Pet Testing Reviews for Paw Print Genetics

Paw Print Genetics
From £38.95 Converted from $49.00

At a Glance

Editor's Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Customer Service:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Clarity of Results:
5 out of 5 stars
References Cited:
4 out of 5 stars
Value for Money:
3 out of 5 stars

Summary

In summary, the Paw Print Genetics Disease Testing service was straightforward, informative and certain aspects of it were surprisingly fun. It was a relief to learn that Harvey doesn’t carry any of the potentially harmful mutations tested for. I also appreciated that Paw Print Genetics made clear that this didn’t mean he was completely immune from the diseases that commonly affect his breed.

I liked the Paw Print Pedigree feature, and setting up Harvey’s profile was fun. The fact that genetic counselling was offered was also an unexpected bonus. There are cheaper tests that offer genetic predisposition in addition to other features such as breed analysis. However, the major benefit of this test was that it focused specifically on the diseases Harvey was most likely to be at risk of. For breeders and pet owners alike, this service offers a quick, simple way to learn about your dog’s disease risk and I would recommend it.

Full Review

Paw Print Genetics is a company that specialises in DNA testing to screen for disease in dogs. Founder and CEO Lisa G Shaffer is a genetics expert and has a PhD, more than 300 medical publications and several professorships to her name. The company also has partnerships with a range of different dog clubs and associations. Customers are able to order single tests or panels to find out more about the risk their dog has of developing or passing on the diseases most common to the breed, but Paw Print Genetics offers parentage and profiling tests and caters to both family pet owners and breeders.

Product Expectations

There were several different ways to search for tests on the Paw Print Genetics website. I was able to search by breed, disease/trait or symptom. There were also two ‘Test Catalogs’, one of which listed all of the disease tests and one of which listed all the coat colour/trait tests available. I understand why some people might find this wide range of options a bit confusing but I found it really useful.

I was interested in testing my Springer Spaniel, Harvey, to find out if he was genetically predisposed to any diseases. I decided to search by breed, as I wasn’t sure which conditions were most common in Springer Spaniels and he didn’t have any symptoms of disease. It was really easy to select his breed from a drop-down list and I was then shown four recommended disease tests. I hadn’t heard of any of the conditions listed, so was happy to find that I could click them for more information.

I next looked at the ‘Samples’ page, to find out more about the testing process itself. I was surprised to see a long list of accepted samples, but decided that a cheek swab would probably be the easiest option. I read that as an International client (Paw Print Genetics is based in the US) I would have to purchase my own swabs. I was a bit worried at first about where to buy these from, but there were two links that redirected me to websites that I could purchase them from, one in bulk (I assume for breeders) and one smaller pack.

There were also detailed instructions and tips on how to take the samples, which were accompanied by a video demonstrating what was described.

Nothing in the terms and conditions or privacy policy seemed out of the ordinary or concerning.

Ordering Experience

To order the test, I first chose the panel of diseases I wanted to screen for (as described above), before I could add the test to my basket I had to create an account to add Harvey’s information. I was asked to provide his call name, breed, sex and approximate birth date. I also had the option to add his registered name and number, his litter name, microchip number, tattoo and could tick to indicate whether he was symptomatic. As well as myself, I could add an extra or co-owner whose name would appear on the report with mine and would also have access to the results.

The rest of the process was straightforward and I was given the option to pay with my debit/credit card or via PayPal. I received an email that confirmed my order and provided a link to the sample page I’d already read on the website. I was also informed that I’d receive another email once the samples had reached the Paw Print Genetics lab and when the results were ready.

The Results

Two weeks after I received confirmation of the samples reaching the lab, I got another informing me that the results were ready. It explained that they had been uploaded to my account and contained a link to the login page. When I logged in, I was given the option to review the results online in my account via the ‘Test Results’ tab, but was also able to see them in the downloadable ‘Disease Report’ or ‘Genetic Health Certificate’.

Results Section: Test Results

I first looked at Harvey’s results via the ‘Test Results’ tab in my account. I was nervous before opening them, and appreciated that they hadn’t been shown automatically as soon as I logged in. When I plucked up the courage to view the results I was relieved that it was immediately clear that Harvey didn’t carry any of the mutations that indicated a higher risk of the diseases. The results were provided in a table, shown below.

