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Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi

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Vets – what can HGTD do for you?

Genetic testing is part of our dog's lives

Just as genetic testing has become normalized in the human world, thanks to popular direct to consumer products like 23 and Me, or, so it has in the veterinary world. While perhaps once the preserve of specialist dog breeders, it is increasingly common for vets in practice to have questions from clients about DNA testing. While covering the basics of testing and inheritance is part of many veterinary educations, it is unreasonable to expect anyone to have knowledge of the 300+ different genetic tests available to 400+ recognized dog breeds, and their crosses – let alone which of the 2,500+ breed x test combinations might be the most relevant for your client. This is where Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) can help. 

How HGTD can support veterinarians and their clientspexels-alana-sousa-3294248 vet office.jpg

HGTD provides a searchable, comprehensive list of genetic tests available internationally. With a quick breed search, you can instantly find transparent information on breed and type-specific tests for advising clients on options for pre-breeding genetic tests, gene-based diagnostic/risk testing, parentage/maternity/paternity.  There are even breed relevance ratings (BRR) for most tests – indicating the research underpinning the relevance of a specific test for a breed. At a glance, for each test you can find clinical information, links to original research papers (most open access) and additional education sources for both veterinary health professionals and clients.

HGTD information works in conjunction with wider breed-specific health testing and information from the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD), via

Examples include: 
-    breed-specific health strategies from international kennel and breed clubs
-    clinical health testing (e.g. eyes, hip, elbow, heart schemes around the world)
-    veterinary collaborations – IPFD is a World Small Animal Association (WSAVA) Educational partner and FECAVA is a Collaborating Partner of IPFD

Find yourself with a client wanting to know about inherited eye diseases in the Cesky terrier? All the DNA tests available for the Otterhound?  Whether there is a genetic test for mustaches in Schipperkes? Which companies offer genetic testing for dogs in Belgium? HGTD has a search option for all! Start a search of the Harmonization (HGTD) database here!

How does HGTD fit into wider health concerns?

Genetic testing is just one tool to improving canine health and welfare. There are a number of additional resources from IPFD on  providing breed and type specific health data, and how genetic testing fits into the Big Picture of health and welfare. Check out:

  • Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles e.g. 'Get a GRIHP!' This series of articles focuses on the Big Picture of health and welfare within breeds including international resources for veterinarians, owners, caretakers, breeders and others who want to understand the key issues for individual dogs and breed populations
  • monthly IPFD feature articles in the WSAVA Bulletin. 
  • breed-specific health reports

Can HGTD do more?

HGTD is built on a principle of working collaboratively to meet the needs of our canine community. If you're a veterinary scientist, or canine health professional and have a question about genetic testing, or an idea of how HGTD could improve to further improve access to, and understanding of genetic testing, please let us know. 

Photos: La Miko (main image) and Alana Sousa (inset image) from Pexels. 


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  • Blog Disclaimer
    The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from this blog.

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