Now that the dust has settled, many have come to their senses after the hysteria surrounding DNA testing in Australia. BULLY KING Magazine readdresses what caused the panic, why it was overblown the way it was, as well as the upside to DNA Testing, what you should be testing for, and the Companies you should be using.
The meltdown surrounding DNA testing a few months back (while comical to those experienced with the breed) had some Australian breeders frightened to the point that several breeders began to offload some of the best bloodlines in the world. Posts and videos on popular social media sites like Facebook, caught wind and many bully owners began to panic out of fear that their dogs were going to go deaf and blind.
As we said initially, the hysteria was overblown and based off of inaccurate information and false claims. The initial meltdown was started from a video on Facebook where an Australian breeder began to claim that there were dogs going blind in Australia as a result of Cone-Rod Dystrophy. Once this video began to circulate, mass hysteria began to set in.
The breeder that made the post even went as far as to name several of the top Studs by name “claiming” that they were directly responsible for contributing to genetic defects (Most notably CRD) claiming that it would inevitably cause dogs to go blind in this breed. Many of the Breeders in Australia with top imported bloodlines weren’t able to sell pups off of top quality breedings due to the fact that this information was perceived as fact, and due to the first questions asked to them were “are they DNA Clear?”
The problem with this was that many were DNA Clear, but Orivet test results showed that they were not. Also, there was very little guidance on how to interpret test results. Adding to this was a ton of confusion caused by misinformation being spread online as many mistook “markers” showing up in their test results with receiving confirmation that their dogs were, in fact “carriers” of genetic disease.
The American Bully breed exploded in popularity in Australia over the past year, and many breeders rushed to spend top dollar importing the best breeding stock from the U.S. Dogs like Venom, GrCh Rocko, GrCh Chumper, Thee Buss, Mye-Stro, Ch Lucky Luciano, Omega, GrCh Shamrock, S2 and GrCh El Toro all have been imported and have had litters there. So the online hysteria that swept through all of the Australian Bully groups on Facebook was a valid fear and understandably did not come as welcome news to many.
Once this video began to circulate, many Australian’s- out of fear that their dogs carried genetic disease, in a knee-jerk reaction… began to sell some of the best breeding stock around. Several self appointed “bully advocates” (most with little to no experience with the breed or even a basic understanding of genetic testing or the interpretation of test results) began to lecture other bully owners, many with top imported bloodlines from their soapboxes- citing inaccurate information as fact.
As mentioned above, many Australian breeders with much lesser quality than the imported bloodlines, took this and began to use this hysteria and fear as a rallying cry to promote inferior Studs & Breedings as the superior choice being “DNA Clear.”
For those of us experienced with the breed, this was nothing new. We’ve seen the same hysteria happen in other countries based off of inaccurate information, take hold and spread like wildfire only to dissipate as quickly as it started. The frustrating part was attempting to educate those who were new to the breed (that meant well) but were so fired up about promoting health and genetic testing that they aren’t able to listen to common sense or facts.
As we covered in a previous issue: BULLY KING Magazine has tracked down every claim of an American bully going blind as a result of CRD. Not one case was found to be caused as a direct result of CRD. As a matter of fact, we have not found a single case of this anywhere in the world. We have now been asking for proof of any case going on six months. If you know of one, please email email@example.com because we will want to cover it and educate the community.
A word of advice: Stop listening to random people in forums and Facebook groups without the qualifications to give advice, spout ignorance and false information on a breed they have little to no experience with. Stop getting information on genetic testing and the interpretation of test results on social media sites. And lastly, for the love of God, don’t get rid of excellent stock because of a few self appointed experts doing a live video and spreading inaccurate information.
To put it bluntly:
In 6 months there will something new to get hysterical about and this won’t even be a thought. Understand these DNA companies are making money from all this testing, wether it’s reliable or viable or not, and nothing brings in more testing money than hysterical inexperienced breeders who read the latest “genetic” article on FB.
