Genetic Origins of Canine Hip Dysplasia Evaluated in Validation Study

Research highlights complex genetic architecture of canine hip dysplasia, validating more than twenty previously-identified genetic risk variants

VANCOUVER, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wisdom Health Genetics, the world leader in pet genetics and maker of the WISDOM PANEL™ dog DNA test, announced today the publication in BMC Genomics of a study conducted in partnership with the University of Helsinki.

The study—An across-breed validation study of 46 genetic markers in canine hip dysplasia—confirms that canine hip dysplasia has a complex genetic origin.

Canine hip dysplasia is a common, painful health condition that affects many different dog breeds. Hip dysplasia is believed to result from both environmental and genetic factors; however, its genetic background has largely remained a mystery.

“There has been significant effort to uncover the genetic variants causing canine hip dysplasia, but validation and replication of the results have been difficult for a variety of reasons such as inadequate sample size or complex or inaccurate phenotypes,” said Jonas Donner, Ph.D., Discovery Manager at Wisdom Health Genetics. “For this study, we were able to leverage an extensive sample size, helping partially solve this validation issue and set us on a path for future discoveries related to canine hip dysplasia.”

Researchers at University of Helsinki and Wisdom Health Genetics examined genetic samples from a cohort of more than 1600 dogs across ten different breeds. The study validated more than 20 previously-identified genetic regions across 14 chromosomes associated with canine hip dysplasia; while 20 of the loci were associated with specific breeds, one locus was associated across all ten breeds in the study.

According to Lea Mikkola, who conducted this research as part of her PhD dissertation, this study is one of the most extensive pieces of research into the relationship between DNA and hip dysplasia to date.

“Overall, these results indicate that canine hip dysplasia has a complex genetic architecture. Many genes contribute, and those genes are different in different breeds,” explains Mikkola.

Additional examination of the loci validated in the study will be essential in helping scientists and veterinarians alike understand the genetic pathways contributing to this debilitating condition.

“It is critical to look further into these validated loci in the future to find out the actual causal genes and variants,” said Professors Antti Iivanainen and Hannes Lohi, leaders of the research at the University of Helsinki, in the University’s news release about the hip dysplasia study. “It is not an easy task but could reveal insights into disease mechanisms and guide towards better care and treatment of this detrimental condition.”

The researchers recommend future validation studies to further understand the complex genetic causes of canine hip dysplasia, especially examinations within both specific and disparate breeds, and across various geographical regions. Additional studies to identify causal genetic variants can also help shed light on the molecular causes of the canine hip dysplasia and direct future diagnostic and treatment options.

About the canine hip dysplasia study:

  • Canine hip dysplasia is a disease commonly diagnosed in veterinary medicine. Dogs with severe canine hip dysplasia (CHD) sometimes also suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), which is an incurable inflammatory, painful condition.
  • Researchers categorized 1,607 dogs into groups based on the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) hip scoring system. They validated 21 genetic markers on fourteen chromosomes looking at 250 potential genes. The study found that the validated loci showed enriched genes in the neddylation pathway—a pathway contributing to cellular functions including inflammation.
  • Twenty loci were previously associated with canine hip dysplasia in specific breeds, and replicated in this study, while one locus was found to be unique to this across-breed study. This finding shows at least one locus relating to the manifestation of the disease regardless of breed, and suggests that there are several loci involved in canine hip dysplasia.

About Wisdom Health Genetics

The mission of the Wisdom Health business, a division of Kinship Partners, Inc, is to strengthen the bond between pets and their people through world-leading insights powered by DNA. Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA tests—backed by WISDOM HEALTH™ scientific research—can help pet parents plan better, care smarter, and love longer. For more than a decade, Wisdom Health™ scientific research has contributed to state-of-the-art genetic tests for companion animals, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By unlocking the secrets of their dog or cat’s DNA, pet parents and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of their pets. More than 7,000 veterinarians worldwide recommend and offer Wisdom Panel™ products. For more information, visit, and follow the Wisdom Panel™ brand on Facebook and Instagram.

About Kinship Partners, Inc

Kinship is here to help everyone pet parent like a pro. Why? Because our pets make us better humans, and we owe them the best possible care. As allies to pet parents learning on the job, we use our data, products, and services to help people be the best pet parents they can be. We unite changemakers in pet care to break down barriers, open new doors, share insights, and advance our collective knowledge. By reimagining the pet parenting experience and upping people’s confidence, we’re helping the world find better ways to care.

Our coalition includes our world-leading Wisdom Panel™ genetic health screening and DNA testing for dogs, the award-winning Whistle™ GPS dog tracker and health monitor, Pet Insight Project, our ground-breaking science stream that uses AI to turn billions of data points into actionable insights, and partnerships like our Leap Venture Studio accelerator that supports innovators and start-ups, to bring new solutions to pet parents. Kinship is a division of Mars Petcare. Learn more at

About Mars Petcare

Part of Mars, Incorporated—a family-owned business with more than a century of history-making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love—the 85,000 Associates across 50+ countries in Mars Petcare are dedicated to one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. With 85 years of experience, our portfolio of almost 50 brands serves the health and nutrition needs of the world’s pets—including brands PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO™, GREENIES™, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS™, and EUKANUBA™, as well as the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, which has advanced research in the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Mars Petcare is also a leading veterinary health provider through an international network of over 2,000 pet hospitals and diagnostic services including BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, VCA™, Linnaeus, AniCura, and Antech. We’re also active in innovation and technology for pets, with Wisdom Panel™ genetic health screening and DNA testing for dogs, the WHISTLE™ GPS dog tracker, LEAP VENTURE STUDIO accelerator, and COMPANION FUND programs that drive innovation and disruption in the pet care industry. As a family business guided by our principles, we are privileged with the flexibility to fight for what we believe in—and we choose to fight for our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.


Lesley Albert

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