Genetic test resource helps breed healthier dogs

AKC Canine Health Foundation has published a white paper to help veterinarians interpret genetic test results

Preventing future generations of dogs from suffering illness due to inherited disease is the primary objective of a new resource from the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation (CHF).

The nonprofit organization has published a review of the current state of genetic testing in dogs. The resource, which was funded by AKC CHF and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), is designed to help veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners make sound decisions when interpreting and understanding the implications of canine genetic test results.

“While scientific advances in the area of canine DNA testing are exciting, they have also led to a desperate need for continued education,” says Eddie Dziuk, chief operating officer of OFA and member of the AKC Delegates Canine Health Committee.

“Dog breeders, owners, and even veterinary professionals often struggle with questions such as test purpose, accuracy, breed specificity/appropriateness, and interpretation of results. The genetics white paper is a long awaited and needed resource to address today’s most pressing questions, and make better use of these powerful tools to breed healthier dogs.”

Offered as a tool to help improve the health of current and future generations of dogs, the white paper provides a review of practical applications and limitations of existing canine genetic tests, AKC CHF says.

“The AKC Canine Health Foundation and its donors hope dog breeders and caregivers use this resource to make informed and thoughtful decisions regarding their breeding plans, and disease prevention and treatment strategies for individual dogs,” says the foundation’s executive director, Calvin Carpenter, DVM, MBA, DACLAM. “Genetic testing is most impactful when properly used as one of many tools available to dog owners.”

Initiated by 2019 AKC board chair, Bill Feeney, the resource was completed by Liza Gershony, DVM, PhD, a 2019 CHF clinician scientist fellow; and CHF-funded researcher, Anita Oberbauer, PhD.

To access the white paper, click here.

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