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Barli’s Embark Vet DNA Results!

We received an Embark® Dog DNA Test for review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own.

As you know, we adopted Barli four months ago. Picked up alone as a stray, Barli’s background before he arrived at the shelter was a total mystery to everyone…until we took an Embark Dog DNA Test! This test not only checks your dog’s breed mix but also uses those 200,000+ genetic markers to run over 175 genetic health and trait tests on your dog so you can see if your dog is at risk or a carrier for many genetic conditions.  The test was very fast and easy to run, requiring just a cheek swab test that we performed at home. We sent in the swab and tracked the progress of the sample via online notifications…until we received word that Barli’s test results were ready!

Barli’s Health and Trait Results

The first portion of the test looks at Barli’s genetic makeup and how it could potentially impact his health in the future, both his own health and, if he were to be bred (no danger there!), the risk to his offspring. Fortunately Barli came through with flying colors:

Of the 165 conditions tested for, Barli is at risk for none–what a relief!

He is a carrier for one condition:

Barli’s a carrier for Canine Multifocal Retinopathy, a nonprogressive retinal disease. Since Barli can never be bred, of course, that removes that worry. We’ve sent the Embark report to our vet so he’ll know about this, though.

We’ll also want to let our vet know that for future blood tests that read liver health, Barli’s “normal” reading is actually below normal of that found on most dogs–so what’s in the normal range for most dogs would be high for Barli due to a mutation:

Barli has two copies of a mutation associated with reduced ALT activity. Please inform your veterinarian that Barli has this genotype, as ALT is often used as an indicator of liver health and Barli is likely to have a lower than average resting ALT activity. As such, an increase in Barli’s ALT activity could be evidence of liver damage, even if it is within normal limits by standard ALT reference ranges.

While we’re certainly curious about Barli’s breed mix, I know that’s really just the fun part of this test for our own curiosity. Barli is a purebred Barli, a one-of-a-kind little fellow who has so quickly become a special part of our family. But the genetic information that Embark provided us about Barli’s health is a goldmine for us and, with just a click, we were able to send it to our vet for Barli’s file!

Barli’s Breed Mix

And now the part you’ve been waiting for. We had so much fun seeing everyone’s breed guesses (many of which were our guesses, too.) But which breeds did the DNA show makeup Barli’s heritage? Drumroll, please…

We had a good idea that Barli was a mixed breed dog–but we didn’t realize just HOW much of a mix he is! Just as the shelter guessed, he’s mostly Border Collie but he’s a whole stew pot of other breeds as well:

Yep, along with Border Collie he’s everything from Chihuahua (?!) to American Staffordshire Terrier with so many other breeds in between. The Supermutt category stems from the fragments of DNA that are too minute to test but which they predict could be Cocker Spaniel and German Shepherd Dog:

The Embark test also checks for “wolfiness” which measures the bits of a wild heritage that may linger in the DNA; most dogs score under 1%. At 1.7%, Barli gets high wolfiness marks:

The test also provides a predicted adult weight, although the explanation shows that this can be off (as it is a bit in Barli’s case; at nine months now, he’s about 27 pounds).

Based on that DNA, Embark is able to construct a possible family tree for Barli:

And if you’d like to do a deep dive into DNA information, Embark even provides Maternal and Paternal Haplotype images and explanations to show how Barli’s ancestors came to this country:

We are so excited to get this peek into Barli’s past, both for the health results and for the breed results. A big paws up for Embark Vet!

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