Where Can You Get DNA Tests for Dogs and Cats?
DNA test kits for dogs and cats are readily available for purchase online, at local pet stores and markets, and through veterinary clinics. There are a wide variety of tests available for canines ranging from basic DNA analysis to more extended results that include the identification of potential genetic health disorders.
Cat DNA tests have just begun to populate the pet market. Initially, dog DNA kits dominated the market as dogs are easier to get mouth swabs from. Cat DNA tests have evolved where pieces of hair are used, a much easier process for both the cat owners and the cats. Interestingly, cat DNA is more similar to human DNA than that of dogs, so it is likely that more feline DNA tests will emerge on the market soon as cats continue to develop as applicable models for studying human diseases.
DNA Tests: Should You Test Your Pet?
If you are interested in learning more about your dog or cat’s genetics and predisposition to potential diseases and disorders, then a DNA test may be a worthwhile investment. It is critical that pet owners understand that DNA test results are not a guarantee and that any results should be discussed with your veterinarian before you make any changes to your pet’s lifestyle, food, or living accommodations.
What Are the Drawbacks of DNA Tests for Pets?
One of the primary drawbacks of DNA tests for dogs and cats is a misunderstanding on the part of the pet owner. Some owners purchase DNA kits, find out the results, and panic that their pet could be stricken with an incurable genetic disease.
Sadly, there have been cases where owners decided to euthanize their pet without talking to a veterinarian about the test results. Making critical medical decisions on your pet’s behalf based on one DNA test is not advised; always speak to your veterinarian about any concerns you may have about test results.
Another concern with DNA testing is its lack of accuracy. No test is foolproof, and some tests are more refined and accurate than others. Scientists are still learning about the ins and outs of genetics, and while what can be determined is helpful, it should not be the basis for significant decisions.
There are also no established standards for DNA tests for pets; thus results may vary widely depending on the particular company and their ways of devising test results. Although tests may indicate problematic genetic markers, they cannot prove that a dog or cat has a specific condition or is guaranteed to develop an illness. For example, a goldendoodle’s DNA test may show a predisposition to eye diseases, such as cataracts or glaucoma; however, that particular genetic defect may be rendered moot by such conditions as environment, veterinary care, and diet.