The future is now with genetic testing
Dr Matthew McGlasson describes Basepaws' genetic testing kits and the role they play in offering today’s pet parents the individualized care they seek for their beloved animals
This content is sponsored by Basepaws.
At the Fetch dvm360® Conference in San Diego, California, Matthew McGlasson, DVM, CVPM, chief medical officer at Noah's Ark Animal Clinics, explained how Basepaws canine and feline genetic testing kits offer a proactive approach to healthcare and are evolving veterinary medicine while addressing pet parents’ current needs. “You’re going to see a common theme throughout this presentation of moving from reactive medication to proactive medication,” he told attendees.1
Serving today’s pet parents
McGlasson first delved into how genetic testing can help strengthen the human-animal bond and how today’s pet parents are closer to their animals than ever before. In fact, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute revealed 95% of pet owners surveyed in the US consider their pets an important part of their family.2 Along with this, people are more than willing to spend money on their pets, with approximately $124 billion spent on pet products in 2021.3
With pet owners having such a focus on their pets, veterinarians must ensure they are providing services that meet their needs. “What we used to provide 10, 20 years ago that just doesn't cut it anymore…so it's really up to us to deliver the care with the most up to date information that we have…what we're really coming to is early detection,” said McGlasson. This is where genetic testing comes into play.
How it works
Basepaws offers affordable, easy-to-use genomic testing kits for veterinarians that provide a comprehensive, predictive picture of a pet’s current health, and more importantly, risk factors for future conditions. You set up an account in its veterinary portal, then simply use the swab provided in the kit to swab a pet’s cheek, place it in an envelope, and drop it in the mail for the team to perform lab work. They will notify you of the pet’s breed[s] and any genetic markers indicating a pet is at risk for a certain disease via the portal within 4 to 6 weeks. “Some of the things we're going to be checking for [through the test include] bleeding disorders, fatal disease, dental disease, neurologic disorders, metabolic disorders, heart disease, kidney disease. Obviously, the specific diabetic cardiomyopathy marker, polycystic kidney disease in some of our cats,” shared McGlasson.
The results will also include actionable next steps. “They give you diagnostic and treatment considerations like with this condition, you might want to consider doing this test, this test, and this test… you can interpret it and talk with your client about it and let them know next steps.” He highlighted an example, “If you have a cat that's high risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I would definitely want to see that cat more than once a year. And these candidates are happy to bring their cat in to be checked every 4 months, every 6 months. I would send this cat to a cardiologist…and depending on what's found with the cardiologist, starting medication early may be appropriate.”
McGlasson advised to do genetic testing as early as possible, during puppy and kitten wellness visits so pet owners can take preemptive approaches that will lead to big changes down the road. These tests offer the epitome of individualized care, according to him.
The human-animal bond
McGlasson said what fuels his passion for veterinary medicine is the human-animal bond, and concluded by stating that “[Genetic testing] could be really life changing. It seems like the future is here…If we're talking about the human-animal bond, the goal is to keep these pets with their clients longer, so this is how we're going to do it.”
- McGlasson M. How genetic testing can benefit your patients and your practice. Presented at: Fetch dvm360® Conference; San Diego, California. December 2-4, 2022.
- HABRI benchmark survey of US pet owners. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. 2021. Accessed December 6, 2022. https://habri.org/pet-owners-survey
- Pet industry market size, trends & ownership statistics. American Pet Products Association. Accessed December 6, 2022. https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp