Even if you know your pet’s breed, you may be wondering what else there is to know about your dog or cat. Pet DNA can be a great way to learn more about your pet! DNA testing can reveal your pet’s genetic makeup, family history, and even let you know of any potential health risks associated with your pet.
What is Pet DNA Testing?
DNA testing is a way to analyze your pet’s genetic makeup to find out more information about your pet. These tests can be conducted with a small sample of your pet’s cells either from an oral swab or blood sample.
The sample is then submitted to a laboratory for DNA analysis with the results reported several weeks later. Most tests take 3 to 8 weeks to provide results.
In rising popularity, some DNA tests can be bought over the counter at pet stores or online, however, your veterinarian is also able to assist you in finding out more about your pet’s DNA.
Many pet DNA tests on the market are targeted for dogs, but rest assured there are tests out there for cats. The research for genetic testing in other animals for health markers is still new so limited testing is available commercially.
Benefits of Testing Your Pet
DNA testing can be a great way to learn more about your pet. The benefits of DNA testing can include learning more about the following:
- Associated breed traits
- Potential associated health conditions
How Accurate Are Test Results?
With DNA testing for humans, there are millions of studies to look at how gene mutations can affect your overall health. However, for dogs, cats, and other animals, the research and science into animal DNA testing is still new.
It is important to note that there are no current regulations or general rules in place for animal DNA testing, meaning you could take multiple tests and receive varied results.
There are many tests out there that may tell pet owners their pets have markers for certain health conditions without solid years of evidence to back up the claim. More and more, veterinarians are having clients come in with concerns about their pets developing certain conditions based on DNA tests and wanting to make treatment decisions right away. Some treatment options can be costly, highly invasive, and may not be in the pet’s best interest.
Your veterinarian is your best source for caring for your pet. By taking your pet in for regular health checks, they can monitor your pet’s health and make necessary changes to their lifestyle to ensure they live the best life possible in your care. If you are concerned about potential health conditions, your vet can run several tests and make appropriate treatment plans as needed.
Should I Have My Pet Tested?
Though more research needs to be done on animal genetic testing, there are still some benefits to having your pet tested. Every breed has certain established physical traits as well as commonly associated personality quirks. By knowing your pet’s genetic makeup and percentage of breed mixtures, you can learn more about your pet and gain a better understanding of their energy, temperament, and needed care.
If you are curious about finding out more about your pet, then DNA testing could be beneficial. It is important to note that results are not 100% and can vary on the test, testing company, and their research. Discuss the results with your veterinarian so that you can make informed decisions about your pet’s health together. For more information on DNA testing for pets or to schedule an appointment, contact Hunt Valley Animal Hospital today.