Paw Print Genetics, a division of Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc., is an incredible organization that aims to improve canine genetic health by offering dog owners, trainers, breeders, veterinarians, and so on the resources they need to take better care of their pets. We spoke to Maximilian Lorbiecki to find out more about their mission and its challenges. Read our Maximilian Lorbiecki interview below!
1. What is your biggest motivation to keep doing your work?
Working in this area of canine health, I have a lot of opportunities to work one-on-one with our clients and their dogs. Our clients are made up of individuals including breeders, pet owners, veterinarians, club leaders, and representatives of canine organizations. Regardless of their profession, all our clients are united around the mission to not only be proactive with their dog’s health, using genetics as a tool to understand what health issues their dogs may be predisposed to, but to also develop a foundation for and actively breed continuing generations of healthy dogs.
My motivations are rooted in helping these clients achieve their mission, whether that mission takes the form of working with organizations to improve the standards of assistance dogs that will support individuals with disabilities, or working with an individual breeder who just wants the healthiest life for their dogs. With genetics gaining more relevance within the canine community, I am motivated by the opportunity to help connect others to the resources, information, and services they need to breed healthier dogs.
2. A few bits of advice on keeping our pets as healthy as possible?
The knowledge gained from canine genetic testing gives the individual a greater knowledge about their dog’s health and an opportunity to be active and proactive in handling the health concerns that may arise. My biggest tip for keeping pets as healthy as possible using the information gained from testing, is to understand which diseases can be mitigated through treatment, preparation, etc., and take the steps to do so.
For example, some tests will reveal that a dog has a lowered ability to absorb vitamins into its system due to the inability to produce an adequate number of proteins. This can cause the dog to be lethargic, unable to gain appropriate weight, and reduce muscle mass. Knowing that your dog is affected with this disease, an individual can work with their veterinarian and add vitamin supplements to the dog’s diet in order to combat these issues. Another example is that some tests reveal that a dog has a sensitivity to various ingredients in common canine medications, such as ivermectin found in deworming medications. This information gives the owner the knowledge to navigate away from medications that could inadvertently cause their dog to get sick or pass away.
The results gained from genetic testing can be confusing, so my biggest tip is to call the laboratory that completed the testing and ask to speak to a geneticist about your results. Our laboratory has PhD geneticists available for genetic consultation specifically for the purpose of educating individuals on what the results mean and how they apply to your dog.
3. What are the most challenging aspects of dealing with ill pets?
The most challenging part of working with pets that have genetic diseases is sometimes not having the ability to take any steps to relieve the symptoms caused by the disease. In some instances, dogs are revealed to be affected by various diseases that may cause late onsite blindness or episodic seizures. In these cases, where there are no treatments for the symptoms, owners are sometimes left feeling that not knowing would have been better. It is hard to explain to the owners that despite these diseases, they can still enjoy their time with their dog, and in some cases at least, prepare themselves to better care for a dog with symptoms such as blindness.
4. In your opinion, is it important to play with pets? Why?
It is very important to play with your pet throughout the various stages of its life. At a young age, playing with puppies can help develop foundational habits that will impact how the puppy will play later in its life. These include an understanding of what items are toys and what items are not, what ways are appropriate ways to play, and how to interact with others when playing (socialization). As a dog gets older, play allows a dog to not only get the exercise it might need, but to also relieve some of the built-up anxiety or stress that could lead to behavioral problems in the dog. Play time allows an owner and their dog to build a fun and healthy relationship.
If this interview has sparked your interest in the work that Paw Print Genetics do, follow them on social media. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter. What do you do to keep your pet healthy and happy? Share your tips down below!