DNA Testing at EVC
We are now pleased to be able to offer DNA testing for various eye conditions in different breeds of dog.
There are many different DNA tests and bundles depending on the breed of dog, and what they are being tested for. The majority of them will go to LABOKLIN who have a license with the Kennel Club, so will send the results direct to the Kennel Club as well as you the owners and ourselves.
Most of the tests can be performed by the owners with a cheek swab/s and a kit can be ordered directly from LABOKLIN.
If you would like us to do it here at EVC there will be an admin fee of £30 (incl VAT) to do the swab and complete the paperwork. This is in addition to the lab fee. You will only be charged one admin fee regardless of how many dogs you bring.
DNA Testing Vs Eye Examination
The Kennel Club, in association with the British Veterinary Association and the International Sheep Dog Society, run an “Eye Scheme”. This Scheme encourages testing of breeding animals to identify eye disease, and hopefully reduce their incidence in the various dog breeds. This Scheme has been going for many years and is well established.
Recently there has been a large increase in the DNA tests available for various eye diseases. The list of DNA tests is long, but not yet complete for all diseases in all breeds. The question is: if I have DNA tested my dog, why do I need to eye test as well?
There are issues and limitations to both approaches and they complement each other. If there is a DNA test, especially for a late onset disease, we would recommend testing. Knowledge is power! Knowing the genetic status of your dog allows you to make informed choices about mating selections so as to avoid producing affected puppies. “Carriers” should only be bred to “Clears” for autosomal recessive diseases, but should not be dumped from the gene pool altogether. In a small gene pool, “Affected” dogs can be bred from, as long as they are bred to “Clears”, so as not to narrow the gene selection further. The downside to DNA testing is its specificity. It answers the question; does my dog have this specific disease, or carries the gene- yes/ no.
The Eye Scheme looks for diseases that do not have a genetic test available, monitors for emerging diseases across a breed, and allows us to identify individuals with unusual diseases (for that breed) that we would advise not to breed from. It also allows the owner of the dog to discuss the options for treatment with an ophthalmologist, and also get a recommendation for breeding options. It is especially good for polygenic traits such as eyelid conformation etc, for which a genetic test will never be available.
If you have any further questions about pre-breeding testing, please do not hesitate to phone the clinic to speak to an ophthalmologist.
Here are some useful links with regards specific DNA testing in their breeds: