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In the United States, DNA testing is also being done on dogs

In the United States, DNA testing is also being done on dogs

The ritual has become habitual. Open the kit, rotate the swab, soak in the solution and mix, then wait patiently for the result. At this point, the smear was taken except for the javelin pit, which, after all, was not a screening for Covit-19, but a DNA test for dogs.

The popularity of these experiments, which appeared fifteen years ago, has recently exploded in the United States, where nearly 40% of families have at least one of these furry comrades.

Embark Vet, which launched in 2015 and markets one of the most popular devices in the United States, for example, AFP promises 235% growth between 2019 and 2020. A veterinarian says the epidemic has further exacerbated the movement. .

They are not cheap, ranging from $ 100 to $ 200 depending on the kit. But in a country where the dog is king, this is not a problem: by 2020 Americans will have spent nearly $ 104 billion on their animals, equivalent to Slovakia’s GDP, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Once the sample is mailed, the wait can take anywhere from two weeks to a month. The first goal is to be clear about the dog breed.

Sometimes, if the owner has a clean dog, it is a question of checking that there are no defects in the materials. This is the case of Ashley Ternila, who lives in New Jersey. The German Shepherd, whom he bought from a breeder, looked like a wolf despite having white fur, so he told AFP he “put an end to the rumors and we tested him.”

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But for owners who choose to adopt from shelters, trying to fill in the gray areas of a person’s life that is now an integral part of the family is a question.

Mila Bardos, a 51-year-old lawyer living in Washington, D.C., explains: “Having a dog is about knowing where it comes from and what its history is. He adopted his three dogs, Natty, Mickey and Mabel, and conducted DNA testing on each of them, thus providing an overview of their family tree.

She discovers that there is a cousin in Baltimore near the mixed country of Pit Bull, Beagle, Zhou-Chow and German Shepherd, or descended from a long line with a Mickey, half-Labrador and a glossy brown line. .

For his part, Levi Novi, a 42-year-old Virginia-based consultant, promises that the test allowed her little black dog weighing 6kg to “better understand” her summer behavior and “her energy and predatory instincts”. And “the way she chooses the people she hugs.”

This particular desire to “understand, predict, and anticipate the actions of their dogs” reinforces the owners’ interest in their dog breed, AFP Alan McConnell, a psychology professor who specializes in human relationships, for their pets.

Dog breeds actually carry stereotypes – “Labradors get along well with children, pit bulls are aggressive surveillance dogs” – which, while sometimes not accurate, can help explain dog behavior, the animal, he explains.

Levi Novi was also reassured that there was no prognosis for any genetic disease in the summer. Because, it is also one of the selling points for these tests: heart problems, kidney function disorders, premature hearing loss …

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But beware, says Sarah Bowman, a veterinarian in Washington, D.C. At most, these tests make it possible to be aware of the risk and act with greater vigilance in this area, he explains.

Contacted by the AFP, the American Veterinary Association encourages one to consult with one of its practitioners “before making any decision based on the results of these tests.”

Then, practice testers should also be aware of the legal consequences. Like other places in the United States, some breeds of dogs are found to be aggressive, such as pit bulls or Staffordshire Terriers, so they are banned from certain apartment buildings.

However, in this practical country, Mila Bardos warns as a lawyer that if the adopted dog is a half-pit bull, it could be “a problem” by the overly caring owner. “If you do not want to know that information, you probably should not do a DNA test.”