The future is now with genetic testing

This content is sponsored by Basepaws.

At the Fetch dvm360® conference in San Diego, California, Matthew McGlasson, DVM, CVPM, Medical Director of Noah’s Ark Animal Clinics, explained how Basepaws canine and feline genetic testing kits offer a proactive approach to healthcare and are making evolve veterinary medicine while addressing current needs of pet owners. “You’re going to see a common theme throughout this presentation of going from reactive medication to proactive medication,” he told attendees.1

Serving Today’s Pet Parents

McGlasson delved for the first time into how genetic testing can help strengthen the human-animal bond and how today’s pet owners are closer to their animals than ever before. In fact, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute revealed that 95% of surveyed pet owners 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

Since pet owners are so focused on their pets, veterinarians must ensure that they provide services that meet their needs. “What we used to provide 10 or 20 years ago is not enough 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 getting to is early detection,” he said. McGlason. This is where genetic testing comes into play.

How does it work

Basepaws offers affordable and easy-to-use genomic test kits for veterinarians that provide a complete and predictive picture of a pet’s current health and, more importantly, risk factors for future conditions. You set up an account on your vet portal, then simply use the swab provided in the kit to swab a pet’s cheek, place it in an envelope, and mail it off for the team to do lab work. They will notify you of the breed of the pet[s] and any genetic markers that indicate a pet is at risk for a certain disease through the portal within 4-6 weeks. “Some of the things we are going to review [through the test include] bleeding disorders, fatal diseases, dental diseases, neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, heart diseases, kidney diseases. Obviously, the specific marker for diabetic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease in some of our cats,” McGlason shared.

The results will also include practical 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 to your client about it and let them know the next steps.” He highlighted one example: “If you have a cat at 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 for checkups every 4 months, every 6 months. I would refer this cat to a cardiologist…and depending on what is found with the cardiologist, it may be appropriate to start medication early.”

McGlasson advised genetic testing as early as possible, during puppy and kitten wellness visits so pet owners can take preventative approaches that lead to big changes down the road. These tests offer the epitome of individualized care, according to him.

The human-animal bond

McGlasson said that what fuels her passion for veterinary medicine is the human-animal bond, concluding by stating that “[Genetic testing] it could really be life changing. It seems that the future is here… If we talk about the human-animal bond, the goal is to keep these pets with their clients for longer, that is how we are going to do it”.


  1. McGlasson M. How genetic testing can benefit your patients and your practice. Presented at: Fetch dvm360® Conference; San Diego, California. December 2-4, 2022.
  2. HABRI baseline survey of US pet owners. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. 2021. Accessed December 6, 2022.
  3. Pet industry market size, trends and ownership statistics. American Pet Products Association. Accessed December 6, 2022.

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