With millions of mixed-breed dog owners in the US, having access to reliable breed ancestry information can be critical for the nutrition, training and overall health care of furry family members. Understanding the breeds that make up their dog enables much more targeted care and, in some cases, provides life-saving information.

Mars Veterinary is launching the next evolution of the canine DNA test — Wisdom Panel 3.0 — by expanding the breed screening coverage to more than 250 breeds, types and varieties including all those recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and providing potentially life-saving medical information with an MDR1 genetic mutation test.

MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 is a genetic mutation found in some herding and sighthound breeds, as well as many mixed-breed dogs. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion/elimination of many drugs used in dogs. Dogs with the MDR1 mutation may have severe adverse reactions to some common drugs. Although the mutation is most closely associated with some purebreds, it can also be found in mixed-breed dogs.

Therefore, it is important for owners of mixed breeds to test their dogs and to share the results with their veterinarian in order to provide their pet with the best possible care. The discovery of the MDR1 mutation in dogs was made by Washington State University. It is a patent-protected diagnostic test offered by Washington State University that has been licensed to Mars Veterinary for use in the Wisdom Panel tests.

“At Mars Veterinary, we’re always investing in ways to improve the value of our products for the consumer. We want to provide them with the best possible information to make informed decisions regarding the health and well-being of their four-legged family members. With the introduction of the MDR1 genetic mutation screening in the new Wisdom Panel 3.0 test, we’re confident we’ve made a real step-change in our ability to provide that level of information,” said Neale Fretwell, PhD, Mars veterinary general manager.

 Mars Veterinary launched its first test, the veterinarian-administered, blood-based Wisdom Panel MX in 2007. The Wisdom Panel 2.0, DogTrax (for shelters) and new Wisdom Panel 3.0 canine DNA tests are all based on more than 15 years of extensive research, drawing from the expertise of leading scientists, veterinarians, universities and breed organizations throughout the world. The development of the Wisdom Panel tests included the analysis of more than 19 million DNA markers from more than 15,000 dogs across the United States and Great Britain. As a result, they are the most comprehensive breed analysis tests on the market, detecting the breed composition of a dog with unprecedented accuracy using the Mars Veterinary’s proprietary processing algorithm.