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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I want to get some genetic testing done on my miniature poodle but I am having trouble finding information on testing companies to use. I have read up a bit on Wisdom Panel and their tests seem to cover a lot, but I don't know any others.Can anyone give any recommendations on who to try? Personal experience with such organisations would be really helpful. A little more information on my boy. He is 10 months old and is a dark chocolate brown miniature poodle. I haven't actually measured his height yet, but he looks to be on the larger end of miniature. Unfortunately no papers as his breeder didn't have papers from the breeders of her pair. Although I would love to have papers for my boy it won't make any difference to who he is or that he is a much loved companion and pet. I just want to make very sure he is not carrying genes for conditions that could be a problem in the future or that could be passed on to pups should we decide to mate him to a suitable bitch. Many thanks in advance.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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A few people here have used Embark for health testing. I'm not in a position to compare to Wisdom Panel, which I've also seen recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A few people here have used Embark for health testing. I'm not in a position to compare to Wisdom Panel, which I've also seen recommended.
A few people here have used Embark for health testing. I'm not in a position to compare to Wisdom Panel, which I've also seen recommended.
Thank you. I have found about half a dozen genetic testing organisations and have spent a fair bit of time going through their websites and user reviews. I have also found a couple of sites that give a comparison overview of the services offered by various organisations. I am inclined to go with Embark I think. It seems to give the best selection of services and so long as the reviews are all genuine, has a lot of positive feedback. I think most of the organisations give a good basic service, but for my purposes, it looks as if Embark is at the top of the list. I also like the idea that I can contribute to ongoing research with this organisation. Plus there is a lot of learning that can be sourced on their website.
 

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Embark is a good kit. For pet testing I think they are probably your best choice. Pawprint is also very good and is generally preferred by breeders for genetic testing but that's because it's geared more toward breed-specific tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Embark is a good kit. For pet testing I think they are probably your best choice. Pawprint is also very good and is generally preferred by breeders for genetic testing but that's because it's geared more toward breed-specific tests.
Thanks. I inferred the same from some of the reviews I read as well. I think all the testing sites offer good services but I do think Embark is the one best suited for what I am seeking
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quick update on my experience with Embark so far. I ordered the kit online several weeks ago, and got an immediate response from Embark saying the order had been received. The following day I had another email saying the kit had been posted and supplying a tracking number. Over the next 4-5 days I received several emails and was able to track the kit as it progressed through the US and through Japan, arriving in Australia around 6-7 days from being posted. All good so far, but from that point there was absolutely no progress for nearly 5 weeks! Not Embark's fault. This was solely due to the tardiness of Australia Post. It did finally arrive though and I am very impressed with the quality of the kit and the thoroughness of the instructions supplied. I could have done the swab test myself but chose to take it to my vet instead. He was also very impressed with the quality of the kit and observed that it is the best he has seen so far. The test is now ready to be mailed back to Embark and I'm really looking forward to getting the results. While I've been waiting I've been checking out a lot of reviews on U-Tube, some of which did comparisons with Wisdom as well. I think I made the right choice in selecting Embark and I'll do another update when I get the results in :)
 

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Yes, update us when you hear back. I just sent back my pup's embark kit today. I had done it with my previous dog when he was older and had a good experience with it. It actually showed that he had two copies of the gene for the disease that he had (intervertebral disc disease) and it was pretty accurate for traits that he had too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, update us when you hear back. I just sent back my pup's embark kit today. I had done it with my previous dog when he was older and had a good experience with it. It actually showed that he had two copies of the gene for the disease that he had (intervertebral disc disease) and it was pretty accurate for traits that he had too.
Good to hear that you were pleased enough with your previous experience that you are willing to invest the money to obtain information about your current pup. That's pretty reassuring to me :) I'm really looking forward to getting my results but don't expect anything for a few weeks yet due to the test being sent from Australia and our postal system seems to be unreasonably slow at the moment. It took over 5 weeks for the kit to get to me after it arrived in Australia! Not sure what the hold up was but I guess there must be reasons for it.

My older dog (14 yo now) developed IVDD when he was pretty young and I thought it may have been due to rough play etc. It would have been interesting and helpful to know if he had the genes for the condition when he was younger, but I only discovered how helpful these genetic tests could be fairly recently. However, Teddy (the IVDD oldie) has stayed relatively well with only 3-4 past episodes of flare ups from the condition which were treated fairly easily with rest and medication. However, I am noticing a few indications of problems as he is ageing. Notably, occasional shaking in his limbs when he first wakes up and sometimes what seems to be a loss of balance. I have spoken to his vet about the problem and he is pretty sure we will be able to manage the condition for the foreseeable future, and at the moment he is doing pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another quick update. I received an email from Embark several days ago letting me know what stage their testing is at. It was impressively detailed and really interesting to read. They gave a lot of information about genetics and the processes they use, together with links to various videos and articles about how looks can be really deceiving with dogs. What you see isn't necessarily what you have! :) They say the full results should start to be available in early July; only a few days away now and I'm getting really excited to see what they reveal about Ernie.
 

