Top 5 Genetic Diseases of Dogs
Check out this article from our official practice journal Clinician’s Brief. It is authored by WSAVA HDC Chair Dr Jerold Bell.
Genetic diseases, common in crossbreed and purebred dogs, are typically associated with evolutionarily ancient disease-liability genes that preceded the separation of breeds and are dispersed in the domestic dog genome. In the past century, the most common diseases in dogs have resulted from infectious, nutritional, and environmental causes. As clinicians have learned to manage the causes of these diseases (eg, through vaccination and proper diet), genetic predisposition has become a more frequent cause of disease. Frequency of common genetic disorders varies among breeds and may be caused by random changes (ie, genetic drift), popular sire syndrome, selection for aesthetic traits linked on chromosomes to disease-liability genes, or anatomic or conformational aspects that can alter disease liability.
The hallmark of inherited disease is predictability of onset and progression. Recognizing predictable triggers and modifying factors that influence the expression of genetic disorders can help improve diagnosis, treatment, and control.