Why you should add genetic testing to your practice – DVM 360Why you should add genetic testing to your practice – DVM 360

As veterinarians, the life-altering power of the particular human-animal bond is something that we have always appreciated, and numerous recent studies have confirmed this phenomenon for the rest of the world. Ninety-five percent associated with pet owners now consider their pet a part of their family, and 87% of pet owners report that they have personally experienced the particular mental and/or physical health benefits of the human-animal bond. 1 Today’s dog parents want the absolute best care possible for their loved ones, and it’s important to deliver that care by utilizing the most up-to-date information available in order to us. We must continue to advance how we render care in order to effectively meet the particular changing needs of our clients.

Early detection is vital

Genetic testing in some form has been available in human medicine for decades and has been instrumental in early detection of many treatable diseases. Perhaps the most familiar example is the now-routine hereditary testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer caused by mutations in the particular BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Individuals who are identified as having these variations while still free of clinical disease are able to make proactive decisions with their healthcare provider in purchase to decrease their future cancer risk.

The great news is that we finally have the technology at our fingertips in veterinary medicine that is affordable, accessible, and allows for the early detection associated with many life-altering conditions in our pets. A shift from reactive in order to proactive medicine is what is needed to allow pet parents to partner with their own trusted veterinarian in order to provide the absolute greatest care possible. Early recognition of danger factors can have lifesaving results in your patients.

Elevate your wellness

In the past, the veterinary wellness visit was a chance to update vaccinations, prescribe parasite prevention, and provide a physical exam. Over the years, that will has evolved to often include laboratory tests such as blood chemistries, complete blood count, plus urinalysis. In some cases, radiography, ultrasonography, and other imaging modalities are performed. However , what if there was an easy and affordable way to provide our family pet parents along with even more personalized care? With genetic testing, now all of us can.

By combining the physical examination and screening lab work with genetic screening, we are usually now able to offer our customers with a comprehensive and predictive picture of their pet’s current health as well as note risk factors for future conditions that we can potentially address in a proactive manner. Educating our clients to help them better understand genetic testing is the first step. You may have already been asked about DNA tests by your clients.

When many clients think of genetic screening for their particular pets, the at-home tests that give info about dog and cat breeds likely come to mind. While genetic tests that provides details about the dog or cat’s specific breed makeup is interesting and may even offer some insight into breed-related conditions, the hereditary testing platforms that are available today for veterinarians provide much more specific, relevant, and actionable information about a pet’s health.

Current tests can screen with regard to numerous problems in both dogs and cats. For example , the particular Basepaws Canine Baseline Breed and Health DNA test screens for genetic mutations associated with clinically relevant medical conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy, multidrug resistance mutation (MDR1), epilepsy, von Willebrand disease, bleeding disorders, ocular conditions like retinal degeneration, polycystic kidney disease, urolithiasis (bladder stones), and numerous more.

The Basepaws Feline Breed plus Health Paternity test + Oral Microbiome-Dental Disease screens regarding genetic mutations in 64 health markers associated with clinically related conditions including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), polycystic kidney disease, retinal deterioration, progressive retinal atrophy, pyruvate kinase deficiency of erythrocytes, and several more. In addition , the oral microbiome test screens more than 600 appropriate microbes and reveals risk for periodontal disease plus tooth resorption. A danger score intended for feline gingivostomatitis soon will be included in upcoming reports.

Examples within practice

We can all agree that this technology will be promising, but how do these tests fit into your own general vet practice? Seamlessly incorporating these diagnostics into your wellness visits can benefit your individuals and your customers, as well as your practice.

For instance , a 1-year-old feline patient presents for your exercise for an annual wellness visit. The client reviews no concerns at home. After a thorough physical test reveals no abnormalities, you discuss lab work (chemistries, complete blood vessels cell count [CBC], and urinalysis) as well as the Basepaws hereditary test. Your veterinary technician obtains the blood and urine sample and takes a quick swab inside the patient’s cheek. These samples are sent to the laboratory for processing.

