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What are genetic tests?

Genetic tests are done to confirm whether an animal has or does not have certain genes. Some genes are good, and some are bad.

In Labradors, some genetic tests are done by looking at the phenotype (the expression of the genes in the dog). These types of tests are looking at eyes and seeing that they are clear of retinal and other problems, and looking at x-rays of hips and elbows and seeing that the bones have good conformation. These tests can be reported on websites such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the canine eye registry foundation (CERF). See our Links Page for more information on these sites.

Some genetic tests are done by looking at the DNA itself and genotyping the animal. For Labradors, the disease that these type of tests are done for are Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) and Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM). For genotyping, dogs can be seen to be clear (not carriers), or they can be carriers but not have the disease, or they can be carriers and have the disease. If animal are carriers but do not have the disease, they can be used for breeding but care must be made not to breed with another animal that is a carrier as some (approximately 1 in 4 animals) of the offspring will get the disease. When we started breeding in 2004, there were no DNA genetic tests, but now there are a plethora of tests that can be done and reported. For Abbey and Hope, we did genetic testing at Paw Print Genetics and there were well over 10 traits being looked at, with more than one marker for several traits. For Hope we just had the traits required by the Breed Organizations posted on the OFA website. For Abbey we got 14 traits from Paw Print genetics uploaded to the OFA website.

There is currently some controversy about the OFA rating for hips. When compared to the PennHIP rating, the OFA rating often differs. The only thing the two rating systems agree upon is if a dog does have hip dysplasia.

For information on the results of genetic tests for our girls see Our Girl's Genetic Tests.

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