Genetic testing tool - Optimal Selection? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Genetic testing tool - Optimal Selection?

Hi guys!

As some of you may know, I recently got my first GSD from a rescue so I have no info on her parents. I am concerned about some of the genetic issues that show up in the breed occassionally, such as bleeding disorders and multi-drug resistance.

I found a product by Wisdom Panel called Optimal Selection that screens for 100+ diseases and will tell you if your dog is clear, at risk or a carrier (the latter is not important to me since I'm not using this as a breeding tool).

It's $100 for the at-home test kit. Has anyone used this product before? Is there a similar product that might be cheaper, that isn't geared towards breeders?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 09:39 AM
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I guess my question would be, "Why?" How does knowing of a potential problem change anything? Your dog may be a carrier for something that he will never develop - or maybe he will. There are no guarantees in life. Personally, I would not go looking for problems. You can spend a lot of time worrying about what might be. Wouldn't it be better to just enjoy your dog and deal with anything that arises in the future?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Actually for those specific things I mentioned, it would be extremely good to know if a dog is clear or at risk for something. For the multi-drug resistance gene, it would be great to know if she's totally clear - no worries with certain flea medications or antibiotics- or if I should avoid certain drugs because there is a VERY GOOD chance they could make her sick or kill her.

'There are no guarantees in life' and 'I would not go looking for problems' is a very irresponsible way of looking at this. Would you say the same thing if I were looking at potential puppies to buy and was considering a puppy whose dam and sire didn't have any health clearances?

I discovered that my Lab pup's sire was a carrier for EIC, and her dam had not been tested. It was an oversight by the breeder, who did not go through the sire's paperwork thoroughly and thought he was clear. Now, I am not going to get Abby tested for EIC because she's lazy and doesn't do activities that require long periods of heavy exercise. If I was planning to start her on field trials, absolutely I would have her tested and would watch her a heck of a lot more carefully if I knew she was at risk. EIC has very noticable symptoms; many diseases, like Von Willebrand's, are less apparent.

My post was 'Has anyone used this product or something similar?', not 'I'm on the fence as to whether I would like to know this information.'

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Originally Posted by Stevenzachsmom View Post
I guess my question would be, "Why?" How does knowing of a potential problem change anything? Your dog may be a carrier for something that he will never develop - or maybe he will. There are no guarantees in life. Personally, I would not go looking for problems. You can spend a lot of time worrying about what might be. Wouldn't it be better to just enjoy your dog and deal with anything that arises in the future?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 10:40 AM
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Sorry, I can't answer your question OP, but I have one for you. I didn't know these tests existed but I'm not surprised and I think its great.

Do vets make use of these tests if you have one done?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatChandler View Post
Actually for those specific things I mentioned, it would be extremely good to know if a dog is clear or at risk for something. For the multi-drug resistance gene, it would be great to know if she's totally clear - no worries with certain flea medications or antibiotics- or if I should avoid certain drugs because there is a VERY GOOD chance they could make her sick or kill her.

'There are no guarantees in life' and 'I would not go looking for problems' is a very irresponsible way of looking at this. Would you say the same thing if I were looking at potential puppies to buy and was considering a puppy whose dam and sire didn't have any health clearances?

I discovered that my Lab pup's sire was a carrier for EIC, and her dam had not been tested. It was an oversight by the breeder, who did not go through the sire's paperwork thoroughly and thought he was clear. Now, I am not going to get Abby tested for EIC because she's lazy and doesn't do activities that require long periods of heavy exercise. If I was planning to start her on field trials, absolutely I would have her tested and would watch her a heck of a lot more carefully if I knew she was at risk. EIC has very noticable symptoms; many diseases, like Von Willebrand's, are less apparent.

My post was 'Has anyone used this product or something similar?', not 'I'm on the fence as to whether I would like to know this information.'
If it makes you feel better to have your dog tested for all these things, by all means do so. Completely your decision. Would I? No. A bleeding issue? If that was a concern, I'm sure the dog would be screened prior to going into any surgery. As for flea tick, are you speaking specifically of the MDR1 mutation and use of ivermectin? I adopted a shelter pup with Demodex. The vet started him on a very low dose of ivermectin and kept him for observation. Yes, there can be allergies to drugs. Heck, I had a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic last year. I will never take that one again.

