The Genetic Age Test is designed to determine the biological age of the dog and will also give insight into the predicted longevity of the dog from a cellular level and will help to see how healthy the dog actually is. In humans our genetic age can differ from our chronological age - genetically, we could be either younger or older than our actual chronological age, based on our individual genetics and our lifestyle. find out more at www.muttmix.co.za
Genetic Age Test - What is this and what does it tell us
There are many of us that have am absolute passion for our dogs and consider them as part of our families. As such, most of us love to find out as much about them as we can, ranging from determining what breeds our cross breeds are, what makes them tick, what our purebred is bred for, behaviour quirks, and in general, finding out anything we can to enable us to make our 4 legged best friends' life as good as possible.
In addition to the standard DNA test, a newer innovation is the dog age test, and we now have The Genetic Age Test.
So, what is a Genetic Age Test and what can it tell us?
First of all, let's look at our dogs ages in general - these are split into the following:-
This is our dog's actual age, and if you know when your dog was born, of course this gives your their actual age.
If you do not know your dog's chronological age, then you will be looking at the approximate biological age - unfortunately not accurate.
Vets and shelters use this method to try and determine an estimate of how old a dog actually is - here is what they will look for:-
- Teeth - When you are looking at a puppy you will see how many of the teeth have actually come through. A pups' deciduous incisors come through ab about 4 - 6 weeks of age, and once the baby teeth start to fall out, the permanent incisors are in place between 12 - 16 weeks of age. The canine teeth start to emerge at about 3 - 5 weeks of age, and the permanent canines by 12 - 16 weeks. By the time the permanent molars come through, you are looking at a dog that is about 4 to 6 months of age. So, by 6 months of age, all the permanent teeth are visible and much harder to work out how old the dog is.
In an article we read, it was said that many vets and dog professionals will attempt to gauge the age by the amount of wear on the teeth. As the article said, really not a measure as you could have two dogs of the same approximate age, and only one of them chews on hard objects which wears the teeth down more, whereas the other dog does not - in this case, the dog that chews could appear to be older than the other dog that does not chew!
Where teeth are concerned, dental disease, any tooth loss, any periodontal disease, and the accumulation of dental tartar (which normally increases with age). This is also no accurate estimate of the dogs age, as small dogs, for example, tend to accumulate more tartar when young, especially if fed a soft diet, and some dog dogs tend to be virtually tartar free most of their lives.
In a purebred dog, it is more likely to get a more accurate age, as the baseline for these markers is known, as opposed to a cross breed.
- Eyes - If the pupils appear to be a bit cloudy, it could be a sign of lenticular sclerosis - this is an age-related condition that causes the lens to become slightly opaque. This hardly affects vision the majority of the time, and is not a cataract, which it completely different.
Take a good peek into your pup’s eyes. Do the pupils seem a little cloudy? This is a sign of lenticular sclerosis, an age-related phenomenon that causes the lens to become diffusely hazy or opaque, though it only minimally affects vision.
- Body Shape and Coat - A pup will lose its puppy coat at approximately 4 to 6 months of age, although this can vary tremendously depending on the breed. In some breeds the coat will start to change at about 3 months, while with other breeds it only occurs at approximately a year of old and changes in texture and colour can be noted. If it is a purebred, then of course easier to establish, based on the norm for the breed.
The vet, or canine professional will also run their hands over the dog to see if there any fat pads or muscle wastage, or if the back is swayed at all,, which can also give an indication of the age, especially an older dog.
Genetic Age - The Genetic Age Test is designed to determine the biological age of the dog and will also give insight into the predicted longevity of the dog from a cellular level and will help to see how healthy the dog actually is. In humans our genetic age can differ from our chronological age - genetically, we could be either younger or older than our actual chronological age, based on our individual genetics and our lifestyle. If your dog is aging more than it should be, changes can be brought in via diet, mental and physical aspects, reduction of any stress, to help to prevent potential health conditions that may be brewing, that may not be expected at the chronological age.
The Genetic Age Test is performed by measuring the length of your dog’s telomeres, the dynamic, protective caps on the ends of r DNA strands that tend to shorten with age. The test measures your dog’s Telomere length, and this is processed through the Canine Genetic Age database of thousands upon thousands of dogs which match your dog’s Weight/Size Group as well as Breed. Your dog’s telomere length is matched to determine your dog’s actual genetic age.
What is crucial to undertake the Genetic Age Test, is that the breed of the dog MUST be known i.e., you have already done a Muttmix test OR it was from a breeder with verified breeds.
If you would like to find out the Genetic Age of your dog and help to prevent any potential problems if the chronological age and genetic ages are different, please do contact us at Muttmix, for more information.