Science and technology: launch DNA tests for veterinary dogs

Pet Age recently spoke with Ryan Boyko, who started Embark Veterinary Inc. in 2015 with his brother Adam Boyko. Embark’s DNA testing for dogs helps dog owners, breeders and veterinarians learn more about their dog’s breed, health and ancestry. Embark is an official research partner of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list for the past two years.

How does an Embark dog DNA test work and what do the results cover?

Embark’s dog DNA test developed by veterinarians helps pet owners know their dog’s breed, ancestry and health. The test itself is simple: a cheek swab and instructions are included in the kit, and a sample is taken in less than a minute at home by swabbing your dog’s cheek. The sample is then mailed back to Embark with the prepaid return envelope included.

Once it arrives at our state-of-the-art, CLIA-certified, canine-approved lab, your dog’s DNA is extracted and analyzed by our bespoke gene chip, a proprietary DNA chip with over 230 000 markers. This produces an incredibly detailed view of your dog’s genome, which runs through our bioinformatics pipeline. Your dog’s results go through several stages of verification and quality control developed by our scientific experts, so you know you can trust our findings.

When the results are delivered online two to four weeks after you receive the swab, they cover your dog’s breed, ancestry and health. We test over 350 breeds – even wolf, coyote, dingo and village dog ancestries, covering over 98% of dogs in America. Embark is also the only test that can test village dogs, and we can even distinguish where these village dogs come from.

Embark also tests for over 210 genetic health risks, and this number will increase as we complete more research.

How do test results help improve a dog’s health?

Because Embark tests for over 210 genetic health risks, dog owners can find out if their dog is at risk for a specific genetic health condition, resulting in changes that improve their dog’s overall health. This can mean anything from adjusting exercise routines, altering diet, altering veterinary diagnoses, and more. In fact, 75% of dogs tested by Embark are either at risk or carry a genetic condition, and 61% of customers plan to adjust their dog’s routine or feel more prepared to be a good parent after testing. with Embark. .

Genetic testing is also an important tool in a breeder’s toolbox that has a big impact on improving dog health – breeders use Embark to optimize and refine their breeding program with a unique suite tools and services: all participants have access to host veterinary geneticists for individualized genetic counseling, and Embark’s Pair Checker assesses potential breeding dogs, with a dedicated customer service team that analyzes each proposed pair to identify the optimal genetic matches that maximize the health and success of a potential litter.

Additionally, each dog owner who chooses to share their dog’s genetic data enables us to make future genetic discoveries – we use these genetic samples, along with the surveys we ask dog owners to complete, to actually uncover the genetic causes of diseases that we don’t have. t currently know what genes are responsible for. The more dogs tested, the better we are able to make new discoveries, which ultimately helps us achieve our goal of extending the lives of dogs by three years over the decade.

Beyond health, what else can test results tell about a dog?

Embark also offers the world’s only canine DNA detector. Dog owners who test their dogs with Embark can find and connect with other dogs who share their dog’s DNA. In fact, 90% of dogs tested with Embark will have at least one dog in Embark’s database as genetically related as human first cousins, and 12% of dogs tested with Embark discover siblings, parents or offspring of their dog.

Not only does this feature generate fun connections and even family get-togethers with puppies, but it also contributes to the health benefits of genetic testing your dog. Although the genetic link has not yet been discovered for all canine health conditions, knowing your dog’s family medical history through other dog owners with related dogs can be crucial in your dog’s care plan. .

What are the advantages for a pet care professional or a veterinarian who offers the Embark dog DNA test?

Companion animal welfare, like human welfare, is a rapidly growing market in the United States. Retailers and veterinarians offering Embark’s dog DNA test have the opportunity to be at the forefront of veterinary genomics by partnering with a leading science company to improve dog care. dogs all over the world. Specifically, veterinarians can achieve better patient outcomes, generate economic value for the practice, advance veterinary medicine, and strengthen bonds with pet owners by wearing Embark.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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