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Paw Print Genetics: A new approach to canine inherited disease testing

Posted By Lisa G Shaffer, PhD, Thursday, March 27, 2014
The German shepherd is just one of many exceptional dog breeds. Versatile in their abilities, they are often the first choice for law enforcement, personal protection and companionship. How a specific dog breed has so many desirable characteristics is not a mystery. All domesticated dogs were bred for specific behavioral or physical traits that were required for certain jobs – whether it was for chasing and catching varmints, retrieving the evening’s dinner, or bringing in the herd, dogs are the perfect species for a variety of tasks.  

All of these traits, behavioral and physical, have a genetic component and are determined by an accumulation of genes with modifications, or mutations, that result in some outcome. Whether the traits are willingness to retrieve, coat color or skull shape, humans chose founding stock to create the various breeds and bred these dogs for the desired traits. However, undesirable, even harmful genetic mutations were carried along in these breeds. The most ancient mutations can be found in many breeds of dogs, whereas those mutations that arose more recently maybe found in only one or two breeds. 

With the advent of molecular genetic technologies and the sequencing of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) genome, testing for genetic traits and diseases has become quite straightforward from a laboratory perspective and desired from a responsible breeder’s standpoint. In addition, genetic testing has become a necessity from an ownership perspective.

Owning a dog is a time consuming, financial and emotional investment. How many hours of training have you put into your hunting dog or police K9? Many have done the same with their dogs, but were then forced to retire them early due to late onset degenerative diseases; blindness caused by one of the progressive retinal atrophies or one of many other debilitating conditions. If these devastating diseases could be tested for and eliminated from lines prior to breeding, buying or training, why wouldn’t you do that? 

Paw Print Genetics’ goal is to offer all known mutations that cause disease in specific breeds in a panel format. For example, in German shepherd dogs, there are nine diseases or traits for which the genetic mutations are known. Paw Print Genetics offers testing for all of these. 

Paw Print Genetics’ panel approach to disease testing is unique in the industry. Because genetic mutations can lurk silently in breeding lines until a puppy is born with medical problems, the panel approach to testing in the dam and sire makes economic and scientific sense. Once the dam and sire have been screened and their genetics are known, the expected outcomes can be anticipated and decisions about breeding can be made with knowledge and understanding of your dogs’ genomes. Puppies need only to be tested for those diseases known from the dam and sire testing. If both are clear, the puppies do not need any further genetic testing for these diseases. 

Staffed with expertly trained PhD geneticists, licensed veterinarians and molecular biologists, the laboratory at Paw Print Genetics uses state-of-the-art testing methodologies to provide cost effective and efficient testing for its clients. Based on small amounts of DNA, all testing is done with cheek swabs – a noninvasive approach that can be done in the convenience of the breeder or owner’s kennel or home. 

Paw Print Genetics takes the testing of your dogs very seriously. We have implemented the highest medical and laboratory standards because we know that accurate and reliable testing is important to you, and frankly, it's the only way we know how to do business.  

For additional information, please visit https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/

Tags:  Breeding  Canines  Dogs  Paw Print Genetics  Spokane  Tests  Traits  Veterinary  WBBA  WSU 

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