Genetic Testing ~Should They Be Done If I’m Not Breeding?

The end of July I wrote about GenSol Canine Genetics which is a laboratory that does genetic testing on your dog, if you missed it you can read about it here. I wrote about which tests the laboratory will do on Chesapeake’s and how to do the sampling. Once I got the results which was about a week later I wrote about the results of the tests which you can read here. Jan from Wag ‘N Woof Pets had a couple of very good questions which I would like to address today.

Genetic Testing ~Should They Be Done If I’m Not Breeding?

DSC_0642 Here were Jan’s questions:

  1. Do you think it serves much purpose if you don’t breed?

  2. Could you do anything to prevent any of these things if you knew about them ahead of time?

Two very good questions Jan, both questions I will answer with a yes and a yes.

DSC_0655 1. Do you think it serves much purpose if you don’t breed?

This would depend on the breed of dog and the genetic tests available. For the Chesapeake Bay Retriever I would say yes running the tests would serve a purpose even if I didn’t breed. I would want to run the genetic tests on the diseases that are hereditary if I didn’t know what the status of the parents were. In hence I wouldn’t know what the status of my dog was, if I knew I would know of potential problems that may arise later in life.

If people test their breeding stock and submit the results to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) database you can read the parents results and know what your dog might be. If the parents are clear for a certain genetic disease the offspring will be clear too, now that is the easy one to read and the offspring would be Clear By Parentage and testing isn’t necessary unless you would want to confirm it and have it in writing. If one parent was a clear and one parent was a carrier then the offspring would be either clear or carriers of the genetic disease. If one parent was a clear and one was affected then all puppies would be carriers.  If two carrier parents were bred together then the offspring would be affected that meaning the dog may or may not come down with the genetic disease. You wouldn’t know by looking at the puppy what it’s status is, that is where the test would come in handy.DSC_0657 So now that I completely confused you I’ll give you an example of what those results mean. Say you were testing your dog for EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) this is what the results would be depending on who was bred together.

CLEAR/NORMAL: These dogs have two copies of the normal gene and will neither develop Exercise Induced Collapse nor pass this mutation to their offspring.

CARRIER/NOT AFFECTED: These dogs have one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutation associated with this disease. They will not develop Exercise Induced Collapse but will, if bred, pass the mutation to 50% of its offspring, on average.

AT RISK/AFFECTED: These dogs have two copies of the mutation associated with this disease and are susceptible to collapse following periods of extreme exercise.

These results lead me into question #2.DSC_0663  2. Could you do anything to prevent any of these things if you knew about them ahead of time?

Again depending on the breed and the genetic testing being done if you knew what the results were for your dog you could be prepared for what may happen and know how to handle it or prevent it. When talking about EIC from above if you knew your dog was affected then you would know that when doing performance events with your dog it has the potential to over heat and collapse. This could be prevented if you knew the EIC status of your dog.

This is what happened with a friend of mine. He bought a Labrador, the parents didn’t have any genetic testing done, I think he was lucky if the parents even had their hips done. He wanted to run hunt tests with his dog so we started helping him train for it. When he became 7 months old while running marks he started panting more became weak and would collapse. He would lay there and just pant. I suspected EIC so I took his temperature and it was 106. Normal for a dog is 101-102.5. He had him tested and he was affected with EIC. If he knew what the EIC status was he would of known he couldn’t run his dog like that or at lease would know why he was doing the stuff he was doing when out in the field and know when to quit. Even if you weren’t running performance events if you run with your dog or it is just playing hard in the yard it could have the potential of collapsing.

So depending on the genetic disease  you can do things differently with your dog if you know the results even if you aren’t breeding.

12 Replies to “Genetic Testing ~Should They Be Done If I’m Not Breeding?”

  1. easyweimaraner

    thanks for answering this questions!!! I was unsure if it makes sense for us, but now I think: yes. we will ask our vet and I will ask for a hd x-ray too, maybe we can do it with the teeth cleaning so we have to send the pup just one time to sleepy-land…is that possible or better not?

  2. Dachshund Nola

    Fantastic post! I’ve had Nola’s patellas checked, and they’re normal. Her parents were both clear/normal for PRA, and her coloring doesn’t affect hearing, so no real reason to BAER test. Even though her parents had normal patellas, I had them checked just for peace of mind.
    Aside from that, the breed is relatively healthy, and the only other diseases that regularly affect them (epilepsy and IVDD) don’t yet have any sort of screening.

    Pike, my mini aussie, was from clear parents with everything except MDR1 (father was a carrier). Normal hips/elbows, normal patellas. I had his patellas checked, and had him tested for MDR1 (clear/clear). I think it’s important to test!

    1. Sand Spring Chesapeakes Post author

      Yes I should of added the bit about not available for every breed. I to do not think there is a test for mixed the only one I could think of that might work on mixes is the test for the collie drug reaction gene but would have to look that up