Hereditary Disease Committee

The Hereditary Disease Committee was formed as a comprehensive resource on hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions. This database represents a culmination of the work of the Committee, and is constantly evolving with advances in the field of veterinary genetics. 

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Many of the characteristic breed traits and common and rare genetic diseases and predispositions seen in veterinary practice are now recognized to have a heritable basis and have taken on an increasingly important role in veterinary medicine. Today, approximately 900 and 200 hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions are recognized in dogs and cats, respectively. Many are well characterized from clinical signs to the gene defect. Precise diagnostic tools have been developed to detect affecteds and carriers; specific treatments can be offered for a few of them, and genetic counseling with breeder clients can improve the health of small animals in future generations.
However, it is difficult for a clinician to keep up with the rapidly accumulating information on clinical genetics and the large spectrum of disorders and genetic predispositions. Thus, a readily accessible comprehensive resource that is up-to-date and practice oriented is needed for the veterinary clinician.


The World Small Animal Veterinary Association formed a WSAVA Committee on Hereditary Disease with the following goals:

  • Facilitate clinician diagnosis, treatment and control of hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions in dogs and cats, thereby improving the health of patients now and in future generations.
  • Create a web-based information system on hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions, and also other genetic traits.
  • Focus on clinical information, such as clinical signs, course of disease, diagnostic tests, therapy and genetic control relevant to the clinician.
  • Include specific information from national and international organizations regarding guidelines in the future.
  • Provide and facilitate continuing education on practical and novel clinical genetic aspects at the WSAVA conferences and other international & national conferences as well as on the web.


Genetic Databases


Other Resources


Add a Publication

If you have any publications to add, please contact us at

Find de the current  list of publications here

Committee Members

  • Prof. Dr. Urs Giger, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Jerold Bell, Tufts University & private clinic, USA
  • Dr. Neale Fretwell, Waltham & Mars Veterinary, United Kingdom
  • Prof. Dr. Ake Hedhammar, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S
  • Prof. Dr. Claire Wade, University of Sydney, Australia

Tentative Listing of Scientific Advisors & Representatives:

  • J. Angles, Australia S. Little, Winn Feline USA
  • F. Smith, OFA-USA F. Nicholas, Australia
  • M. Inaba, Japan V. Martinez, Chile
  • R. Clipsham, USA C.K. Harper, South Africa

The committee is led by Dr. Urs Giger.


Please contact: Jeff Slutsky

Sponsors / Partners

Veterinary Information Network

The Committee greatly appreciates the support and assistance of Dr. Paul Pion, Dr. Linda Shell, and Christopher Olszewski of the Veterinary Information Network.


The WSAVA Committee on Hereditary Diseases is generously supported by a grant from Waltham.


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