Irresponsible? I don't consider myself irrepsonsible. I adopted a 2 year old GSD from a shelter. I never tested her for anything. I never did hip x-rays. She never exhibited any health issues. No symptoms, no problem, in my book. She lived to be 14.5 years old. My current shelter dogs were both shelter pups - now 4 and almost 2. No testing on them either. It is irrelevant what I would expect from a breeder. Breeding stock should be tested prior to breeding. Your dog and my dogs are already here and are what they are.

Sorry my response did not answer your question. No, I have not used this test. Have the testing done, if that is what you want to do.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonevintage View Post
Sorry, I can't answer your question OP, but I have one for you. I didn't know these tests existed but I'm not surprised and I think its great.

Do vets make use of these tests if you have one done?
Stone, I don't necessarily see it as a good thing. Sure, some things can be avoided or watched for, but probably not fixed. This is just my train of thought, when asking, "why?" My son has an FGFR3 mutation. I once sat in on a conference with the medical advisory board who deals with this condition. All persons affected have narrowing of the foramen magnum. There can be compression on the spinal cord. When asked about doing an MRI the specialist said, "If I look at it, I am going to want to fix it. I tend to not do tests, when I am not going to know what to do with the results. If there are no symptoms, I do nothing."

My BIL just died of lung cancer - a very rare genetic mutation. My husband discussed this with his doctor. His doctor said, "I don't think there is test for that. But - would you really want to know?"

People tend to think of genes in terms of getting them from your parents. You have them or you don't. You are carriers or you aren't. But, genes mutate. My husband, nor I, have the FGFR3 mutation. Testing us would show nothing, because we don't have it. None of my other kids are carriers. It is a dominant gene. If you have it, you have the condition. It did not exist before my son and only exists in him. So yeah, you can have perfectly clear parents of any genetic disorder and then - BAM! a gene mutates.

I am strictly in the 'not going looking for trouble' camp. I value my sanity.

Jan
Shelby 9-2-14
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 12:32 PM
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No. I have not used this test. To the second part of your questions, $100 is pretty darn cheap for 100+ tests.




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 01:14 PM
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OP, have you asked your vet what he or she thinks of the testing protocols used, and the company? The vet can go on VIN and find out if any vet schools or labs have compared results to certified labs. It's very important to do this, if you plan to use this to identify medical issues.

There are apparently some types of tests being sold direct to consumer with NO published, peer-reviewed science behind them, using a methodology that the experts in the field think is malarkey. I don't know if this is one of them. Whenever I'm tempted by this direct-to-consumer stuff, I send my vet the link and ask him for advice.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:00 PM
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There's all kinds of debate on why it would be good to know - or not, with humans. I don't even want to go there because I think that is a very personal choice.

But, when we are dealing with an animal that is 100% dependent on us and they cannot communicate with us, preventative testing is vital. I don't know what 100 things are tested for but I would hope that they were selected because there is merit and possible prevention or future testing would be indicated. That's why I wanted to know if these tests were useful to a vet.

I see merit in testing for things for which there are no cures or no preventative measures at this time. You never know when a new cure or recommended preventative measure is going to come along and it may be huge if you are aware and periodically monitor new vet medicine for a cure or trial. It would also be useful in end of life situations. You read it here often, "how will I know it is time"?. Often, I think that should be accompanied by "how will I know if my pet is in pain that will not get better but only worse"?

Picture this scenario... someone had a dog they had tested and it shows an elevated level of cancer of the spleen. Years down the road, the dog is now elderly and not feeling well so, you take him to the vet. Vet says "well, it could be the spleen I can feel enlargement there". "I could do a bunch of tests to give you a proper diagnosis, but what would be the point?" "Your dog is in end of life stage and I can help you with pain management until you decide it is time". If you knew that the one or two or three things showed a higher level of probability of being the cause of their illness - that these things are very painful and cause a slow death - wouldn't knowing what you know from the test and not wanting your pet to suffer help you with "when"?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:32 PM
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Wisdom Panel (Mars Veterinary) is reputable.

I think the Optimal kit is only for purebred dogs but I'm not positive. IF you can have it done it's going to test for a lot of genetic diseases but not necessarily ones that affect the GSD.
If she's a rescue without a known background and you can't do the Optimal test consider doing the Wisdom Panel 4.0 to find out what breed (s) she is. It does include the test for MDR1 and that's certainly one genetic problem it wouldn't hurt to know about.
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