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Dog DNA kits reveal genetically linked illnesses

Beagle dog
© Pexels

DNA kits for humans are all the rage at the moment. But could a similar device for dogs help us to understand why some breeds are more prone to diseases than others? 
 

By Nick Whittle, 9 Feb 2019

Genetic testing company Wisdom Health offers two genetic test kits for your dog. The Wisdom Panel Breed Detection kit provides:

  • A percentage breakdown of breeds and breed groups found in your dog

  • A detailed family tree going back three generations

  • Extensive information about each breed

  • A predicted weight profile

  • Potentially life-saving drug sensitivity

The Wisdom Panel Health kit is a disease detection analysis system which provides:

  • Extensive genetic health screening for 150+ conditions covering 16 major body systems

  • Breed detection for 350+ breeds, types and varieties broken down into a pie chart for percentages and into a family tree going back three generations

  • Extensive information about each breed

  • A predicted weight profile

  • A genetic trait analysis

The benefit of testing dog DNA

Such testing kits provide useful basic insights. For instance, if you own a crossbreed or a mongrel dog you may be able to tell what parentage they have, and to know such information can guide your measure of the dog’s food and exercise accordingly.

But the true wisdom of the tests is their highlighting potentially lethal inherited health problems. Wisdom’s genetic screening uses ‘20,000 genetic markers, around 1800 for breed identification and the rest for diseases and traits,’ according to Wired.com.  

To be vigilant of your dog’s health is one of the best ways to prevent creeping diseases from becoming aggressive. Not knowing the signs of illness can in the end mean that a dog’s chances of survival are nil.

With tests such as this offered by Wisdom, owners are now armed with information about the likelihood of diseases, and what kinds of diseases their dog may be susceptible to.

The advent of relatively inexpensive genetic testing for dogs (as well as humans) allows owners to know a little more about their dog’s background and warns them in advance of nasty diseases taking hold.