Paw Print Genetics, a Spokane-based division of Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc., today announced the launch of a research study to identify the prevalence of genetic mutations that cause inherited diseases in law enforcement and military working dogs.
“We are inviting organizations throughout the U.S. to participate in a study to identify the genetic risks for diseases that inhibit a dog's ability to perform on the job,” said Paw Print Genetics CEO, Dr. Lisa Shaffer. “The results of this research are anticipated to provide information that will benefit law enforcement and military organizations and the health of the dogs that serve them, while sparking a dialogue about the benefits of testing for inherited diseases prior to breeding, buying or training.”
Studies have shown that all dogs are susceptible to genetic diseases. Advancements in molecular technologies now allow for direct mutational analysis to identify dogs that are affected or predicated to develop sometimes crippling genetic conditions. The aim of the study is to contribute to the understanding of genetic diseases that affect law enforcement and military dogs and support research that will result in a healthier selection of dogs for work.
Dr. Patricia Phelps of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History Office of Education and Outreach in Washington D.C. is mentoring two Poolesvile High School interns to work with local K9 police units to collect DNA samples. “We are pleased to be able to contribute to this research that will provide a better understanding of the genetic mutations carried by specific breeds and help local and federal agencies to make informed decisions about the procurement of dogs.”
The study invites organizations to gather three cheek samples from each dog using kits provided at no cost by Paw Print Genetics. Participants will submit samples for testing and analysis. Results will be made anonymous in any publication, but participates can learn about the genetic health of their individual dogs. Enrollment is targeted to law enforcement and military dogs with anticipated enrollment of 100 to 200 dogs.
The study will be conducted by principle investigators Lisa Shaffer, PhD, FACMG, CEO of Paw Print Genetics; Blake Ballif, PhD, laboratory and scientific director of Paw Print Genetics and Christina Ramirez, PhD, DVM, DACVP, medical director of Paw Print Genetics.