Should You Test Your Dog For Genetic Diseases?
In the Boston Terrier breed there is a risk puppies can have juvenile hereditary cataracts (JHC) which can start forming at 2 to 3 years of age. The cataracts start small, and they can become so large that your dog will have trouble seeing. They can grow slowly, or very quickly. Cataracts can be removed, but it is pricey, not always effective, and they can come back. This is a terrible genetic disease that can affect an entire litter of Boston Terriers if the breeder isn’t careful. It only takes one HSF4 mutation to cause the recessive form of HC in Boston Terriers.
It is becoming increasingly common for breeders to run tests. If you are starting out it will be cheaper to get two dogs tested instead of 10. If both of the parents are clear then there is no chance that the puppies will be infected. Please keep in mind that juvenile cataracts are different from cataracts that can result from injury, or from old age. If one parent is a carrier then there is a possibility that the puppies can be carriers. Although if you have a house pet that is a carrier, it won’t be an issue because you will never see any signs of the disease.
If you are thinking about breeding dogs make sure that you do your research on what genetic diseases are common. Gensol Diagnostics offers a list of tests for every dog breed. Some issues are more common than others, and you can also do research on what test breeders view as important.
I tested my female after I got her and she is JHC clear! Recently, we received the results on the male we purchased… he is also CLEAR! I cannot contain my excitement. We are feeling lucky that both of the dogs we purchased are completely clear!
If you have a spayed or neutered house pet, I would not recommend running expensive tests. If you are interested in breeding your high quality dog I would definitely look into testing! That way if you decide to breed you know that you aren’t passing on any distressing genetic diseases.
Have you ever run any genetic testing on your dogs? If so, what were the results?