The one who investigates pet genomes
Oliver Forman, a member of our Puppy & Kitten Expert Board, is a geneticist specialising in companion animal genetics. Everything he does in his daily life is focused on improving the health and welfare of cats and dogs through the study of inherited diseases.
A scientist through and through, Dr. Forman uses his knowledge and experience in companion animal genetics and different genomic techniques to identify and help root out hereditary disorders in kittens and puppies. What does that mean to the layperson? Using the power of evidence-based science to provide a healthier start in life. That’s Dr. Forman and his team’s mission, and one that will help ensure the pets of the world start off on the right foot, even years before they are born. And that they keep going once here. While it is, of course, of the utmost importance that human babies get a good start, the time to maturity is far shorter for pets, making every day count even more.
With his love of animals instilled at an early age thanks to Jenny, a Golden Retriever and his family’s first dog, Dr. Forman can’t remember there ever not being a dog roaming the halls. So, after graduating with a degree in Biology, he went on to spend 12 years at the Animal Health Trust exploring canine inherited diseases. After gaining the afore- mentioned PhD, Dr. Forman joined Wisdom Health, where he helps the company develop breed ancestry genetic health tests for breeders and vets. As some breeds can be prone to certain genetic conditions, these genetic health tests can identify carriers of certain diseases within the animal population and subsequently prevent their pairing. This ensures that any kittens or puppies are born free of those genetic diseases.
“Everything we research is focused on improving the health and welfare of cats and dogs over the long-term.”
— Dr. Forman, Geneticist
Asked why he joined the Puppy & Kitten Expert Board, Dr. Forman had this to say, “Royal Canin has a great history of providing science-based nutritional solutions for pets, and is trusted by vets, breeders and owners worldwide.” He further explained, “With 18 years’ experience in the consumer genomics sector, I feel I can provide a unique perspective on the current landscape and opportunities that are available to contribute to their mission of a healthier start in life for cats and dogs.”
Given his specialty, we asked Dr. Forman what guidance he would give someone who intends to adopt a kitten or puppy. His advice? “Always use a reputable breeder or shelter that knows the subject area, has done all the necessary health checks, and has gone the extra distance to ensure those first few days and weeks of the animal’s life are as good as they possibly can be.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.