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  • Writer's pictureErin Schwartzkopf

How to Save Money on Vet Bills

Even if you want "just a pet"...

Did you know that there are genetic tests available for several of the diseases that affect our breed?

Did you know that this should be important to you even if you don't breed? Especially if you want *just a pet*.

Are you wondering why? Let me explain...

When you search for that perfect furry four legged addition to your home, you want something healthy, right? You want your pet to live a long, happy, active life, right? You want to avoid big vet bills as much as possible, right? This is why genetic testing is important to you.

We have tests available for Primary Lens Luxation (where the lens comes apart from the eye), Spino-cerebellar Ataxia (a progressive neurologic disorder), Degenerative Myelopathy (a neurologic disorder often misdiagnosed as old age), Neo Natal Ataxia (pups with this will not live to go to new homes so this is important for breeders new and old) and Hyperuricosuria (painful kidney stones that often need surgery to remove). SCA and DM are fatal. PLL and HU are very painful. These are the tests recommended for our breed. you know...what do you do with that knowledge? If you are in the market for a new dog/puppy, make sure the breeder is doing these tests...ask to see the test results of the parents. Don't just take anyone's word for it. This is the health of your dog we are talking about and breeders that refuse or are hesitant in sharing that information should be a red flag to you. Good breeders are happy to have pet owners take the health of their new dog seriously...and they will happily provide you with that information. You can also do some researching on your own by checking the Jack Russell Terrier Health Registry located at

But what if you already have your dog? What if your pup is now an adult and you didn't know to ask at the time? You can order tests yourself and there is no vet needed! These tests are done with cheek swabs...using the saliva from your dog. The only exception to this is the NNA test that must be tested on blood. But...why bother if your dog seems healthy? Because there is no way to know when any of these diseases might develop. If you know that your dog is at risk because of the DNA test, you can explore options with your vet for monitoring or proactive diet changes to help mitigate some of the effects. You can also prepare for the actions you will need to take when the disease does present...both emotionally and financially.

Tests are super easy to order and super easy to do. is the site to order PLL, SCA, and DM tests. is the site to order the HU tests. If you would like to test for NNA, you can find the sample collection, handling, and submission instructions as well as the test order form at and you can contact me for help or questions. You don't have to do all of them at one can do one per paycheck or one per month or one per quarter or one per year...however you are able.

Please note that PLL, SCA, DM, NNA, and HU are currently the only diseases found in the Jack Russell Terrier that we have tests for and these are the tests recommended by the Jack Russell Terrier Research Foundation.

Genetic isn't just for breeders. It is for the dog and it is important to you.

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