Or is there a new purebred in your future? If you answered in the affirmative to either question, now answer me this: Do you know how your breed’s genetic material influences the kind of diseases you may become way too familiar with in the future?

Though I’m big on mutts and think there’s nothing better than a Heinz 57 for most families, I do understand the impulse to partake in the heritage of a specific breed. I get that knowing what you’re getting at the outset can be a critically important condition for some people.

That said, I’m also big on informing my clients of what they’re getting into anytime they take on a purebred. It’s not just the behavioral aspects that strongly influence their health and well being, it’s also about genetic diseases and their propagation.

To that end, I’ve proudly participated in a genetic disease library sponsored by Embrace Pet Insurance. Embrace has been generous in offering me this opportunity. Not just because it means I’ll have an influence in how people like you make decisions about your purebreds, but also because it means I can blog about it (and I'm always looking for something to blog about).

Hence today’s post, in which I explain how it is that you can best use this resource, should you be curious about your pets or future pets. First, there’s a master list of breeds; scroll down and you’ll find a master list of diseases (I’m almost done with the dog stuff — 120 diseases’ worth).

You can search either by breed (and read a pretty impressively written write-up of your breed of choice) or by disease. Since most pet owners won’t necessarily want to jump the gun and read all my enticingly scientific articles first, I recommend you find your diseases of interest by clicking on the links at the end of your breed’s profile.

OK, so now that you've undertaken this task, do you find that the breed suffers from lots of scary diseases? Don’t necessarily be put off. Instead, read up on the disease and determine whether there’s a genetic test your breeder should be doing to weed out the trait. If you’re dead set on the breed, you’ll at least be armed with information so you know exactly what to ask and what proof of health to look for.

Example: Labrador retriever >>> hip dysplasia >>> OFA or PennHip certification and CERF certification.

Basic stuff. But not something you'd necessarily know about. So now that you know what you need from your purebred’s breeder, you’re a go for your mission to find one. If you already have a purebred, read up on your breed’s related diseases so you can ask your veterinarian about them on your next visit. 

This is how it works. And the cat stuff is on the way. It may not be a perfect system but it’s a big head start for people with inquiring minds. People like you. So get to it.

Dr. Patty Khuly