Basic blood tests cannot identify Rover’s bloodlines, but DNA tests make it easy to find out what breeds make up your furry friend. Your veterinarian can help you pick from a selection of DNA tests, depending on the information you want: breed heritage or parental confirmation. Such testing can determine your canine’s family back to great-grandparents. While blood would reveal a dog's DNA, all that's necessary is cell sample from the dog's cheek on a swab.
General blood testing is used to evaluate Rover for health conditions. A complete blood count evaluates his red and white blood cells, while organ function screens evaluate organs, including his liver and kidneys. Some veterinarians also evaluate electrolytes, which can be altered in diseases.
A blood sample may be used for DNA testing, but other options are simpler. You can submit a cheek swab through the American Kennel Club to confirm parentage. The University of California at Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory can utilize blood, cheek swabs or hair samples for parental verification. Tests such as the Wisdom Panel can utilize a cheek swab you obtain or a blood sample your veterinarian obtains from Rover to evaluate the breeds that make up his heritage. Your veterinarian can also help pick a test to check for genetic diseases, as well as identify diseases your newly determined Labrador-dachshund-beagle may be prone to developing.
Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.