DNA Test Digs Deeper Into Dogs’ Background

The Genetic Health Analysis not only identifies ancestral breeds, it raises red flags about potential health problems.

Royal Canin USA Inc. has released an upgraded version of the Genetic Health Analysis, a diagnostic tool that can identify a dog’s ancestry going back three generations, spot genetic mutations and warn of a predisposition to certain health conditions.

The veterinary-exclusive test features a tenfold increase in the number of genetic markers tested and disease markers reported—at least 3,000 and 140, respectively, the company reported today.

Veterinarians may use the results to detect the breeds in a dog’s bloodline, predict the animal’s ideal weight, adjust feeding guidelines, screen for potential diseases or conditions, and develop a health and wellness plan.

MDR1 genetic mutation testing is included.

“The presence of a mutation in the MDR1 gene, for example, can make a dog much more sensitive to many commonly used medications, but veterinarians have no way of knowing unless they run a test,” said Cindy Cole, DVM, Ph.D., the director of research and development at sister company Mars Veterinary.

“The updated analysis can also screen for degenerative myelopathy, a devastating condition that generally develops later in life,” Dr. Cole added. “Knowing that your patient is at risk allows you to proactively plan a lifetime of care for that dog.”

The analysis, once known as the Wisdom Panel Professional Test, requires a veterinarian to draw a blood sample and mail it to a laboratory. A detailed report designed for pet owners is returned within two to three weeks.

Mars Veterinary customer care manager Katie Lytle, DVM, MS, MPH, said the test results enable “the veterinary-client conversation to move from reactive to proactive.”

“Based on the results, veterinarians can create customized health and wellness plans for each dog they serve,” Dr. Lytle said. “This capability benefits not only the dog, but also the veterinary industry at large.”

Royal Canin, which also makes cat and dog food, is based in St. Charles, Mo.

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