By Dr. Catherine DeJesus
Associate Veterinarian, Calvert Veterinary Center
What is a mutt? A mutt is a dog that is a cross between two or more breeds. With the increase in pet adoptions from shelters, more people are obtaining these wonderful dogs. Each breed of dog has its own unique personality traits, skills, health conditions, grooming and training requirements, and more. That’s likely why there has been an increase in the amount of canine genetic testing on the market: More and more people are curious about what combined breeds make up their beloved companion.
These genetic tests can also give you a glimpse into any health conditions to which your pet is predisposed. For example, certain breeds are more prone to developing skin disease, heart disease, dental disease, cancer and other genetic conditions. MD1 (multidrug resistance) genes make certain breeds more susceptible to negative side effects from a variety of medications. Knowing this information can help your veterinarian make the best decisions when prescribing medications for your pet.
Another genetic pattern seen by veterinarians is that anxiety could potentially be linked to certain breeds. Some of the smartest dog breeds are prone to behavioral problems because their level of intelligence requires continued proper training and socialization, or else they are prone to developing inappropriate associations or behavioral patterns. It is important to identify if these breeds are part of the genetic makeup of your pet to ensure they are getting proper exercise and environmental enrichment to prevent frustrating behavioral concerns.
Remember that being predisposed to a disease doesn’t mean they will get the disease, only that we need to monitor them with biannual or annual veterinary visits to evaluate if they do develop a disease. Early detection is the best way to ensure proper management and that any treatments are started efficiently and effectively. Our goal as veterinarians is to make sure that your pet has a long and happy life with the people they love and that love them!
Here at VCA Calvert Veterinary Center, we offer genetic and health screening, which provides information on your dog’s genealogy as well as any potential health concerns that may have a genetic link. Take advantage of our summer offer with a $10 discount on DNA tests during the month of August when you mention this article or check in on Facebook. So come on in and let’s play the breed guessing game. You can be truly amazed by the results! Calvert Veterinary Center has been serving Pasadena and surrounding communities for 15 years. The office is conveniently located at 4100 Mountain Road in Pasadena. Call 410-360-7297 or visit www.calvertvet.com to schedule an appointment.