Test to predict genetic diseases in dogs now in UAE

The test analyses 270 different genes to determine if a particular breed’s gene is present in the animal

Dubai — A marker test for dogs that can help predict potential future diseases and identify the true breed of your pet, is now available at a veterinary hospital in the UAE for the first time.

The DNA test called Wisdom Panel produced by Mars Veterinary which is a division of the US giant, Mars Incorporated, has proven incredibly popular in North America, with the producer claiming that over 800,000 tests have been carried out so far.

Dr Sara Elliott, veterinary director at British Veterinary Hospital, which has brought the tests to her practice in Dubai, explained why the resulting analysis can prove so important for dog owners in the UAE.

“Awareness of breed and potential health issues ensures pet owners can take preventive measures to ensure better health in their pets,” advised Dr Elliott.

She explained the simple swab test determines more than 140 disease-causing mutations, in addition to analysing the dog’s breed composition.

“These factors combined can paint a pretty accurate picture of potential issues,” she adds.

The test covers and analyses 270 different genes revealing whether there is a particular breed’s gene present in the animal and how likely it is for the dog to develop a problem. It also provides information that enables preventive measures to be taken.

For example, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed has a 60-70 per cent chance of developing a heart valve issue, which means two out of three will develop the disease by the age of eight, explained Dr Elliot.

She said a recent case of a cocker spaniel diagnosed with a heart issue using the Wisdom Panel, lead to the condition being successfully treated purely through nutrition supplements and an adapted diet. The animal’s heart was expanding and it was decided to progress with treatment through food. Within three months, the heart was back to normal.

Despite the obvious potential health benefits, another common motivation for a dog owner to seek a DNA test is to find out more about the animal’s breed mix. British resident Victoria Cryle from Jumeirah, who owns a 10-year-old boxer called Jake, has always argued with her husband as to their pet’s true heritage.

“He certainly looked like a boxer as a pup, but as he got bigger he looked more like a bull mastiff. We heard about the test and decided to do it to find out once and for all — plus it’s good to know if there could be potential problems that we might be able to take measures to help prevent,” said Cryle.

When the analysis report arrived, among other interesting details they discovered that Jake is indeed 42 per cent boxer, but is also 36 per cent bull mastiff, 12 per cent rottweiler and 10 per cent Labrador.


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