The chemistries and CBC are all normal. However, the results of the Basepaws genetic check show this particular feline carries one associated with the variations associated along with a higher risk of developing HCM. We know that the particular majority associated with cats with HCM are usually not diagnosed before medical signs are present, and in that point, the disease process may be too advanced to provide long-term quality of life. 2 Right after discussing the particular results plus risk aspects with the client, a person can work together to ensure early intervention can lead to slowing of the illness progression, if necessary. An echocardiogram is usually recommended. You now have useful information to be proactive about this particular patient to make sure we are doing everything feasible for them.

Perhaps a different feline patient’s oral microbiome shows a high risk to get periodontal condition and tooth resorption based on the DNA profile of the particular bacteria, fungi, and viruses present in the oral cavity. Even though this patient may be asymptomatic at the time of exam, we can now supply interventions based on these results that may mitigate or even prevent certain diseases, perhaps even before traditional diagnostic tests indicate an issue.

I experienced the above scenario firsthand when I carried out the Basepaws oral microbiome test on all of my personal cats. All tested in the low-risk category except for one, who has been shown to be high risk in line with the oral microbiome results. At the time of diagnosis, this particular cat was only 10 months old and showing no scientific signs that will my family members had noticed. Based on this result, I examined her mouth more closely and immediately observed that she did in fact have significant gingivitis in her caudal oral cavity. This simple test had brought an issue that I wasn’t aware of to light, and right now I am much better equipped in order to address the girl oral treatment moving forward in a proactive manner. Imagine that one of your clients with no veterinary knowledge is inside the same situation. Their cat’s oral disease could have been progressing for years without them knowing. Now we all can recommend biannual oral exams and additional dental diagnostics to better serve this particular client plus patient.

It’s easy to imagine other scenarios that permit proactive treatment in ways never before achievable. A pet at higher risk pertaining to chronic renal disease can be started on a protein-restricted diet at a good earlier age; a pet from risk meant for ocular circumstances will today have a full ophthalmological exam biannually. Consider the canine patient whose genetic report revealed a mutation associated with inherited/idiopathic epilepsy. While not much can be done to prevent this condition or slow the particular progression, client education regarding how to recognize the seizure and what to do if it happens may give peace of mind and demonstrate that you are heavily invested within their pet’s standard of living plus well-being. These are just a few of the countless examples of the information gleaned from a genetic test giving us opportunities to much better care for our own patients in a personalized way.

Because demonstrated, the particular care that we are able in order to provide the clients and patients is definitely much a lot more comprehensive along with the addition of genetic testing within our hospitals, and the benefits don’t stop there.

Success for your business

Not only does the genetic assessment that you deliver offer clinically relevant and valuable information to your clients, but it can also provide your practice with an additional income stream. Risk elements noted in genetic assessments performed in your hospital during wellness exams will need to be evaluated further. This will lead to extra office appointments and examinations, imaging, plus dental procedures. Working within a collaborative manner along with our customers will necessitate additional follow-up diagnostics to address these findings, and this particular extra revenue can be extremely beneficial to your own practice.

Additionally , client adherence to recommendations can frequently be challenging. When your plan for positive care includes expanded analysis, increased periodic visits designed for medical progress, and lifestyle recommendations that include at-home care protocols, clients may want additional justification of the particular added expense. Providing supportive information, which includes results from their pet’s hereditary report and other baseline diagnostics, can help you communicate your own care plan more efficiently and increase adherence in order to recommendations.


So, what will a person do to elevate the care that you provide to your sufferers? Genetic assessment has finally arrived inside veterinary medicine. The great news is that it can be incorporated into your practice immediately. The systems that are available in order to today’s veterinarians have the ability to transform the ways that we communicate plus serve modern pet parents.

By utilizing the inexpensive and easy genetic tests obtainable, we are able to help our clients ensure that their own pets are taken care of in once unheard-of ways. Working with pet parents proactively not only benefits the pet individual, but also benefits your own business by adding additional income and strengthening your relationship with your clients as you work collaboratively to care just for their pets. By elevating the type of medicine that we provide, we have been performing our part to ensure the human-animal bond remains the strongest bond inside the world.


  1. International Survey of Pet Owners & Veterinarians. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Accessed October 5, 2022. https://habri.org/international-hab-survey/
  2. Kittleson MD, Côté E. The particular feline cardiomyopathies: 2. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. J Feline Med Surg. 2021; 23(11): 1028-1051. doi: ten. 1177/1098612X211020162

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