DNA testing for domestic cat diseases and appearance traits is a rapidly growing asset for veterinary medicine. Approximately 33 genes contain 50 mutations that cause feline health problems or alterations in the cat's appearance. A variety of commercial laboratories can now perform cat genetic diagnostics, allowing both the veterinary clinician and the private owner to obtain DNA test results. DNA is easily obtained from a cat via a buccal swab with a standard cotton bud or cytological brush, allowing DNA samples to be easily sent to any laboratory in the world. The DNA test results identify carriers of the traits, predict the incidence of traits from breeding programs, and influence medical prognoses and treatments. An overall goal of identifying these genetic mutations is the correction of the defect via gene therapies and designer drug therapies. Thus, genetic testing is an effective preventative medicine and a potential ultimate cure. However, genetic diagnostic tests may still be novel for many veterinary practitioners and their application in the clinical setting needs to have the same scrutiny as any other diagnostic procedure. This article will review the genetic tests for the domestic cat, potential sources of error for genetic testing, and the pros and cons of DNA results in veterinary medicine. Highlighted are genetic tests specific to the individual cat, which are a part of the cat's internal genome.
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