This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s The Daily Vet column on petMD In my years of veterinary practice, I haven’t felt an overwhelming urge to test my patients to determine the exact nature of their breed mix. Overall, I’ve not observed a trend where being of a specific breed designates an unwavering certainty that a particular illness will occur. Instead, a stronger correlation seems to exist between a pet’s size (i.e., small, medium, large, and giant for dogs) and the potential for a certain disease to occur. For example, small dogs tend to have having poor periodontal health, while large dogs are commonly afflicted by orthopedic conditions. Yet knowing my patients’ breed combinations can spur the awareness of unique disease conditions that are known to affect a particular breed. For example, herding breeds like the Australian Shepherd, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, and others may have a defect in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1) which yields an increased likelihood that adverse reactions to medications may occur. What are these medications? Well, there’s quite a variety, including:
- Antiparasitics — ivermectin, milbemycin, etc.
- Antidiarrheals — loperamide (Immodium), etc.
- Anticancer agents — doxorubicin, vinctristine, etc.
The Wisdom Panel® Insights computer algorithm performed over seven million calculations using 11 different models (from a single breed to complex combinations of breeds) to predict the most likely combination of pure and mixed breed dogs in the last 3 ancestral generations that best fit the DNA marker pattern observed in (my patient).So, what did my patient turn out to be? It turns out he’s a blend of Alaskan Malamute mixed breed and Australian Koolie mixed breed. Further, his grandparents were also combinations of Alaskan Malamute mixed breed and Australian Koolie mixed breed. There are some likely contenders making up the mixed breeds that contributed to the genetic material. The MARS report explained …
We have identified for you the 5 next best breed matches which appeared in the analysis of your dog's DNA. One or more of these breeds could have contributed to the genetic makeup of the ancestors indicated by the mixed breed icon. The breeds are listed by the relative strength of each result in our analysis with the most likely at the top of the list. There could also be a breed or breeds present in the mixed breed component that we cannot detect with our current database of purebred dogs.So, my patient’s top five include: 1. Finnish Spitz, 8.33% 2. Golden Retriever, 7.77% 3. German Shepherd Dog, 7.27% 4. Afghan Hound, 4.85% 5. Catahoula Leopard Dog, 3.16% So he is part Catahola Leopard Dog after all. At least his mix of breeds does not put him on the list of candidates potentially suffering health problems as a result of the MDR1 gene defect. What do you think about genetic testing to determine what breeds compose a mixed breed dog? The results of my patient's Wisdom genetic panel (click to enlarge) Dr. Patrick Mahaney Thank you for reading this article. Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond). Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook. Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.