Doggie DNA testing could mean better care for a pet - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Doggie DNA testing could mean better care for a pet

Doggie DNA could lead to a better life for pets. Doggie DNA could lead to a better life for pets.
ROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) -

Anyone who has ever wondered what breeds make up their mutts can find out using DNA testing for their pet.

The Gargamelli family welcomed their dog Mo into the family about three years ago, but they never knew what her actual breed was.

"When she was a baby, we couldn't tell at all," said Chris Gargamelli, a veterinarian.

They had guessed a beagle mix, only because she was so small, but also thought she could be part-Labrador.

To find out officially, the family did a doggie DNA test and found out she is a Labrador Weimaraner mix.

The results made a lot of sense as well, because she had the look of a Labrador retriever and the energy of a Weimaraner.

Rocky Hill Animal Hospital Veterinarian Shawn Behan said he suggests DNA testing to pet owners who don't know the lineage of their dogs.

"It can give you a better idea of what breeds there are, which allow you to check for associated diseases," Behan said.

Certain breeds are predisposed to health conditions, so knowing a dog's lineage can be useful.

"It gives you an idea of what to expect, what to monitor closely for, or, even in some cases, what to start preventative treatment for," Behan added.

Knowing the breed makeup can be helpful in how owners approach training their dog as well, and what they can expect.

There are two types of DNA tests, a blood test done by a veterinarian or an at-home test that is available online.

Owners swab the inside of the dog's cheek and send the sample to the lab.

In a few weeks, the results are emailed to the owner.

Although DNA testing is still a field in its infancy, doctors said it is very accurate.

As DNA testing becomes more advanced, the technology could make detecting health conditions more precise.

"As time goes on, I expect we'll find more markers associated with more diseases," Behan added.

The cost of doggie DNA tests vary but generally start at about $60.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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