What is the value of Genetic testing?
Genetic testing for hereditary diseases can be done to determine if an animal is going to develop a disease, or be a carrier for it (Prognostic Testing). It can also be done on a sick animal to confirm a diagnosis (Diagnostic Testing).
Prognostic testing means testing for a disease to determine if a disease is going to develop, before any symptoms are observed. This may be done by breeders to make sure they are breeding and producing healthy animals, or by owners who wish to confirm an animals’s health status before buying it.
Pre-breeding testing is a type of prognostic testing. Responsible breeders wish to avoid producing animals affected by genetic diseases, and the most effective way to do this is by doing genetic testing. Both potential parents can be tested to determine if they are affected by, or carriers for, a disease of concern in the breed. Some dominant diseases do not become apparent until after the normal breeding age of the animal; in the case of recessive diseases, carriers are clinically normal but can produce affected offspring.
If an animal is ill, diagnostic genetic testing allows veterinarians to confirm or disprove their hypothesis of the cause of the symptoms. This knowledge can guide treatment decisions and allow informed decisions to be made regarding animal care and medical procedures.