Why does your dog need a genetic health screen?

Why does your dog need a genetic health screen?

Most of us have an idea of our family health history and if there are any conditions that run in the family. In contrast, you may have precious little information about the health conditions your dog may be at risk for, or may be destined to get, in later life. 

In the past couple of years, a revolution in genetics has taken place due to advances in genome sequencing. This has resulted in the discovery of causative mutations for hundreds of inherited diseases in our pets, and therefore, the ability to test for them. 

Genetic health testing carries a number of advantages to both dog owners and to breeders. One of the main benefits is to identify diseases that will affect your dog's health during its life. This gives you and your vet the earliest opportunity to manage your dog's lifestyle to minimise the effects of a disease, for example by regulating diet or exercise. 

Using Foresight Health to check your dog also means quicker action later in your dog's life. If you already know they will develop a disease when they're older, you can avoid expensive diagnostic testing to rule out other diseases when the symptoms start to show, and start with the right treatment from day one. DNA testing for mutations that determine how well a drug will work are also useful to help your vet determine the correct dosage of these drugs when they treat your dog. 

If you decide to breed your dog, Foresight Health is essential. Some "backyard breeders" test for coat colours and use this to say a dog is "DNA tested". However, the good breeders know that DNA testing really means carrying out a full genetic health screen. You will need to know if your dog "carries" the mutations for any inherited diseases. Our dogs (and us) carry two copies of each gene, and a carrier of a disease will have one normal copy and one mutated copy and will appear perfectly normal and healthy. However, if a carrier of a disease is bred to another carrier, there is a 25% chance that each puppy will be affected by that disease. 

Foresight Health is the most cost effective way to find out about your dog's risk for inherited diseases, so make the most of modern technology and find out about your dog's future health. All it takes is a completely painless cheek swab from your dog, which we send to you in the post. You send the swab back to us and we send you the results, fully interpreted by a PhD geneticist and in an easy to understand format. If your dog is at risk for any disease, we also send you additional information that you can show to your vet (or we can speak to your vet, on request). If you need any advice following the results you can always call or email us for follow up at any time. 

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