To help companion animal owners find out more about inherited diseases, especially in their purebred dogs, cats and horses, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine offers the new Genetics Service.
Consultations, available by appointment through the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, will assist clients with diagnosis, which may involve pedigree analysis or DNA- testing, and genetic counseling. (The School's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory may assist with parentage testing or pedigree analysis.)
The new service is believed to be one of only two such programs in the U.S., according to Dr. Danika Metallinos, who will consult with clients, including breeders, and veterinarians. Metallinos recently completed the school's first residency in veterinary clinical genetics, reviewing cases in both large and small animal clinics. Her background includes a PhD in molecular genetics from Princeton University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UC Davis.
Veterinary clinical genetics requires a thorough understanding of basic genetics and up-to-date knowledge in a field where new DNA tests are being developed at a rapid rate.
Metallinos marries her clinical tasks with a commitment to research. "New knowledge gained in the study of genetically based diseases will vitally affect our ability to make diagnoses and manage cases for all companion animals," she says. Metallinos is presently carrying out studies on the inheritance of bladder stone formation in Dalmatians and a swallowing disorder in Golden Retrievers (megaesophagus). She is also investigating genetic diversity within dog breeds and genetic relatedness among different dog breeds. Metallinos explains, "Learning more about the particular problems of purebreds through research in veterinary genetics is very important, particularly to canine health as dogs have more inherited diseases than any other domestic species."
To make an appointment for a small animal patient, call (530) 752-1393; the large animal clinical appointment line is (530) 752-0290.
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is California's prime resource for information on animal-related health topics, including specialized veterinary medical care in the 27 services of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; ongoing studies in companion animal health, nutrition and genomics at the Center for Companion Animal Health; and genetics-based testing services and research at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.
Danika L. Metallinos