Working Dogs Beware, Part I

When I brought skinny Peeko home from a Utah shelter, I knew only a few bits about her past:

— she was about a year old

7781_sq_1— as a stray, she had broken her right elbow and it had healed badly.

Two years later, I know more:

— her bum leg is not an issue

— she’s a heckuva cow dog and a great ride-along dog

— she’s got the pedigree to prove it.

Wisdom Panel, a DNA testing division of Mars Veterinary, helped me determine just what genetic background lay behind this perky, athletic dog and her sad start in life.

Here’s what happens when you order a Wisdom Panel kit:

wisdom-panel— you receive a small package via US mail containing two swabs sticks and a paid return shipping package.

— you activate your online account (takes about 60 seconds).

— you swab the inside of your dog’s cheek with the sticks, let them dry, send them back to Wisdom Panel (takes about five minutes)

— in a short while (five days to two weeks), you get results!

In Peeko’s case, Wisdom Panel helped me confirm just why she was so instinctively good around cows and why she had that hard-to-define, mixed breed look.

pPeeko is a blend of Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, and Australian Cattle Dog and has lesser genetic input from several other herding and companion breeds. The fun and revealing DNA discovery: her 13 percent American Staffordshire Terrier. It explains her facial structure (short and smiley) and her sometimes aggressive, sometimes territorial temperament.

Peeko plays with Monty

Peeko plays with Monty

While perusing her Wisdom Panel results, I learned about another important feature: the Multi Drug Resistance 1 test.

Many dogs with herding lineage (border collies, Aussies) have a genetic mutation that limits their ability to process certain common veterinary drugs (like the tranquilizer Acepromazin and the wormer Ivermectin). Dogs testing positive for MDR1 may seizure, lapse into a coma, and die when exposed to these drugs. Even eating manure of horses just wormed with Ivermectin has been shown to seriously harm these dogs, according to this site.

Thankfully, Wisdom Panel results told me, Peeko does not have the MDR1 mutation.

But what about the new puppy, Monty? He of border collie x unknown, and free-to-a-good-home lineage?

Cheeks swabbed and package sent. Stay tuned.

Do you have a dog with possible MRD1 sensitivity? Curious about your rescue mutt’s breeding? Enter to win a free Wisdom Panel screening by clicking here.

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