Putting Doggy DNA Kits to the Test

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WEST MICHIGAN (Feb. 5, 2014) — Dog owners of mixed breed pooches may be surprised to learn there’s a way to find out what your pet is made up of.

FOX 17 put a dog DNA kit to the test using a couple of West Michigan dogs. Luna is from Grand Rapids, and Sealya is from Rockford.

Both dogs had a rough beginning in life. The Curtis family said they rescued 7-year-old Sealya from death row in Newaygo County.

“It was a huge, huge, huge draw for us to rescue her knowing that she could have died, and she was a perfectly great little puppy when we got her,” Jennifer Curtis said.

Luna lived at the Kent County Animal Shelter for a short time before her forever home adopted her in October 2012.

“She picked us with her eyes and her little charm,” Alexandra Oom, Luna’s owner, said.

Like many animals living in rescues and shelters across West Michigan, Luna and Sealya are mixed breeds. Their owners don’t know their genetic backgrounds.

“My dad and I have always been for the strange-looking mutts,” Oom said.

But what breeds make up the playful pup?

“Husky and Blue Heeler, or Australian Cattle Dog. That’s what we think, but could be anything,” Oom said.

Curtis knows Sealya is part Collie-mix, according to the rescue. But the rest of her ancestry is anyone’s guess.

“We hear German Shepherd. We here Bernese mountain dog. We hear lab. We hear Rottweiler. So we hear all of these different breeds. We would just love to find out,” Curtis explained.

Well, there is an answer. Just like their owners, man’s best friend has a DNA makeup. There is a test for that, called Wisdom Panel 2.0, and it can reveal the breeds that make up any dog’s lineage. Animal lovers say learning your dog’s ancestry could be a life-saver.

“The biggest benefit for the test, if you can determine, is to try and get a linkage to specific breed-related disorders and the test, if it’s run through a vet, it actually gives you access to 30 specific health risks,” Dr. Laurie Wright with the Kent County Animal Shelter said.

Wright said the test can help an owner set specific guidelines, dog training and exercise plans.

So with the help of Luna and Sealya, we put the test to the test. Two saliva swabs were taken, and it was off to the lab.

It took three weeks, and we got the results. Catch the video report to find out what Luna and Sealya are made up.
So just how accurate are these tests? Dr. Wright said pretty close to perfect.
“We know that the test is 90% accurate. They have actually used a database to formulate the test with over 19 million genetic markers. and that’s been formulate with a pool of 13,000 dogs,” Wright said.
Mars Veterinary provided the tests free-of-charge. The tests normally costs $80 through the company.

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