What you see on your DNA results is a combination of “markers” found on the DNA that have been correlated to be attached to certain diseases in certain breeds. If the markers are present does that mean your dog has a disease? NO! If the markers are present does it mean the breed is even affected by the disease? NO! Are the DNA samples collected in controlled environment? NO!
The small fraction of the fraction of the population that will be affected by the “diseases” everybody is worried about is not enough to cause any of us to breed differently. So even IF your dog is one of the very small percentage that show up as a “carrier” or “affected” on paper the likelihood of the testing being viable and accurate are slim and the likelihood of your dog ever actually having the disease is even more slim, and the probability the dog with actually be affected by the disease is slimmer still.
Stop letting the hysteria brainwash you into believing this bullshit.
I would be interested to hear what George (Orivet) has to say but I already understand how the game works. Companies make money through supply and demand. If they convince you that you need their supply they instantly have a high demand!
— Ty Lumley BullNAChinaShop
A RECENT ARTICLE IN THE NATURE JOURNAL CALLED THE BUSINESS OF CONSUMER MARKETED CANINE GENETIC TESTING AN “UNTAMED WILDERNESS” OF WEAK SCIENCE, UNVALIDATED OUTCOMES AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.
“One concern is that tests can show genetic mutations that are linked to disease in some breeds but have unknown effects in the breed being tested. It also may be unclear how often dogs with the mutation ultimately are affected. That means tests, in themselves, can’t necessarily tell pet owners how much they should worry. Or even tell breeders whether a dog shouldn’t reproduce.
Some fear that DNA test results could keep animals from passing on otherwise good genes because of an ambiguous possibility of disease.
False-positive results released by direct-to-consumer genetic tests highlight the importance of clinical confirmation
AS A MAGAZINE FOR THE BREED — WE RECOMMEND DNA TESTING. WE ARE THE ONES WHO PUBLISHED THE INITIAL ARTICLE “DNA IS MIA IN AUSTRALIA.
BUT, WE DID NOT ENCOURAGE DNA TESTING FOR UNEDUCATED BREEDERS, AND SELF APPOINTED “EXPERTS” WITH LITTLE TO NO EXPERIENCE WITH THE BREED TO TAKE AND USE IT TO INSTILL FEAR IN AUSTRALIAN BULLY OWNERS ONLINE.
“The Issue stems from a lack of understanding of how to interpret DNA results combined with mass produced tests that “should be used in a limited way until we get a lot more information,” — Co-author and vet Dr. Lisa Moses.
The problem with mass-market dog DNA tests, some experts say, is that they often identify gene mutations that have been linked to disease only in certain breeds. For instance, if research has shown that a mutation is associated with cancer in golden retrievers, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same mutation will cause cancer in a Boston terrier — but the mutation still shows up on the terrier’s report.
So its owner might then rush to a veterinarian, who, given the recent nature of the science, may not have a solid understanding of what the report really means.”
While there has been much hysteria caused by a lack of understanding of how to interpret genetic testing results, there are still many reasons to DNA test our breed. ABKC Founder Dave Wilson highlights some of them below:
Over the next year I will be working on informational media to help get this breed back on a track of preservation. Hopefully you all will enjoy what the future has to hold.
To get things started and some food for thought here are 3 important things all breeders should do and all consumers should request.
1. DNA Profiling: This is inexpensive for breeders and is something that all breeders should be doing. DNA validates parentage. Everyone who’s purchasing a puppy should have this provided for them by the breeder. Don’t fall for “my word is all that should be needed.” That is an excuse and a defensive breeder is not to be trusted. This is too cheap not to do and when breeders are selling dogs for the prices that some of these dogs are selling for, the cost is next to nothing. There is absolutely no reason to not DNA profile your dogs and your litters. DNA Profiling is only valid through your registration company- which I hope is the ABKC. The ABKC works with the DDC, who is one of the most reliable DNA companies in existence. DNA profiling is something all respectable breeders should provide.
2. Hip and Elbow testing: Whether you chose OFA or PennHIP doesn’t really matter. This breed has become a very front heavy breed and emphasis on rears has been lost. The rear is one of the most important parts in the American Bully breed. It is where movement begins, the base of power and strength, and it is essential for balance and function.
