The WISDOM Panel MX is a blood test to tell you what dog breeds make up your mixed breed dog. From their brochure, the test: "Uses advanced genetic science to detect more than 130 American Kennel Club (AKC)-recognized breeds in mixed breed dogs."
I haven't considered making this service available to my clients yet, mainly because I don't see the advantage. Other than the "gee, whiz" factor, I can't perceive any way to use the results. The company line is that it "may offer insights about a dog's unique personality" or that it "may help veterinarians develop a care plan specifically tailored to your dog," but I'm not so sure I buy that concept.
The "personality" thing seems geared to blow up in your face. "Well, of course she (barks/bites/steals food/digs up the yard), after all she is a XXX mix," is just another way to excuse bad behavior, if you ask me. "Train, don't complain," people, and don't use a dog's breed, gender, or coat type to let them get away with misbehavior.
As for the "care plan tailored to your dog" concept, well, all I can say is "Hooey!" Yes, purebred dogs are genetically prone to certain diseases - cardiomyopathy in Boxers and Dobes, allergic dermatitis in West Highland White Terriers, hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia in Golden Retriever, eye and ear disease in Cocker Spaniels, etc. One of the benefits of being a mixed breed dog is "hybrid vigor." A mixed breed dog comes from a wider gene pool, because it has not been closely line-bred to get just the right top line or ear set or coat color. When you select for a specific phenotype (look) you also select for a specific genotype, and as well as bringing out the best in a dog breed, you may also bring out the worst genetic weakness. Good breeders screen their dogs to try to minimize these risks, but mixed breed dogs have done that job for us. So, knowing that Fido is a Golden Retriever-Australian Shepherd crossed with a Standard Poodle-Labrador mix doesn't mean he is any more prone to anything than Fluffy, who is a Shi-Tzu/Maltese/Cairn Terrier cross.
This has all been, as they say, my humble opinion. If you want more information, go to their website and read for yourself. www.wisdompanel.com
I would be interested in the opinions of mixed breed dog owners, though. If your vet offered this test, would you have it done? What would you be willing to pay for this information, and how do you think you would use it? I'd really like to know if I should be providing this service.
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Edit, February 21:
I have done a little more investigation into this test, and can update you a bit. The cost to clients is a suggested retail price of $150 (varies among practices.) There is a cheek swab test, as Kathy mentions, which is cheaper, however, it can detect only 30 breeds, not 130 as the blood test does. It may be this cheek swab test that was offered to people at Chrissy's shelter for $60. The blood test costs the vet's office more than $60, so I doubt the shelter could offer it for that price, unless the company was writing-off part of the fees as a donation.
I have always wondered about Holly's ancestry. She is supposed to be pure Labrador, but her lean body has me wondering if there is some Greyhound in her. Personally, I might pay $40 or $50 bucks to run this test on her, just for the fun of it.
Mostly, I agree with Sara and others - I would rather spend my money on preventative health care, like premium foods, parasite control, and wellness screening tests, and would council my clients to do the same.
Thanks to all who participated in this survey. You have validated my opinion that, while this test sounds cool, it probably isn't very important.