Have you ever looked into your family’s history to know what diseases and conditions you are pre-disposed to? This is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your health and how you live your everyday life. The same goes for your pet. Now you can’t go and ask your dog’s mother about family history or your cat’s grandpa if anyone in the family has heart problems but luckily we have the tools to help.

How Do I Find Out What My Pet Is Pre-disposed To?:
There might not be an ancestry for pets but we have the next best thing- research! Genesis4Pets is a company that offers breed specific health care recommendations based on medical research and medical advances in canine genetic testing. This research is used to devise specific breed health care plans for your pet’s life based on their specific prevalence to diseases. If you do not know your pet’s specific breed you can perform a breed test to identify their primary breed. The test utilizes a small blood sample that can be obtained by your veterinarian. If you already know your pet’s breed then you can run a genetics test that identifies genetic markers and tells you specifically what diseases they are pre-disposed to.

Paws to consider: At VCPI we offer two different tests that helps us devise a specific health plan for your pet. One test will identify the dog breed as well as 100 genetic markers while the second test does not identify the dog breed but gives you 150 genetic markers.

If you are wondering how your pet’s breed can play such an important role in their health, think about how each breed is so unique and different. You could even think in simple terms such as size. Did you know that larger dogs are more likely to have bone cancer than smaller dogs? Or that small dogs are more likely to suffer from tracheal collapse? The same thinking goes into how each breed should be treated when it comes to prevention and wellness. For example, cardiomyopathy (a heart disease) is common in Boxers. By knowing this, your veterinarian can tell you what to look for in terms of physical outward signs of the disease. Also, your veterinarian can create a tailored prevention and diagnostics plan to include an ECG (electrocardiogram) of the heart starting at a young age. If heart disease is diagnosed because of good preventative care, then it is likely the disease was caught earlier in the dog’s life. This equates to a better outcome, better care and longer life because it was caught early.

Paws to consider: Breed focused care allows pet owners and your veterinary team to better prevent, diagnose, and treat many diseases and conditions earlier and more effectively.

What If My Pet Has A Genetically Pre-Disposed Disease?
If it is discovered that your pet has a disease, whether on a genetic test or during routine diagnostics, your veterinary team will devise a plan for you and your pet. The benefit of using breed based care for your pet is that generally your vet should be able to discover a problem earlier on. This is possible because knowing your pet’s breed gives clear indicators of what to look for and the types of diagnostics and prevention that should be done specifically based on pre-dispositions.

Even thinking beyond prevention in wellness, breed based care is important if you are considering breeding your pet. If you are now aware of what your pet is pre-disposed to-or even know for a fact your pet is a carrier of a specific disease due to genetic testing-this should be a determining factor to hold off on breeding as to not pass down any diseases.

Paws to consider: Pets are unique and need to be treated according to their distinct behavioral attributes, lifestyles, and genetic predispositions to disease, thereby helping them live longer, healthier and more enjoyable lives.