UC Davis genetic mapping is going to the dogs | SierraSun.com

UC Davis genetic mapping is going to the dogs

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sunr. Bree Montana pulls blood from "Powder", a Siberian Husky on Thursday. The blood is being drawn for a purebreed genetics study at UC Davis.

From rescuing cats of Hurricane Katrina to setting up a local cat rescue, Dr. Bree Montana likes to use her veterinary practice for good, and her most recent venture will help dogs for years to come.

When the University of California, Davis, called Montana last week asking if she would help with two studies they are currently conducting, Montana jumped at the chance. As a veterinarian who practices oncology, she constantly calls UC Davis for help, she said.

“My family and I believe in giving back,” said Montana, who owns the Agate Bay Animal Clinic in Kings Beach. “If you reach out for help from UC Davis, they will help. Thanks to Davis, we have a great success rate.”

Now Montana is asking locals to assist UC Davis in their studies by bringing their dogs in to give blood to be used in genetic mapping.

One study by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis is seeking border collies with seizure disorders to find “the genetic site in which the disorder is located,” according to Montana. The goal is to identify dogs that may have seizures so owners can determine whether to breed them or not.

The other study will look at the DNA sequence of various dog breeds. All breeds of dogs are needed for this study, but the dogs must be AKC-registered and have an AKC number, Montana said.

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“The more we know about genetics, the more we know about diseases,” she said. “It is like genetic counseling for dogs.”

Montana said blood samples are needed from dogs who qualify for either study, which will not cost anything to the owner. The appointment will take only 10 minutes, she said.

One of Montana’s patients has already participated in the seizure study and Montana will use her three Siberian Huskies for the breed study.

“I think it is nice because Lake Tahoe is super dog friendly,” Montana said. “It is appropriate for us to participate in a big way in this. I think this is an exciting opportunity to help us understand dogs better.”

To participate in either UC Davis dog studies, contact the Agate Bay Animal Clinic in Kings Beach at 546-7522 to make a 10-minute appointment to have blood taken from your dog.