When you buy your dog from a breeder, you know exactly what you’re getting. After all, if you’re purchasing a Pekinese, you’ll get, well, a Pekinese. But when you adopt a shelter dog, it can really be a mixed bag of breeds you’ll be bringing home. Until now, you might only be able to guess if your little guy or gal is a Golden Retriever just from looking at his sweet face. But with the Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Kit, you’ll know almost precisely if your woofie is a Weimaraner — or a Wire Fox Terrier.
We spoke with Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, a veterinarian, to learn how Wisdom Panel works, and why it’s so important to find out what breeds your fur baby is. The answers might surprise you.
DNA testing is very popular for people. Why are people now searching for their pets’ DNA profile?
We are increasingly interested in getting to know more about not only ourselves, but also about our furry companions. People often find dog DNA tests based on their own curiosity about their dog’s breed makeup, but they end up learning so much more about their dog and their healthcare needs in the process.
What can people expect when they use Wisdom Panel?
With a WISDOM PANEL dog DNA test, you collect your dog’s DNA via a simple-to-use cheek swab. You send your dog’s sample off to the lab in a prepaid mailer. In 2-3 weeks, you will receive your dog’s DNA results which includes ancestry, traits analysis, weight prediction, results for the very important multi-drug sensitivity (MDR1) health condition, and more! If you’ve opted for the WISDOM PANEL Health test, your dog will also be screened for over 150 additional genetic health conditions, results of which will be included in your report.
Apart from curiosity, why would it be a good idea to learn what breeds your dog might be?
So many reasons! When you identify the breeds in your mixed-breed dog you can plan effectively for their unique training needs, possible nutrition issues – some breeds have specific needs when it comes to this – and finally, be on the lookout for potential health issues. When you use a DNA test like the WISDOM PANEL Health, you can take it one step further and screen for more than 150 additional disease mutations that help give your veterinarian a much more robust picture of your dog’s health to work from.
What is the accuracy rate when using Wisdom Panel?
WISDOM PANEL results are very accurate for both breed and disease mutation detection. All of our samples are run on the latest technology at the world’s leading animal genetics testing laboratory. Accuracy is based on three things – the number of markers you are using, the sophistication of your algorithm, and the number of breeds you have in your breed database. We have selected our markers very strategically to get the best coverage along the dog’s genome, and our breed database is the largest on the market with over 350 breeds, types, and varieties.
How easy is it to use?
It’s so easy! Really. Your WISDOM PANEL includes easy-to-use DNA collection swabs, complete instructions, and it comes in a prepaid mailer that you simply drop in the mail to the lab for processing. While your dog shouldn’t eat for about two hours prior to collection, we do recommend having some treats on hand for after!
How does the process work?
Once you (or your veterinarian, in cases where tests are offered through veterinarians like in Banfield® Optimum Wellness Plans®) collect your dog’s DNA sample and activate the kit online, you send in the sample to the lab.
The DNA is extracted and examined at markers along the canine genome for breed and disease mutation analysis. The results are then sent to you via email, which you can then share out with your family and friends, and most importantly, with your veterinarian so they can help formulate a plan for your dog’s specific healthcare needs.
When we used the Wisdom Panel kit, we were certain that our newly-adopted shelter dog was mostly Pitbull Terrier. So we were shocked when we got the results that he was 75% American Staffordshire Terrier as well as 15% Great Pyrenees! How often do you hear from clients who were also equally surprised at their results?
It’s very common to hear from pet parents who were surprised at their results, just like you! Research has shown that breed identification, even by professionals such as veterinarians, is accurate only about 25% of the time for a single breed. Many times, especially in the case of rescue dogs, their ‘breed makeup’ is simply a best guess somewhere along the line. That’s why it’s so important to know your dog’s true breed ancestry and risk of genetic diseases, so you can give them the best healthcare, nutrition, and training possible!
What should people do once they have the results of their DNA kit (i.e make changes to their dog’s health and wellness plan based on breed, etc.)
We recommend that pet parents share their WISDOM PANEL results with their veterinarians to help inform their future health and wellness plan.