The danger of using DNA tests to make life-or-death decisions for your dog

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As people peer into DNA for clues to health and heritage, man’s best friend is under the microscope, too.

Genetic testing for dogs has surged in recent years, fueled by companies that echo popular at-home tests for humans, offering a deep dive into a pet’s genes with the swab of a canine cheek. More than a million dogs have been tested in little over a decade.

[T]o many dog owners, DNA is a way to get to know their companions better.

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DNA can back up purebred dogs’ parentage and help breeders try to eliminate certain diseases.

But qualms about the dog DNA boom spilled into the prestigious science journal Nature last year.

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“Pet genetics must be reined in,” a Boston veterinarian and two other scientists wrote. Their commentary opened with a troubling story: a pug being euthanized because her owners interpreted DNA results to mean she had a rare, degenerative neurological disorder, when in fact her ailment might have been something more treatable.

Related article:  Genetic variants may explain why women are more prone to Alzheimer’s

“These (tests) should be used in a limited way until we get a lot more information,” says co-author and vet Dr. Lisa Moses.

Read full, original post: Dog DNA testing takes off, and generates debate

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