Genetic testing in veterinary dermatology

1 July 2019 – News

Both genetic and environmental factors influence the majority of dermatological problems, including conditions such as atopic dermatitis and related diseases.

This review of the scientific literature sets out the available genetic tools to support the diagnosis of skin diseases of dogs, cats and horses – particularly those with non-specific clinical signs. It also suggests that, while there are already some associations between genodermatoses and particular variants in pets, advances in genetics will lead to growth in this area.

Genetic tests may be an alternative to invasive procedures when the aim is to achieve an accurate diagnosis but bear in mind that current tests typically interrogate just a position in the genome so positive results, mean diagnoses and negative outcomes may only exclude a particular genetic defect.  It is important to interpret genetic results with caution and to bear in mind the breed for which they were validated.

As specific DNA tests and broad genome-wide analyses come into more common use, it is important that veterinarians understand the proper application and interpretation of these test results.

Leeb, T; Muller, E.; Roosje P.; Welle, M. Genetic testing in veterinary dermatology. Vet Dermatol2016. DOI: 10.1111/vde.12309