Why Genetic Testing??

Last month I did a review on the testing facility I used, Paw Print Genetics, for some of Maia’s genetic testing I needed to have done. You can read about it here.

Why do we do genetic testing on our breeding stock??

For me it is just one of the tools I use, to quote a friend, “in a full toolbox” to determine how and who I am going to breed my bitch to. I do not use the results to eliminate dogs but to make better breeding decisions to help reduce the risk of producing dogs that will have certain diseases or afflictions.

The information in my tool box enables me to choose a stud dog that will compliment her not only genetically but physically as well. Bringing things to the breeding I am looking to improve upon while also trying to minimize the bad genes coming through.

In my “full toolbox” I have the information from her pedigree, my breed standard, status of hips, elbows, Eye Certification, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED/SFS), and a Brucellosis test which will be done right before breeding. I also have the knowledge and wisdom of some long time breeders/mentors, some not so long time breeders and all the research and educational classes I have done on my own. I have a list of potential stud dogs that I have compiled, this list is a living document as it changes all the time depending of the bitch and how the male will compliment her.

Now how am I going to use this information? For example, Maia is a DM carrier but clear on PRA, EIC, and ED/SFS, so I would lean towards a clear male for DM and I have wiggle room on the other tests because with her being clear even if I used a carrier male I would not be producing pups that were at risk of getting the disease. Why you ask would I do that and not breed to a male that is all clear?? Well if it is the right male that might just be what I do however, in my breed if you only focus on the all clears then you will be limiting the gene pool greatly. I guess you could say “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. If we continually dismissed dogs that were not clear on every single trait we soon would be left with very limited breeding stock and could also cause great harm to the breed as a whole. Not to mention missing out on some pretty great dogs!

For me it is looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my breeding stock and then finding a suitable mate that will build on the strengths and hopefully correct the weaknesses.

Let’s face it, there are no perfect dogs out there. They are living breathing beings and as such we can only do the best we can when it comes to breeding. That is why I use all the tools at my disposal to make the very best educated decisions I can. The rest is up to nature!

Advertisements

Paw Print Genetics Review

Recently I used Paw Print Genetics to do some genetic testing on Maia.

I was introduced to them a couple years ago through friends on Facebook. I kept seeing all these posts about the site so I thought I should check this out. What I found was a place to do my major genetic testing at a price I could afford while not skimping on quality. This is from the homepage of their website…

Highest Industry Standards and Accuracy

Our laboratory is staffed with expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians. We are equipped with the latest testing technology and analyze each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy in the industry.

  • All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
  • Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
  • Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
  • All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
  • Majority of test results accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
  • Diagnostic-grade DNA extracted from a variety of accepted sample types

They were offering half off their breed panels, so I couldn’t pass it up. The breed panels are great as each one is geared to a specific breed so you know you are ordering the correct tests. The breed panel for Chesapeake’s consists of:

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): is a gradually progressive neurological disorder of Chessies and many other breeds. It is similar to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a condition found in humans. For more information, look here.

Exercised Induced Collapse (EIC): is a neuromuscular condition that causes collapse of dogs when they become overly excited or exercise heavily. For more information, look here.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a general term referring to several different genetic diseases. These diseases have one thing in common: they affect a dog’s vision by gradual destruction of the retina of the dog’s eye. For more information, look here.

Ectodermal Dysplasia (EDA):  a skin fragility syndrome, where affected dogs begin showing signs of skin sloughing off from the nose, footpads, and lips immediately after birth. The disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease, meaning animals with a single copy of the mutation show no symptoms, while those with two copies usually die at a very young age due to the aforementioned symptoms and general failure to thrive. For more information, look here.

I was very pleased with their service. My test kit arrived in a timely manner and included the swabs, the paperwork to be returned with the swabs, all I had to do is verify the information and sign it and the prepaid return envelope. The instructions were very easy to understand, including a video I could view online. Once I did the swabs on Maia and sent everything back to them they sent me an email when they received my tests, I liked this so I didn’t have to wonder about it. Once they had completed testing they emailed me with my results. I had my results in a week even though they had told me two weeks, (note that result times may vary, this was just my experience). I had a follow up email from a real person regarding my experience with the company, to me that is great customer care in this age of automated messages.

The website it very user friendly and I was able to set up my breeder profile so I could easily give potential puppy buyers the link to check the results for themselves as well as having my paper copies. They also have a badge that you can download and use on your website or blog that enables people to see that you use them and I was able to link it right to my profile page.

breeder_seal_sm.3140d451c4d0

Go ahead and click it to check out my profile, you know you want to Winking smile

Their tests are very affordable however they have specials quite frequently, who doesn’t like a deal! So if you are looking for a genetic testing facility I highly recommend Paw Print Genetics!

Tina and the Brown Dogs