DNA testing in dogs enables the identification of genes responsible for specific traits including diseases, as well as confirmation of parentage. The Kennel Club has partnered with the equine Thoroughbred registration body Weatherbys to provide a simplified DNA genetic testing process, utilising the facilities of one of the leading European DNA testing laboratories.
The new testing kit is available to all dog breeders and provides a combination DNA health test to identify breed-specific genetic disorders from a single sample. The results are automatically registered on the dog’s record and updated on the Kennel Club health tests results finder.
Professor Ian Ramsey, vice-president of the BSAVA and Chairman of its Scientific Committee said: “The BSAVA supports the principle of genetic testing to help improve overall dog health and to eradicate certain health conditions associated with specific breeds.”
The BSAVA does, however, advise vets and owners to exercise caution in the use of genetic testing.
Professor Ramsey continued: “It is important for vets and owners to remember that a degree of caution should always be exercised with genetic tests on healthy animals. In animals with clinical disease, the results of genetic tests can be interpreted in the light of clinical signs. Testing healthy animals to determine if they carry disease markers or specific genes may lead to over-interpretation of the results, especially if there is no way to verify their true status. However, with robust methodology and external verification, the new combination testing represents a positive step towards improved health and welfare of breeds vulnerable to genetic conditions.”
For further information on the Kennel Club’s new testing kit visit www.kennelclub.org.uk
For information on how to become a BSAVA member click here.