Young couple sitting on the sofa with their white poodle and brown cat

Genetics

Biomarkers

Unlocking the pet genome

Since splitting from wolves more than 15,000 years ago, there are now over 400 recognized dog breeds in the world. Understanding the genetic building blocks of breeds, and gene mutations that have evolved over time, is paving the way for truly individualized clinical treatment for every unique pet. 

For many years, research was conducted like this: Notice a disease in Irish Wolfhounds; study that disease in Irish Wolfhounds and identify an Irish Wolfhound-specific genetic marker. But what if the disease is also found in Airedale Terriers? 

Now, access to the genetic data of nearly 3 million dogs through Wisdom Panel™ DNA testing is transforming how experts across Mars Petcare approach genetic research in veterinary care — with powerful results. 

Mars Petcare researchers are identifying blood clotting mutations that increase bleeding after surgery, as well as genetic sensitivities to medication that can have a vital impact on care decisions made by veterinarians and pet owners alike. They are learning about ancient genetic mutations that impact more pets, and newer mutations that are relevant in select breeds. Each test brings us closer to the next scientific breakthrough in pet health, helping improve the lives of pets everywhere for generations to come. 

 

The most accurate dog DNA testing in the world 

Researchers have spent two years developing Wisdom Panel™, Mars Petcare’s patent-pending breed detection system.  It’s more accurate than any other pet DNA test on the market.  

All of this means we can identify slight differences between even the most closely related breeds, with over 98% accuracy. 

dog-getting-swabbed-for-genetic-testing

There are many interconnected factors in how and why conditions show up differently across breeds. Studying these factors is helping us uncover which breeds are at risk for specific gene mutations and identify genetic markers that can be used to assess individual pets for risk of disease. This, in turn, can improve the clinical treatments provided to pets through veterinary hospitals, informed by the latest research with increasingly precise and holistic data that creates the foundation for individualised care.  

Even with all these advances, we’re at the very beginning of what’s possible. It’s exciting to be making leaps and bounds — all to help advance the health and wellbeing of pets.  

Each dog’s DNA is tested across: 

  • 21,000+ comparison samples 
  • 50+ countries 
  • 350 potential dog breeds (23% more breeds than any other test) 

 

Improving individualized veteerinary care with genetics

Without widespread genetic testing of pets, veterinarians often have to piece together clues and make assumptions around breed ancestry that might lead them down a dead-end path when treating a particular condition. 

Thanks to a partnership between Wisdom Panel and Banfield Pet Hospital in the US, every puppy enrolled by their owner in a Banfield Pet Hospital Puppy Optimum Wellness Plan® receives a Wisdom Panel DNA test. Since 2019, nearly 750,000 puppies have been part of this program. As a result, our teams have identified crucial information about thousands of pets’ genetic predisposition to potentially life-threatening conditions — empowering both veterinarians and pet owners. 

Learn more about how genetics can help use understand and love our pets better.