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The vet will explain your pet’s genetic test results. They may also suggest discussing the results with a genetic counselor, a professional who can help you further understand you’re test results in detail. Your vet and the genetic counselor can guide you in making the right decisions for your pet by:

    • Providing accurate and up-to-date information on your pet’s likely genetic predisposition in developing a particular disease, including cancer. Genetic testing can help with preventability. Because different pets are more susceptible to various diseases, genetic testing can help alert pet owners to problems that might arise throughout the pets’ life.
    • Explaining all the possible outcomes of genetic testing and discussing the possible follow-up strategies. Power is knowledge. Suppose testing shows that your pet is at a higher risk for developing a specific disease. In that case, you, as the pet owner, have the potential to learn more about preventability and intervention, which can also help with the early detection of diseases.
    • Listening to your questions and concerns. Engaging in your pet’s healthcare begins with you asking questions and gathering as much knowledge as possible. Your vet and specialists can provide the information you need to make the right decisions about your pet’s health.
    • Devising the potential treatment options. Suppose your pet has already been diagnosed with a disease. In that case, specific gene mutations detected by genetic testing can help create personalized treatment options that have the most potential for being effective with your pet. Customized treatment is a growing field in the medical field for pets and humans.
    • Explaining the potential limitations of genetic testing. Be aware that a single gene does not determine most diseases. While genetic testing will help you be mindful of possible risks in your pet’s life, as it stands, it cannot tell you everything you need to know about your pet’s health. Further, if your pet does seem to have a higher risk of developing a specific disease, this does not always mean your pet will develop the disease.

High throughput genome sequencing techniques (a faster method that allows processing many samples in a short time) mean we can now ask more specific questions about how genetic changes influence the risk of disease in our pet companions.

Some testing companies are also trying to maintain an online database that allows you to share the results of your pet’s genetic test on their website. The information is available publicly or within the community of those tested. Providing public data will help the medical community devise better treatment options through research. As a result, researchers are one step closer to finding the best preventative measures to reduce cancer risk in pets and give them a long, happy, and healthy life.

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/

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

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.