Mars Veterinary to Enhance the Genetic Health of Purebred Dogs with New Optimal Selection DNA Test

Mars Veterinary to Enhance the Genetic Health of Purebred Dogs with New Optimal Selection DNA Test

March 09, 2016 01:06 PM Eastern Standard Time

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mars Veterinary, pioneers in canine genetic testing, have launched a new test for breeders, under the Optimal Selection™ brand Powered by Genoscoper®. Developed in partnership with Genoscoper Laboratories® of Finland — a company specializing in highly-developed DNA testing for companion animals — it is the most comprehensive test of its kind. Together, Genoscoper and Mars Veterinary are hoping to enable proactive and sustainable breeding programs by providing breeders with a more comprehensive view of each dog's unique genetic health and well-being.

"This kind of tool enables veterinarians to proactively identify diseases in their patients and assist breeders to gain objective information about the dogs in their breeding program. Ultimately it helps them to make informed choices and reduce the likelihood of producing puppies with preventable genetic diseases."
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The new Optimal Selection™ test includes testing for almost all known genetic mutations causing inherited canine diseases; traits such as size and coat color; and genetic diversity. The results reporting system allows breeders and veterinarians to review a dog's extensive health analysis all on one easy-to-use and share online portal. This same reporting system features the Breeder Tool that enables the identification of potential mates based on a health results score for compatibility.

"We are very excited to be working with Genoscoper on the new Optimal Selection™ breeder test," says Neale Fretwell, Ph.D., General Manager of Mars Veterinary. "Our hope is that through this advanced testing, breeders will be able to increase their breed's genetic diversity, while keeping unwanted diseases out of the future generations. Our aim is to provide breeders with the tool to enable smarter and more sustainable breeding decisions through genetics."

Many dog breeds carry severe inherited conditions or have a low level of genetic diversity resulting from small gene pools. Thanks to significant advances in the field of canine genetics during the last decade, DNA testing now offers important tools for breeders to maximize the health and longevity of their programs. The new Optimal Selection™ test provides breeders with a tool that bundles together the findings of various university research groups into a collection of over 125 mutation screens for each dog. Just as in humans, comprehensive DNA testing is an important part of the trend toward predictive, preventive, and personalized healthcare for dogs.

Health testing in dogs used to mean taking radiographs of joints, looking in eyes and listening to hearts. Breeders and veterinarians had to rely on these basic subjective tests to determine if the dog was a viable breeding candidate. Fast-forward to 2016 and the new tools available to screen dogs for inherited diseases and phenotypic traits have improved dramatically.

"The mutations linked to hundreds of inherited diseases and the genes associated with specific phenotypic traits have been identified and can easily be screened for in one test panel," describes Dr. Milan Hess, DVM, MS, reproductive veterinary specialist and member of the Scientific Review Committee of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. Many inherited diseases do not become apparent until the dogs are older and may have already had litters. For this reason, inherited diseases persist in the canine population and can even increase within a breed if a popular sire happens to be affected with a late onset genetic disease and the mutation is being repeatedly passed down. "This kind of tool enables veterinarians to proactively identify diseases in their patients and assist breeders to gain objective information about the dogs in their breeding program. Ultimately it helps them to make informed choices and reduce the likelihood of producing puppies with preventable genetic diseases."

The Optimal Selection™ test is now available to breeders in the U.S. via the Mars Veterinary web site. For more detailed test information or to purchase, visit www.WisdomPanel.com or contact Mars Veterinary Customer Service at 888-597-3883, or customercare@marsveterinary.com.

About Mars Veterinary

Mars Veterinary is a business unit of Mars Petcare, the U.S. operations of the world's largest pet care company at the privately-held Mars, Incorporated. Its mission is facilitating responsible pet care by enhancing the well-being and relationship between pets, pet owners and veterinarians through valuable insights into pets as individuals. For nearly a decade Mars Veterinary has researched and developed state-of-the-art genetic tests for mixed-breed dogs, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By discovering a mixed-breed dog's ancestry, pet owners and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of a mixed-breed dog. For more information, visit www.wisdompanel.com.

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' first roots as a confectionery company.  In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of  building a business based on the objective of creating a "mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders" this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

Mars brands include: Petcare PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN™, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT™, BANFIELD™ Pet Hospital, WISDOM PANEL™ and NUTRO™; Chocolate M&M'S™, SNICKERS™, DOVE™, GALAXY™, MARS™, MILKY WAY™ and TWIX™; Wrigley DOUBLEMINT™, EXTRA™, ORBIT™ and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES™ and STARBURST™ candies, and ALTOIDS™ and LIFESAVERS™ mints.  Food  UNCLE BEN'S™, DOLMIO™, EBLY™, MASTERFOODS™, SEEDS OF CHANGE™ and ROYCO™; Drinks ALTERRA™, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.™, KLIX™ and FLAVIA™; Symbioscience COCOAVIA™

For more information, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/mars (https://www.facebook.com/mars), twitter.com/marsgloba (https://twitter.com/marsglobal)l, youtube.com/mars (https://www.youtube.com/user/Mars), linkedin.com/company/mars (https://www.linkedin.com/company/mars).

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Contacts
Mars Veterinary Customer Service
888-597-3883
customercare@marsveterinary.com.

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