The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in our bodies determines our gender, growth, and development, and the same is true of dogs and cats. The DNA of animals can provide important clues regarding hereditary disease and general disease progression that veterinarians otherwise would not be able to obtain.

At Florence Animal Hospital, we feel that having access to your pet’s DNA can be an important part of preventative care. We explain the benefits, considerations, and types of information you can find out by having your pet’s DNA tested.

DNA Testing for Dogs

The typical dog has 78 chromosomes, which includes bands of DNA and four nucleotides. The names of the nucleotides are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. The arrangement of the four nucleotides determine the genetic makeup of your dog. Because the father of a dog is often unknown, knowing the breed of your pet can be challenging. For many pet owners, the inability to understand their genetic risk factors poses an even greater concern.

It is important to keep in mind that genetic testing for pets is still in its infancy. However, you can learn important clues that allow you to gain a better understanding of your pet’s unique health risks and even breed-specific behavior. Knowing that certain behaviors are more common with specific breeds can make training your dog easier and living with them a much more pleasant experience.

If you decide to go ahead with a DNA test for your dog, remember that your dog having a dominant or recessive gene for a certain disease does not necessarily mean they will develop it. The benefit of having the information is that you can observe your dog for health and behavior issues common with their breed and act accordingly to get the interventions your dog needs.

DNA Testing for Cats

You can learn a lot of valuable information about your feline friend just by gathering a saliva sample or sending in a few pieces of fur. Each DNA company has unique requirements for the type of information cat owners must provide. These companies also offer different types of DNA testing for cats depending on what the owner is hoping to learn.

Some details from a cat DNA test, such as lineage, coat pattern, and whether your cat carries the gene for short or long hair, are just fun to know. Other results are much more practical, like knowing whether your cat is likely to develop a specific genetic disease. Veterinary researchers have identified over 250 genetic diseases in cats and 70 genetic mutations that can cause structural abnormalities and disease. Polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are just two examples of feline diseases that DNA testing can uncover.

Contact Florence Animal Hospital to Have Your Pet’s DNA Tested

We know that you love your dog or cat and would do anything to give them a long, healthy life. DNA testing can be part of that. We invite you to schedule a wellness exam where we can give you more information on how we conduct DNA testing or make the test part of the exam. Our staff looks forward to partnering with you to provide your pet with the best possible care in Florence, South Carolina, and Hartsville, SC. Please reach out to us today.