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Importance of Genetic Testing

Posted In: Canine Health & Wellness

Learning your dog’s breed through DNA testing is fun, but did you know genetic health testing can also check for disease mutations? At AMCMA, we offer the Royal Canin® Genetic Health Analysis TM, which compares the DNA of over 250 breeds, types, and varieties taken from over 12,000 dogs across the world. The test also checks for over 140 specific disease mutations.

Testing can provide valuable information about your dog. One of our patients recently had a Genetic Health Analysis. Here’s his story and what we discovered:

Rooster was experiencing mobility problems, and we started to wonder if he had degenerative myelopathy (or DM for short). DM is a slow and progressive spinal cord disorder that eventually results in hind end paralysis.

We encouraged Rooster’s parents to have him take the Genetic Health Analysis test. The results were informative and interesting!

The test results indicate that Rooster carries one copy of the degenerative myelopathy mutation. As this is a recessive disorder, Rooster should not develop the disease, and no further testing is typically required. We learned that Rooster’s mobility issues were not a result of DM, and we were able to reassure his parents that his mobility was manageable through integrative therapies like the underwater treadmill and laser treatments.

The test results indicate that Rooster carries no copies of the MDR1 mutation. Dogs with MDR1 mutation are at risk of life-threatening illness or death if they are given certain medications. The reason is that the gene mutation allows the drugs, such as certain antibiotics, flea/tick preventatives or sedatives, to build up in the brain. If your dog has the MDR1 mutation, your veterinarian can prescribe other medications that do not pose risk of building up in the brain.

Rooster's test results show American Staffs. Terrier Mix crossed with American Staffs. Terrier / German Shepherd Dog Mix with a portion of the ancestry mixed beyond three generations. Rooster’s humans thought he was a Labrador Mix! While knowing Rooster’s breed doesn’t change the fact that they love him dearly, it is fun to now pick out Rooster’s traits that are typical of American Staffordshire Terriers and German Shepherds!

The predicted weight range for Rooster is 48 - 78 lbs. Predicted weight range is good information for puppy parents to have. It gives them a better idea how big their puppy will be when fully grown, so there should be no surprises. Rooster took the test as an adult, and at his last checkup, he weighed 74.5 pounds. We can see that he fits within the predicted weight.

Your veterinarian may recommend genetic testing if he or she suspects your dog could be a carrier for a disease mutation. If you have any questions about the genetic test, give us a call!

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at two locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.