Home » Pet Health » Genes and Cancer » Genetic Testing for Cancer Overview


Genetics is one of the many factors that contribute to cancer risk. Changes in one or more genes (known as a genetic mutation) can lead to cancer or other disease developments. Genetic testing can help estimate the risk of developing cancer by identifying the genetic mutations your pet may have inherited. This information may help your vet decide how to lower your pet’s cancer risk. Genetic testing may help a vet make an early cancer diagnosis and devise better treatment strategies.

Understanding genetic testing can help you make an informed choice about your pet’s cancer diagnosis. The first thing you want to consider is genetic disorders as a whole. Understanding genetic diseases and how they are inherited can help you, as the pet owner, make responsible decisions regarding the benefits and limitations of genetic testing.

You may consider genetic testing if you think your pet is at risk for a genetic disorder. Learning what tests are available and how companies complete them gives you the knowledge to make informed decisions about your pet’s health. Testing may include determining your pet’s risk of cancer. Some cancers depend on one or more gene changes or mutations. Checking genes for mutations can give you and your vet the necessary information to determine if you can prevent cancer from developing and, if not, how to treat it.

Once you receive the genetic testing results, fully understanding the results can take time and effort. Rely on your vet and vet specialists to help you interpret the information. Once you appreciate what the report tells you, you and your vet care team can decide the next steps in keeping your beloved pet healthy and giving you the most time together with your furry friend.

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s Website Editorial team is comprised of veterinarians, veterinary oncologists, and veterinary technicians, as well as scientific writers and editors who have attained their PhD’s in the life sciences, along with general editors and research assistants. All content found in this section goes through an extensive process with multiple review stages, to ensure this extended resource provides pet families with the most up-to-date information publicly available.

The team listing of those contributing to the information on this page is here:

Keep Your Pets Healthy Editorial Team

Last Updated: November 17, 2022

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The following sources were referenced to write the content on this page: 

Gershony, L & Oberbaue, A 2020, Review of the current state of genetic testing – a living resource viewed November 17, 2022,https://www.akcchf.org/educational-resources/library/articles/CANINE_GENETIC_TESTING_07-28-2020_FINAL_with-links.pdf

Lyons, LA & Buckley RM 2020, ‘Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for domestic cats’, Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 991-1000.

Rokhsar, JL, Canino, J, Raj, K, Yuhnke, S, Slutsky, J & Giger U 2021, ‘Web resource on available DNA variant tests for hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions in dogs and cats: an update,’ Hum Genet, vol. 140, no. 11, pp. 1505-1515.

Slutsky, J, Raj, K, Yuhnke, S, Bell, J, Fretwell, N, Hedhammar, A, Wade, C & Giger U 2013, ‘A web resource on DNA tests for canine and feline hereditary diseases’, Vet J, vol. 197, no. 2, pp. 182-187.

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s medical resource for pet owners is protected by copyright.

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.