As a loving pet owner, you probably deeply understand your petfrom the tip of their nose to their tailand their individual traits. You likely easily pick up on changes to their health or behavior, but how accurately can you know your furry pal’s health status when many changes are not visible? Genetic screening has revolutionized preventive veterinary medicine by giving veterinary professionals and pet owners insight into pets’ predisposition to disease.

Our LaGrange Veterinary Hospital team explains the multifaceted aspects of genetic screening and how it can improve your pet’s lifelong health. 

Pet genetic screening explained

Pet genetic screening involves analyzing your pet’s DNA to identify genetic mutations or variations that may predispose them to certain diseases. This screening can provide valuable information about lifetime potential health risks your pet may face. By identifying these genetic markers early, you and your veterinarian can take steps to mitigate risks, tailor preventive care, or make informed breeding decisions. Genetic screening is a proactive approach to managing your four-legged friend’s health and well-being based on their genetic predispositions.

How genetic screening can help your pet

Your pet’s genetic traits help to define their health needs, from daily care, such as exercise and nutrition, to early disease detection and prevention. Each pet is unique, and we can emphasize their individual wellness care when we know how their specific DNA works for or against them. The following are some of the health and wellness benefits from genetic screening:

  • Early disease detection One of the most significant advantages is genetic testing’s ability to detect potential health issues early. If we know, for example, that your pet is predisposed to certain cancers, our veterinarian can modify their daily care needs and periodically screen for the diseases. By analyzing a pet’s DNA, our team at LaGrange Veterinary Hospital can identify genetic mutations associated with various diseases and conditions, and proactively develop management and treatment plans before symptoms manifest.
  • Personalized wellness plans — Through genetic screening, your veterinary team can tailor health care plans, such as your pet’s most suitable diet, exercise routines, appropriate medications, preventive measures, and personalized care, based on their individual genetic predispositions, to enhance their overall wellbeing and longevity. You’ve probably always known your pet is one-of-a-kind, and DNA and genetic testing best exemplifies this fact.
  • Breed identification and ancestry For mixed-breed pets, genetic testing provides invaluable insights into their ancestry and breed composition. Understanding your pet’s genetic makeup will not only satisfy your curiosity but also aid in addressing breed-specific health concerns and behavioral traits, which will facilitate targeted care and training strategies.

Professional breeders have long used genetic testing to certify their dogs’ lineage and breed integrity. Testing encourages responsible breeding practices and allows breeders to choose the best mating pairs, thus improving the health of future generations of pets.

  • Pet owner empowerment Armed with genetic information, pet owners can make informed decisions about their furry companions’ lifestyle choices. From recommending specific exercise regimens, to advising on preventive measures against hereditary conditions, genetic testing allows owners to optimize their pets’ health and quality of life. Knowing your pet’s DNA details can be an indispensable gift for you and your four-legged friend.
  • Emotional bonding and behavior Beyond the physical health benefits, pet genetic testing helps you understand your pet’s breed. Genetics play an important role in how your pet expresses their character. For example, some pets are affectionate and clingy, while others are independent and headstrong. Dogs bred to hunt typically show their affection by always being on alert for their owners’ cues, while dogs bred for companionship show their love by snuggling and staying close. 
  • Financial benefits Knowing your pet’s predisposition for specific diseases can help you plan financially and be prepared for a potential diagnosis and treatment course. Also, with early detection, the cost of care is usually much less than treatment of an established or advanced disease.

Pet genetic testing represents a paradigm shift in animal health care by proactively approaching wellness management and disease prevention. Our LaGrange Veterinary Hospital team encourages you to harness the power of genetics by taking advantage of our ability to test your pet. Call us to schedule an appointment, and let us ensure your pet’s optimal health, happiness, and longevity.