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November 9, 2012

Animal DNA Diagnostics Tackles Inherited Disease Head On

Breed predisposition to specific conditions in companion animals is often a consequence of inherited disease. Many inherited diseases are widespread within pedigree populations, but trying to persuade breeders to address the problem can be difficult for vets. The services of a new Cambridge laboratory – Animal DNA Diagnostics Ltd., may be about to change that. Using cheek swab samples that are quickly and easily obtained, DNA tests available from the lab allow both the conclusive diagnosis of affected animals and the identification of silent carriers of a huge range of inherited diseases. Tests to verify parentage and identify traits such as coat colour are also available.

Pet owners sometimes do not realise just how many diseases are due to inherited defects and that simple tests can identify genetic conditions. With tests available for the positive diagnosis of various inherited diseases of dogs and horses, the opportunity arises for increased monitoring and early treatment intervention, even in cases which have not yet manifested clinical signs. Of particular concern in purebred or pedigree animals, the widespread use of popular sires can cause faulty genes to be passed on time and time again, unbeknown to breeders. By identifying recessive carriers of disease, breeders can be advised how to choose breeding combinations that prevent further spread of disease through the generations.

Sampling can be easily performed during a consult/visit or even at home by breeders themselves, requiring just a simple oral mucosal swab from dogs/cats and a hair pluck from horses. All samples can be sent through the post for analysis and sample kits can be ordered and paid for online. There are discounts of up to 20% available when bulk orders are submitted together (contact the lab for further details) and there are a number of test ‘bundles’ available too – just check the list of DNA tests available to see if combining tests could save money. It doesn’t stop there either, with a 5% professional discount available to veterinary practices for a limited time – just use the code ‘VETdisc5’ at the online checkout.

Head of lab, Dr June Swinburne, has over 16 years of experience in the field of animal genetics and guarantees the reliability of results though molecular techniques such as PCR, fragment length polymorphism and DNA sequencing. This, in conjunction with the ease of sampling, has already led to the development of some strong partnerships between Animal DNA Diagnostics and major breed associations. Happy to share her knowledge and mindful of the often difficult task of communicating results to those directly involved, Dr Swinburne welcomes vets contacting her for advice regarding the implications of positive results.

Dog, cat and horse owners who engage in breeding activity have a responsibility to protect the future of their breeds and vets have a responsibility to offer advice on how best to do this. Animal DNA Diagnostics offers simple, affordable and reliable methods of identifying carriers of inherited conditions, as well as other pet DNA testing services, allowing informed breeding choices to be made. For more information about genetic disease in animals and the services on offer from Animal DNA Diagnostics, please visit the website (www.animaldnadiagnostics.co.uk), e-mail info@animaldnadiagnostics.co.uk, phone 01223 395577/07870 456808 or get in touch via facebook or Twitter (@animalDNAdiag).


About Animal DNA Diagnostics

Animal DNA Diagnostics Ltd is a new DNA testing laboratory based inCambridge. The focus of the laboratory is to provide professional, accurate and competitively priced testing for inherited disease and traits in dogs and horses.

The tests will be performed using state-of-the-art molecular techniques such as PCR, fragment length polymorphism and DNA sequencing.

The laboratory is led by Dr June Swinburne, an experienced geneticist with sixteen years of experience in the field of animal genetics. Dr Swinburne has led research to identify inherited disease mutations and has developed commercial DNA testing protocols.

DNA Profiling and Parentage Verification will also be available for dogs, cats and horses and breed societies who are interested in comprehensive DNA Profiling or Parentage Verification should get in contact to discuss this further (info@animaldnadiagnostics.co.uk).

Animal DNA Diagnostics provide an array of DNA tests which can:

• Identify potential breeding stock carrying specific recessive inherited diseases

• Definitively diagnose animals suspected of suffering from a specific inherited disease

• Identify animals which carry hidden trait genes, such as coat colour or hair type

• Perform DNA profiling

• Perform parentage verification for family groups, where this is in doubt

• Perform parentage verification for breed registries

A list of the full range of tests available can be found at www.animaldnadiagnostics.co.uk/testsavailable