The front legs- especially elbows and pasterns are what support the heavy fronts and supports the dog. Dysplasia is a serious problem in our breed and unless you check your dogs you may not realize they are dysplastic. This will affect your dogs movement, function, and could eventually cause your dog to be lame. Aside from this, a dog with dysplasia lives in constant pain and walking and even standing could become difficult.
Simple inexpensive checks can help prevent these issues, and before a breeder matches two dogs this should be a must! Dysplasia is a hereditary trait and breeding two dogs that are both dysplastic will only make the next generation worse and worse, which is already happening to our breed at an alarming rate. Any reputable breeder can easily get their dogs checked. The ABKC acknowledges both OFA and PennHIP certifications and will now add them to pedigrees.
3. Cardiac Certification: There are many different tests and certifications offered and the ABKC also accepts them and will add them to pedigrees. Dogs with enlarged hearts, bad valves, or serious murmurs all will affect dogs’ lives and many will die young. These are simple, inexpensive tests that all breeders should be doing. There is absolutely no excuse or reason not to.
There is no reason why breeders should not be doing these 3 simple things and no reason as a consumer that you should purchase a dog without these.
We should have proof of parentage, proof of health, especially heart, along with proof of function and dogs that are dysplasia free. Doesn’t every one want a dog that can live a normal functional life?
Just some food for thought, but again over the next year we will get more in detail and provide more information.
It’s time that we as the community do more and demand more of our breeders. If not, this breed will have a very short run until it falls apart.
— Dave Wilson
The advent of relatively inexpensive genetic testing, then, gives us a chance to learn a little more about our best friends. With advances in technology, dog owners can now get insights on breed, health, ancestry, and more with a simple cheek swab.
Genetic testing can help you to identify breeds and/or specific health issues that may be important to the health and happiness of your dog. You can work with your veterinarian and use your results to come up with a training, nutrition or even long-term healthcare plan.
With the recent surge in demand, several companies have rushed to cash in on the direct to consumer DNA testing market. Below we list three of the top DNA testing companies in no specific order.
Tests both the maternal and paternal line of your dog, going all the way back to great grandparents. They’ll test for a crazy 256 quadrillion genes and over 200 dog breeds, and are even able to tell you if your dog has any wolf or coyote in his or her blood.
As for the health test, Embark screens for over 160 diseases and known medical issues for dogs, which is the highest number we’ve seen.
- Breed Identification- Test for over 250 breeds with the most accurate breed ID on the market.
- Family Tree- Discover your dogʼs family tree back to great-grandparents.
- Health Predisposition- Screen for over 170 health conditions including glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy — three of the most common adult-onset diseases in dogs.
- DNA Relative Finder- Discover your dogʼs relatives and connect with them.
- Traits- Insights on coat color, shedding, and more.
Wisdom Panel has the largest breed database in the dog DNA market, testing for over 250 canine breeds — that’s accounting for 50 more breeds than most other tests. Wisdom Panel also offers a kit that combines the classic DNA test with a Disease Detection test, which will screen your dog’s DNA for over 150 genetic health conditions common in dogs.
- Screening for 150+ Genetic Health Conditions
- Features the World’s Largest Breed Database
- Identification for 350+ Breeds, Types and Varieties
- Trait Analysis
Founded in 2012, Paw Print Genetics rocked the world of canine genetics by offering OFA-accepted, breed-specific disease panels at reasonable prices. Paw Print developed it’s own processes for DNA testing and uses two molecular methods to check each mutation to ensure accuracy.
- All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
- Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
- Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
- All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
- Majority of test results accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
- Breed-specific panels ensure you order the right tests for your breed
- Ability to choose panels or individual tests for your dog
There are many other DNA testing companies for dogs, some good and some bad. Before deciding on a company to use do your own research, read reviews and compare the Pros and Cons with each company to decide which one is best for your dog.
If your budget allows for it, the three companies listed above have shown the highest accuracy on test results, offer the most information on your furry family member and have the highest Customer Reviews.
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