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Another quick update. I received an email from Embark several days ago letting me know what stage their testing is at. It was impressively detailed and really interesting to read. They gave a lot of information about genetics and the processes they use, together with links to various videos and articles about how looks can be really deceiving with dogs. What you see isn't necessarily what you have! :) They say the full results should start to be available in early July; only a few days away now and I'm getting really excited to see what they reveal about Ernie.
You may get the results even sooner. I got that message last weekend saying that they would be ready soon and I should expect them by early July. I got the full results a day later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You may get the results even sooner. I got that message last weekend saying that they would be ready soon and I should expect them by early July. I got the full results a day later.
That sounds promising! I would love to get them sooner than the expected date. Were there any surprises in the results you got?
 

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That sounds promising! I would love to get them sooner than the expected date. Were there any surprises in the results you got?
Well, he had one variant of the gene for IVDD which was disappointing since my previous poodle had IVDD and I was really hoping we wouldn't have that gene. However, I'm hearing a lot of poodles have the gene. He has no family history of it that I'm aware of. Other than that, the health results were all good.

He's 100% poodle, which I knew. I was a bit surprised that he had a high wolfiness score (4.9%) and supposedly that is rare. Not exactly sure what it means based on Embark's description. Something about having ancient genes. They also predict him to be 11 pounds, which I would be shocked about although happy with. He's 4.3 pounds now and 18 weeks. His parents are 7 and 8 pounds. So, we'll see how that turns out. They predicted my previous poodle to be 13 pounds and he was 11.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, he had one variant of the gene for IVDD which was disappointing since my previous poodle had IVDD and I was really hoping we wouldn't have that gene. However, I'm hearing a lot of poodles have the gene. He has no family history of it that I'm aware of. Other than that, the health results were all good.

He's 100% poodle, which I knew. I was a bit surprised that he had a high wolfiness score (4.9%) and supposedly that is rare. Not exactly sure what it means based on Embark's description. Something about having ancient genes. They also predict him to be 11 pounds, which I would be shocked about although happy with. He's 4.3 pounds now and 18 weeks. His parents are 7 and 8 pounds. So, we'll see how that turns out. They predicted my previous poodle to be 13 pounds and he was 11.
I find the whole subject of genetics really fascinating and can't wait to see what the tests reveal for Ernie. My old boy, Teddy also has IVDD but I think it was probably caused by a fall he had when he was only a few months old. It has caused problems on and off over his life but to date they have all been managed successfully with rest and medication. I didn't know until recently that there even was a gene that could predict this condition, and Teddy was never tested for anything. He was cleared by parentage for PRA which is the main reason I wanted Ernie tested. I'd hate to pass on this condition to any future generations. I was staggered to read only a few days ago about how many cancers poodles are known to be susceptible to. It was a really long list, and is very likely to be the underlying condition causing Teddy's current problems quite apart from his age. I don't know if Embark's testing will show any indications for this. However, I understand that carrying the genes for some things doesn't always mean the animal will definitely develop that condition. It does give us a really good start in knowing what precautions to take though. My vet is really interested in seeing Ernie's results. He was very impressed with the test kit and the bit that I was able to tell him about Embark. I am in Australia and I wasn't able to find anywhere here that did genetic testing at all! I found this quite amazing. It has also been difficult to find any vets willing to perform a vasectomy or modified spay on dogs rather than the full de-sexing. Again, I have been very lucky in that we get a range of vets rotating through our local clinic from a big clinic in Melbourne and some of these have expressed willingness to do this if I want to have Ernie fixed up when he is older. I'm not considering doing anything until he is fully grown and has all his bone, muscle and cartilage development complete. I can really see the amazing difference leaving him entire is making to his development and can't help wondering about my previous dogs and how they would have been had they been left entire for a longer period.
 

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@Sylvia K I was actually just reading about vasectomy/modified spay and was thinking how I have never even heard it mentioned as an option for dogs here in the US. There seems to be a big rush to spay/neuter fairly early. I've read several things now about the risk of various cancers being reduced if you spay/neuter after a year, and just recently heard that dogs neutered before age one had a two times greater risk of developing IVDD. So, I'm planning not to neuter him until sometime after he turns one. I expect his animal hospital will push back.
 

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@Sylvia K I was actually just reading about vasectomy/modified spay and was thinking how I have never even heard it mentioned as an option for dogs here in the US. There seems to be a big rush to spay/neuter fairly early. I've read several things now about the risk of various cancers being reduced if you spay/neuter after a year, and just recently heard that dogs neutered before age one had a two times greater risk of developing IVDD. So, I'm planning not to neuter him until sometime after he turns one. I expect his animal hospital will push back.
I started looking into vasectomy a few years ago when one of my previous poodles had such an awful negative experience after a standard six month neuter. A vasectomy actually wouldn't have been an option in his case as he had a retained testicle (the only reason I got him neutered at all) but his whole personality changed totally and he became a scared, confused and fearful little fellow afterwards. Before the surgery he had such a wonderful sunny and happy nature. I just want to cry every time I think about how that surgery changed him totally. Teddy was totally different though. You would never have known anything had been done to him. I believe a lot of the neutering is done far too young! Dogs need their hormones for healthy development. I can understand that vets etc just want to try and stop the uncontrolled breeding through irresponsible owners, but there must be a better way of doing that. maybe it should be mandatory for prospective owners to prove they have adequate knowledge and commitment before they can have a dog. A bit controversial but better than the wholesale neutering of 8 week old babies that happens now - at least that is what happens frequently here in Australia. I didn't know that about the connection between early neutering and IVDD. I wonder if that was implicated with Teddy's condition? I guess I'll never know though.
 
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