Identifying Your Dog's Breed

May 3, 2012 | By Amy Lieberman | Category: Care & Safety | 2 comments
Tags: lifestyle & trends, adoption & rescue, health & wellness, care & safety

Information from new test may help to save your pet's life.

For proud mixed-breed dog owners, explaining to curious people that they don't know what kind of dog they have, exactly, with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders is likely a regular occurrence.

But paying the $75 to learn exactly what breeds compose their mixed-breed dog might pay off in the long run, for their pets' health and for their own state of mind.

The Wisdom Panel test, available at Banfield Pet Hospitals and most other veterinary hospitals across the United States, is a simple blood test that identifies, in a detailed report, what breeds, and to what percent, make up a given dog's genetic background.

The test can then help veterinarians identify what diseases their dogs might be predisposed to, says Lindsey Reddemann, a Banfield Hospital veterinarian in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"It doesn't test for specific disease treats, but it does help tell us if a dog may be pre-disposed to different types of diseases," she says.

About 225 different breed types have been recognized as having different predispositions to various diseases or illness -- like Beagles, which are particularly prone to blindness and pink eye, and Labrador Retrievers, which are susceptible to exercise induced collapse.

With purebred dogs, veterinarians can identify what they might be prone to at different stages in life and act accordingly, advising their owners to take certain action or prescribing medication, in certain cases. But it isn't so easy with mixed-breed dogs.

"If we don't know what makes up a breed a lot of the time, we can't tell just by looking at the breed," Reddemann explained to Zootoo. "It can be surprising what the breed background is in some dogs and it is just really valuable to know what these dogs might be pre-disposed to."

"It's just a nice thing to know in advance."

The Wisdom Panel Test, which first rolled out in 2008 but has become increasingly popular over time, now offers veterinarians more direction, Redemann explained.

For example, if she sees a dog showing signs of lethargy or anorexia, the list of possibilities of what this dog might be experiencing is "huge," she said. But if this dog had a particular type of terrier in its background, then she could identify that and test for Copper Storage Disease, which results in an accumulation of copper in the liver, reaching a diagnosis and conclusion much faster.

"It allows us to catch things, hopefully, that might be life-threatening episodes," she said. "Every breed has things to look out for."

The number of dog breeds that the test can identify and isolate has become more comprehensive since the test first debuted, and Reddemann expects that it will continue to grow and serve more people and their dogs over time. It is not, though, available for cats, yet.

Would you get a Wisdom Panel test for your canine? Tell us below!

Comments (2)

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3 years ago

I could care less if my dog is certain breeds even with dna tests I have heard that nothing is for sure I always tell people who ask about dogs at paws if we don't know what they are I tell them that the dog is an american dog or heiz 47 or I will tell them he is whatever you want him to be cause some dogs we can tell some what just by looking at them but not all of them are that easy, I don't care if I have a dog prone to certain disaiseases yes it would be nice to know but all I care about is the love they give me cause I will have any dog that I can when they want to be my best friend.

Good Point | Reply ›

Debra B.

Debra B.
3 years ago

Yes, I would like to do a Wisdom Panel on my dog to see if he is a breed prone to hip dsyplasia as he has had a forelimb amputation. He looks most like a yellow lab mix but he could be anything. Others might want to do this test if they have breed specific legislation in place for bully breed dogs.

Good Point | Reply ›

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