in humans, thousands of genetic disorders that result from mutations. 

One way to classify genetic disorders is to group them by how they are inherited.  With the exception of the sex chromosomes, X and Y, each of us has two copies of our genes.  One comes from ...

No Dogs Allowed: Quality Testing Guarantee

No Dogs Allowed: Quality Testing Guarantee

Have you ever wondered what goes on in a genetic testing laboratory? What kinds of measures are taken to guarantee quality testing? For example, does the laboratory that you use have what is pictured - a clean room? What is a clean room and why should they have one? And why can’t you bring your dog directly to the laboratory for swabbing?

Paw Print Genetics has received a lot of questions about our testing quality and accuracy – and we love it! Ask away! We like to talk about our lab and the careful approach we take to testing to ensure that your results are reliable and accurate. Otherwise, what’s the point?

A genetic testing lab must have accurate and reliable results. They should have performed validation studies for each of the diseases and mutations that they offer. Does your testing lab provide you with the test’s sensitivity and specificity for the diseases you are concerned about? Have you asked for this?

During our validation studies, we assessed eight performance criteria for each test: accuracy, precision, analytical specificity, analytical sensitivity, detection limits, reportable ranges, reference intervals and robustness. For example, accuracy refers to getting the right results; whereas, precision refers to ...

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 ...

Paw Print Genetics Health Segments on Working Man’s Retriever Television

Paw Print Genetics Health Segments on Working Man’s Retriever Television

You can now catch some great Paw Print Genetics information on The Working Man’s Retriever television show, which airs during “The Landing Zone” block of programming on the Sportsman Channel. You can also view each episode on the Paw Print Genetics YouTube page at any time!

Paw Print Genetics founder and CEO, Dr. Lisa Shaffer, a geneticist with more than two decades of experience, visits with host Dan Hosford and co-host Cynean Kenny in five separate episodes and discusses everything from the basics of how genetics work and the impact upon breeding decisions to when, how and why to test a new puppy and interpreting the results on your Canine Health Certificate.

Episode One: In the first episode of Working Man’s Retriever that Dr. Shaffer appears on, she discusses silent, or recessive genes; the differences between clear, carrier and affected dogs; how you can still safely breed dogs that are carriers of known genetic mutations and how, with consistent genetic testing you can eventually eliminate genetic mutations from your breeding program. She also touches on how a Canine Health Certificate adds value to a litter of puppies and acts as a safety measure for the puppy buyer.

Episode ...

"Health Guarantees" when Buying or Selling a Puppy?

"Health Guarantees" when Buying or Selling a Puppy?

In a continuation of our discussion of puppy "health guarantees" the question is: is it feasible to expect breeders to guarantee against all congenital and genetic defects and what should breeders guarantee or promise?  It is a pervasive "wisdom" that "good" breeders will only produce healthy puppies with no genetic problems or congenital defects and a "responsible breeder" certainly would never sell a puppy with a congenital or genetic defect.  This has long been a stated or implied expectation that breeders have placed on themselves and others and a notion that has passed on as conventional wisdom regarding the purchase of a puppy.   As a result, when a problem occurs, it is to be approached with chagrin, shame or denial on the part of the breeder and blame placed on the breeder by others.  But is this expectation reasonable?    Is expecting breeders to recognize the presence of all congenital defects even feasible?

Articles like Empowering international canine inherited disorder management by BJ Wilson and CM Wade published in Mammalian Genome in Feb of 2012and the increasing volume of canine health and genetic research illustrates the reality of genetic risk inherent in dog breeding ...

"Health Guarantees" when Buying a Puppy

"Health Guarantees" when Buying a Puppy

For as long as I can remember, when someone was purchasing a purebred puppy from a pet store (as my family did when I was a kid) or from a breeder, that puppy came with a "health guarantee".  If anything was wrong with the puppy you could return that puppy for a "full refund".  For some, offering the health guarantee is a "get out of jail free card" because of the "catch".  The catch being that the person who purchased the puppy had to return the puppy/dog in order to get their money back.  Of course the vast majority of people will have fallen in love with the puppy by then and will not give them up for any amount of money.

Some people will see that a "health guarantee" is offered and say  "oh-that means this is a reputable seller/breeder".  The presence of a health guarantee certainly does not ensure that the puppy was well bred or that the breeder is ethical.  It partially depends on the "fine print" of the health guarantee.  Nevertheless--a "health guarantee" is a standard practice among dog breeding, selling and purchasing.  People purchasing a ...