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Labrador TVD


embark labrador hearts project

Embark Veterinary’s mission is to end preventable disease in dogs. When our company was founded, we set out to build a database of canine genetic data that could be used for meaningful scientific research by inviting passionate scientists with expertise in population genetics and canine genomics to join our team. Since then we’ve added veterinarians, computational scientists, breed experts, and dog lovers from across many fields to join our team and help address some of the biggest challenges facing our four-legged best friends.

Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to Embark’s TVD research in Labrador Retrievers! Every sample makes a difference!

This project is moving to another phase and then Embark Veterinary is doing what we do best – being open and transparent in science, and engaging other research teams so combined work can have an even greater impact!

At this time we are not actively collecting samples. Please check back here as we will be posting more information and updates as available.

If you do have a Labrador Retriever with TVD, please fill out our Research Interest Form, as additional samples might be useful as the project evolves.

Labrador puppy, young Labrador, and adult Labrador life stages

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Other Ways to Help

If you don’t have a Labrador Retriever with TVD, you can still help with this important cause! Please consider the below options:

  • Help us publicize this cause by posting a link to this page on your social media profile, and tag “Embark”
  • Contact your breed club and/or other canine organizations and let them know about this study
  • Contact your veterinarian or health clinic and provide a link to this page

If you are organizing or attending an upcoming event with a canine health clinic, please contact us and we will provide information and materials that can be distributed at the event.


Our Commitment to the Canine Health Community

Embark is committed to keeping the canine health community informed about this initiative. Unlike traditional research studies where participants may not be informed about the ongoing status of the project or receive access to post-study publications, Embark will provide regular progress updates throughout the project, and release any publications via open-access sources. Visit this page often for updates on the project!

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About Embark

Embark’s team of experts is committed to investigating the genetic basis of canine disease and supporting the development of actionable tests to help address and prevent these diseases from affecting dogs around the world. We use research-grade genetic data and collaborate with dog owners and organizations around the world to collect a wide diversity of samples, support partner research efforts, and share our findings as widely as possible.  We are continually looking for opportunities to use our unique platform to make strides in canine health research.

Embark is a research partner with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and we focus on using research-grade data collection and analysis practices that are continually reviewed and updated to ensure the highest possible accuracy of findings. Embark uses a comprehensive canine genetic testing process that queries your dog’s DNA at over 230,000 genetic markers, providing you with the most accurate, actionable health results and enabling future research and discovery. Our mission is to end preventable disease in dogs while providing dog owners with valuable insights into their dog’s genome.

Embark made the first discovery in non-human direct to consumer genomics, and has completed numerous research projects that benefit a wide variety of breeds. To learn more about our research process and other initiatives, click here.

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What is Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD)?

  • TVD is a heritable, congenital malformation of the tricuspid valve. 
  • The valve function is to block backflow between the right atrium and ventricle. 
  • TVD can range from mild and nearly asymptomatic to severe.
  • Extreme cases can result in exercise intolerance, lethargy, and eventually congestive heart failure. 
  • Definitive diagnosis of TVD requires an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) by a board certified veterinary cardiologist. 
  • TVD primarily affects  large breed dogs estimated to occur at a rate of 2-7% in the population (Tidholm, 1997; Oliveira et al. 2011; Schrope, 2015). 
  • Researchers at UC Davis have found that Labradors are one of the commonly affected breeds diagnosed with this heart condition.
  • TVD is believed to be an autosomal dominant trait with incomplete penetrance.  

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