The first dog DNA tests launched over a decade ago were offered through veterinarians. Now, pooch parents can order tests directly from manufacturers. But deciphering the results? Therein lies the rub.
Clinical genetics is a very new field — one in which most veterinarians have little training. While physicians can refer people to genetic counselors, that’s not an option for dogs. And leaving pooch parents to make life-and-death decisions based on DNA test results alone can have tragic consequences.
What’s more, DNA tests for pets are currently unregulated. Even breed names may differ from test to test — and that’s problematic, given that genetic markers linked to canine diseases are breed-specific.
So, if you’re intent on delving into your dog’s molecular make-up, know that you could end up with more questions than answers.