Campus Farm Cotons

MCPC registered, purebred Malagasy Cotons

Canine Genetics: Health testing and more!

A very brief overview

Why Genetic Health Testing?

Malagasy Cotons are a very health breed.  The MCPC closely tracks pedigrees and its Ethical Breeders are careful about tracking health, longevity, and inbreeding coefficients in order to make the best choices for our breed.  So, why test?


The short answer is that there are health conditions that can be "carried", which means that the dog could pass the trait to their offspring but doesn't actually "have" the condition themselves.  Without genetic health testing, health problems can seem to appear randomly in puppies when neither parent has the condition.  In those cases, pedigrees have to be closely analyzed in the attempt to narrow down whether the dam or the sire carried the condition.  The process is even trickier if both parents carried the condition, unknown to their owners.  Or, even trickier, perhaps the condition is one that tends to "skip a generation".  Think about how challenging it could become and how much time it would take to track several litters or generations to figure out which parents were carriers!  With genetic health testing, it's possible to know about carried conditions BEFORE breeding.

Which Company to Use?

We used the most comprehensive canine genetic health testing available through Embark Veterinary.


We also use the Institute of Canine Biology's Breeder Tool  and our dogs have received Institute of Canine Biology Genetic Diversity Certification.


The conditions tested for that are considered "common in the breed" (by both companies) are:


  • Bandera's Neonatal Ataxia (BNAt)- a neurological (brain and spine) disorder
  • Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 2 (CMR2, BEST1 Exon 5)- an ocular (eye) disorder
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM, SOD1 Exon 2)- a neurological (brain and spine) disorder
  • Primary Hyperoxaluria (PH, AGXT)- a renal (kidney) disorder
  • Multidrug Sensitivity (MDR1)- sensitivity to certain classes of drugs
  • Exercise Induced Collapse (DNM1)- a muscular disorder


Keep in mind that "common in the breed" doesn't mean that any particular Coton is likely to have the condition, only that it has been noticed to occur within the breed.  However, most databases are populated mainly with FCI and AKC Coton de Tulear genetic health samples because there are so many more of those in the world than our even rarer, Malagasy Coton de Tulear lines.  Therefore, the MCPC and its breeders have closely tracked health within our lines, so conditions considered "common" within the more widely available Coton de Tulear lines often do not appear among MCPC Cotons.


We can't make a recommendation about which genetic health testing company to use because the tests that each offers changes frequently.  So, at any point in time, one or another may be testing for more conditions and then the others also begin to test for that and more.  (Note that not all companies will "update" your genetic health results when they add new tests for additional conditions- you may have to purchase an "upgrade".)  But,we can say that most are testing for similar sets of conditions and that you should compare the price and depth of the testing to make your decision- using any of the reputable companies is much better than not testing at all.  The only caution is to make sure that you are doing "health" testing, not "breed" testing.  The breed tests are just for ancient ancestry of your dog and usually don't include very comprehensive health testing.  So, make sure you are actually purchasing a "genetic health test"!  If you're a breeder, then the "breeding tool" associated with each company's genetic health testing options may be another factor worth considering.  Depending on your requests, we may offer a comparison of the tools at some point.


Lastly, you'll want to know that most of the companies take about 6+ weeks to deliver your results.  So, patience is a virtue!


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Breed Info