ROCKVILLE, Md., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As millions of Americans take part in our nation's Census this year, one member
Mixed breed dogs account for more than half (53 percent) of all pet dogs in the U.S. Until now, their breed makeup has been largely guesswork. The National Mutt Census, conducted by the leading authority in dog DNA analysis, Mars Veterinary, will provide valuable insights into the background of the nation's mixed breed dog population.
"Understanding an individual dog's breed makeup is like understanding its family history – this information can provide an owner with valuable insights that strengthen the pet-owner relationship," said Dr. Angela Hughes, Veterinary Genetics Research Manager at Mars Veterinary. "We're also hoping a portrait of the makeup of the nation's mixed breed dogs will lead to broader insights – such as a better understanding of the prevalence of genetic traits and conditions among this population."
Mars Veterinary, a global leader in pet care and canine genetic breed identification and a division of MARS® Incorporated, is the industry's gold standard genetic analysis provider for mixed-breed dogs. Their Wisdom Panel™ Insights test – a "do-it-yourself" cheek swab test is the most comprehensive mixed breed test on the market, capable of detecting from among more than 170 breeds the make up a mixed breed dog with unparalleled validated accuracy.
Mars Veterinary is urging dog owners to participate in the National Mutt Census by logging on to www.muttcensus.com where they can take a brief five-minute Census survey, which asks them questions about the dog's size and weight, his feeding and exercise habits, whether he was adopted from a shelter – as well as questions about the dog's health. Census takers also will be able to learn more about how easily Wisdom Panel Insights can help them identify the breed history of their mixed breed dog. All participants will be entered into sweepstakes to win prizes for their dogs, such as a supply of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs or GREENIES® canine dental chews.
Valuable Insights into the Nation's Mutt Population
The findings of the Mars Veterinary National Mutt Census will be the most comprehensive analysis of the nation's mixed breed dog population ever conducted. Among the many insights it will offer, the findings may provide researchers a better understanding of the types and frequency of diseases among this group of dogs that could ultimately help determine health risk factors for certain breed mixes.
"Currently, there's very little data to show how genetic health disorders affect mixed breed dogs," said Dr. Anita Oberbauer, Professor and Department Chair at the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. "But working alongside Mars Veterinary to capture data through the National Mutt Census, we hope to get a better picture of how health concerns affect specific breed mixes that may eventually help owners and veterinarians be smarter about the way they care for pets."
The Science Behind Wisdom Panel
With a simple swipe of a cheek swab, the state-of-the-art Wisdom Panel Insights dog DNA test can determine the ancestry of a mixed-breed dog by testing for more than 170 breeds, the largest database on the market – all for the low price of $79.99. Within three weeks, dog owners will be e-mailed an official Ancestry Report that reveals the dog's genetic background that may help owners make sense of obvious and not-so-obvious physical traits plus behaviors like digging, herding and barking that all come from the various breeds in a dog's family tree. Once an owner understands a dog's natural tendencies, it makes it possible to create a tailored training, exercise and nutrition program to fit his one-of-a-kind needs.
Wisdom Panel canine DNA analysis tests are based on nearly a decade of extensive research, drawing from the expertise of leading scientists, veterinarians, universities and breed organizations throughout the world. This science has not only yielded the swab-based Wisdom Panel Insights, the most comprehensive swab product on the market, but also Wisdom Panel Professional, the only blood-based canine DNA analysis test available exclusively through veterinarians. Wisdom Panel development included the analysis of more than 19 million DNA markers from more than 13,000 dogs, enabling the detection of breed composition of a mixed-breed dog with unprecedented accuracy.
About Mars Veterinary™
Mars Veterinary is a division of MARS® Incorporated, a company known for innovative consumer and pet food brands that are trusted by people around the world. Its mission is to facilitate responsible pet care by enlightening pet owners and communities with valuable insights into their pets as individuals through innovative, science-based discoveries. For nearly a decade, Mars Veterinary has researched and developed state-of-the-art genetic tests for mixed-breed dogs, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By discovering a mixed-breed dog's ancestry, pet owners and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of a mixed-breed dog. For more information, visit www.wisdompanel.com.
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned company founded in 1911 and employing more than 65,000 associates at over 230 sites, including 135 factories, in 68 countries worldwide. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, U.S.A., Mars, Incorporated is one of the world's largest food companies, generating global revenues of more than $28 billion annually and operating in six business segments: Chocolate, Petcare, Wrigley Gum and Confections, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience. These segments produce some of the world's leading brands: Chocolate – M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare – PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR® and ROYAL CANIN®; Wrigley – ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food – UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks – KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – WISDOM PANEL™, SERAMIS®, CIRKUHEALTH™ and COCOAPRO®.
®/™ Trademarks © Mars, Incorporated 2009
SOURCE Mars Veterinary
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