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What does DNA have to say about your pet?

Did you know that, at least genetically speaking, a Chihuahua and a Great Dane are 99% identical? Or were you aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of trait inheritance, that a random-bred cat could turn out looking pedigreed?

To detect the tiny yet significant differences between breeds, the scientists at Wisdom Panel have spent well over a decade developing a custom genotyping chip, along with industry-leading technology that’s more than 98% accurate, to ensure curious pet owners get the best estimate of their pet’s biological heritage.

 “Our tests compare your pet’s DNA with verified genetic samples in our reference database to identify similar patterns,” says the Wisdom Panel website. “More samples to reference, means more potential matches – which means more accurate results.” This is the reason behind the dedication of years to building the planet’s largest database for both dogs and cats. “It allows us to compare your pet’s genetic code to millions of possible breed combinations and screen for over 23% more dog breeds, and 150% more cat breeds, than leading competitors.”

So, it’s the best in the busines. But what uses could it have for us as pet owners? Perhaps most important to anyone for whom pets are considered family, are the Medical Complication tests that come as standard across the Essential, Premium and Optimal Selection (breeders’) packages. Due to genetic mutations, common medications and procedures are, for some dogs, highly dangerous. And because there is nothing quite like peace of mind when it comes to your four-legged friend’s health and safety, it’s reassuring to know that Wisdom Panel helps to identify conditions that could potentially cause serious problems during otherwise-routine procedures, including spaying or neutering.

Also ‘as standard’ across the board, are screens for more than 350 different breeds, a multi-generational family tree that allows you to trace your dog’s ancestry back to their great-grandparents, and find their extended pack. With more than three million dogs tested, there’s a good chance that your furry friend’s littermates, parents and other relatives are among them. When Wisdom Panel decodes your dog’s DNA, it automatically searches for their genetic family, allowing you to compare DNA results and even view photos of their relatives!

Within the premium package also comes the ability to measure genetic diversity within their DNA. Other features include coat colour and type – which includes hairlessness and shedding – as well as body features, which covers more than ten tests for head and body shape, eye colour and altitude adaptation. You can even find your four-legged companion’s ideal weight range and get a personalised recommendation based on other breed and genetic tests. Also exclusive to Premium is the opportunity not only to get ahead of health risks, with 210 tests for adult-onset vision disorders, notable eating behaviours and mobility problems, amongst many others, along with access to Wisdom Panel’s licensed veterinarians who are just a free phone call away and available to answer any questions.

Finally, even if your dog is clear of health conditions themselves, they may be carriers for conditions that could be passed onto the next generation. If you’re considering breeding your dog, the premium Wisdom Panel package will highlight any genetic risks that could affect the health of their future puppies.

Ultimately, Wisdom Panel – which hangs its hat on the expertise of a panel of experts, including scientists who contributed to the dog and cat genome projects – is based on the ethos that ‘knowing is caring’. It was launched with the aim of improving life for all pets with each and every test taken, and in our experience here at Slickers Doghouse – having tested our best four-legged friends – the information is precisely the solution that, for so long, been sought after by owners hoping to take more ownership over the welfare of their pets.

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