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Harvey’s Results in the Test Results section.

Harvey’s Results in the Test Results section.

The results were very straightforward and I appreciated them being written as ‘Normal’ and ‘Clear’ as it made it very simple to understand. I noticed the Paw Print Pedigrees section and was interested to find out more about it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to click directly from the table, but noticed that one of the tabs in my account was entitled ‘Paw Print Pedigrees’.

Results Section: Paw Print Pedigrees

I read that the Paw Print Pedigrees service was a part of the testing package and would allow me to share Harvey’s results, on a profile that I could set up for him. A section of his profile is shown below.

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Harvey’s Paw Print Pedigree Profile.

Harvey’s Paw Print Pedigree Profile.

Picking his picture was really fun and I was able to add links to awards and profiles on other sites (though unfortunately Harvey hasn’t got either…yet!). Once I’d entered Harvey’s information I was able to search for other dogs, breeders and breed clubs that were also participating in the Paw Print Pedigree service. I was also given the option to set up a breeder profile for myself and it was made clear that I could delete either profile at any time.

Results Section: Disease Report

Once I’d had my fun with Paw Print Pedigrees, I decided to take a look at the Disease Report, which I guessed would provide more details about Harvey’s results.

The report was only one page long, but included quite a lot of information. All of the details I’d provided about Harvey were at the top of the page, followed a results table that was very similar to the one in the Test Results section, but included the names of the specific genes that had been tested. The table is shown below.

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Harvey’s Disease Report Results Table.

Harvey’s Disease Report Results Table.

Beneath this were two paragraphs entitled ‘Interpretation’ and ‘Recommendations’. The Interpretation was pretty straightforward and was more of a description of what had been tested and the fact that they Harvey had two normal copies of each gene that had been analysed. The Recommendations section provided more insights into what this actually meant, explaining that the results indicated that Harvey was not an increased risk of the diseases tested for and would only pass on normal versions of these genes to his offspring. However, it went on to point out that there were other genes or mutations associated with these conditions that hadn’t been included in the test, meaning that the results didn’t completely rule out the chance that Harvey would develop these conditions.

I was really impressed to read that complimentary genetic counselling was included as part of the service, something I’ve not seen offered for pet DNA tests before. I felt that I understood Harvey’s results well enough and he hadn’t had any potentially harmful mutations identified, so I didn’t use the service myself. Regardless of this, I thought that it was great that I’d been offered the option and would have appreciated it even more had Harvey’s results not been so positive.

The report ended with the signatures of the Laboratory and Scientific Director and the Associate Medical Director, which to me, added an extra level of authority and made the results feel more official.

Results Section: Genetic Health Certificate

Harvey’s Genetic Health Certificate was similar to the Disease report, but without the Interpretation and Recommendation explanation. In terms of how it was presented, this certificate also included a border and the Paw Print Genetics logo prominently positioned in the centre. You can see the top section of the certificate below.

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Part of Harvey’s Genetic Health Certificate.

Part of Harvey’s Genetic Health Certificate.

It’s still not something I’d proudly frame and put on the wall, but I think that this was as much to do with the type of results as the presentation of the certificate. I did think this certificate provided an official looking document that presented the results clearly, so I’ll probably use it to share the findings with Harvey’s vet.

Summary

In summary, the Paw Print Genetics Disease Testing service was straightforward, informative and certain aspects of it were surprisingly fun. It was a relief to learn that Harvey doesn’t carry any of the potentially harmful mutations tested for. I also appreciated that Paw Print Genetics made clear that this didn’t mean he was completely immune from the diseases that commonly affect his breed.

I liked the Paw Print Pedigree feature, and setting up Harvey’s profile was fun. The fact that genetic counselling was offered was also an unexpected bonus. There are cheaper tests that offer genetic predisposition in addition to other features such as breed analysis. However, the major benefit of this test was that it focused specifically on the diseases Harvey was most likely to be at risk of. For breeders and pet owners alike, this service offers a quick, simple way to learn about your dog’s disease risk and I would recommend it.

Please note that we were invited to take this test free of charge