Genetic Superiority – Mutts vs. Purebreds

Like many veterinarians, I have long believed mutts have fewer health problems than purebreds.  The common sense basis for that belief is that the genetic pool is larger and thus should lead to fewer issues of the type observed due to inbreeding.  Well, a new study by the University of California Davis suggests this may not be true.

The June 1st Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the study.  Through examining 90,000 medical records of dogs between 1995 and 2010, it was learned that mixed-breed dogs succumb to 13 genetically based conditions at about the same rate as purebreds. 

According to the study, the chances of mixed-breed dogs and purebreds getting the following diseases are equal:  epilepsy, Addison’s, Cushing’s, hip dysplasia, mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, lens luxation and 4 types of heart problems.  Purebreds are more likely to suffer from the following diseases: atopy/allergies, bloat, cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, liver shunts and disc disease. Mixed-breed dogs have a great chance of cruciate rupture.  

Although the study looked at 90,000 records, we have to recall this is still a select population of pets seen at the teaching hospital.  Nonetheless, this is an impressive study based upon the sheer size of records examined.   

To learn more please see this link;  http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10613

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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