Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cool Science

I don't how many times over the years, dog owners have asked me "What do YOU think he is?" when bringing in a recently purchased (I'll get to THIS in a minute) or found friend.

I used to joke with my clients and say "Yeah, one day there'll be a SNAP test for that." And now, well, it's not a 10 minute in-house test like we have for Heartworm or Feline Leukemia, BUT we can actually determine what major breeds are mixed together in your dog. 

There are two tests that can be run- a cheek swab, which can be done at home and detects approximately 185 breeds, and a blood test, done at your vet's office, that detects 225. A list comparing these two tests and which breeds are detectable can be found at: Comparison of cheek swab vs blood test 

Let me address one thing with the purchased puppies: If you buy a dog as an "x" breed and you really aren't sure or happy that is "looks" like an "x" why buy it?

All we have to go on is whatever paperwork comes from a given breeder. Now, there are definite variations in every breed (larger Yorkies, smaller Yorkies, etc). Genetics are like that. Generally unless you specifically go to a breeder for one, these are not show quality (certain standards of height, size, shape, etc must be met). 

It's been amazing what has come up in the background of some of the dogs I've seen tested. Breeds you never would've guessed. Or you think "this is definitely a Lab mix" and nope, there is no Lab in it at all.  Here's a fun link: 
Can you guess what they are?

Some have asked if they DO have a pure bred dog can they test to make sure it is in fact that. The answer is not really and the reason why can be found in the  FAQs

There are other breed analysis companies out there such as Canine Heritage, but they offer far fewer breeds. 

Why test? Some do it for fun, others so they may have some insight into the  behavioral traits and medical issues that may come up. 

Along these same lines, we now have the ability to test for some heritable traits so that breeders can work to eliminate or reduce the incidence of some diseases
(PRA or progressive retinal atrophy, PKD - polycystic kidney disease, vonWillebrand's disease and several others). I'm sure this list will grow as we learn more about canine and feline DNA.  

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