General FAQs

Q: Why should I choose DDC Veterinary for my animal DNA testing?

A:    DDC advantages:

  • Special pricing
  • We’ve been performing veterinary testing for over 15 years
  • Fast turnaround time and results are emailed instantly
  • Exceptional service and follow-up
  • Powerful testing options

Q: How is DNA testing performed?

A: The technology we use most often is PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing.

  1. First, we isolate pure DNA from the cheek swab by removing all proteins and other substances found within a cell
  2. The DNA is then placed into a thermocycler along with fluorescent primers. These primers enable the system to locate specific fragments of DNA that are used for testing. The thermocycler “amplifies” the DNA, meaning it makes millions of copies so that the genetic material can be tested
  3. After amplification, the DNA “loci” (locations on specific genes used in testing) are mapped and data is collected for each locus. This is done using an ABI Prism Genetic Analyzer
  4. A genetic profile of the animal being tested can then be created, and the profile is reviewed by a trained, experienced PhD

Q: How long does it take to get results, and how do I get them?

A: We email results to you in a PDF file, which can then be downloaded and printed.

Canine inherited traits and disease tests and avian gender testing: Results are emailed within five (5) business days from receipt of samples.

Canine and equine DNA profiles, parentage verification, and feline PKD: Results are emailed within 10 business days from receipt of samples.

Q: Where do I log in for my results?

A:    We do not maintain an online database and all results are privacy protected. You are welcome to call or email to request a copy of results.

Q: How accurate is testing with cheek swabs? Isn't a blood sample the best way to test animals?

A:    We guarantee the accuracy of all our DNA tests. DNA is contained in both cheek and blood cells. With today’s advancements in technology, buccal (cheek) swabs are the preferred method for collecting DNA from skin cells inside the cheek. There is no need to obtain blood to get an adequate DNA sample.

Q: Do I have to take my animal to the vet to get a sample?

A:    No. All test samples can be taken at home, with minimal stress to your animal(s). We provide complete instructions on sample collection and are always available by phone or email to answer questions.

Q: I don't live in the United States. Can I still have my testing done through your lab?

A:    Yes! We have loyal clients all over the world. Our DNA-sample types are wonderfully stable and non-infectious, and therefore are easy to submit by mail or courier. The only test we cannot sell outside of the United States and Canada is the Orivet Canine Breed test.

Canine FAQs

Q: How can I ensure that I collect enough DNA?

A:    Rub the swab inside the dog’s cheek gently but firmly, and be sure to make good contact with the inside of the cheek. The object is to collect loose skin cells and not saliva.

Q: Can I test my dog to find out what breed it is or prove that it is purebred?

A: Visit our Dog Breed DNA Testing Page for more information about this question.

Q: For parentage testing, why should I send the mother’s samples if I already know she is the mom?

A: Having the mother’s DNA makes testing much more powerful. A sire may be falsely included if the mother’s sample is not used to eliminate her half of the DNA contribution.

Q: Can parentage testing be done without the mother’s sample?

A:    Yes. When the mother is not available, extended testing can be done to determine proper parentage. Keep in mind this does increase each dog’s testing fee as well as turn-around time for results.

Q: What kind of sample is needed?

A:    Our testing protocols are optimized for the buccal (cheek) swabs. Please contact us for details on other sample types (blood or semen) such as additional fees and turnaround times. We require prior notice when submitting these types of samples.

Q: Are DNA-test results using cheek swabs as accurate as blood samples?

A:    Yes. DNA is contained in both cheek and blood cells. With today’s advancements in technology, buccal (cheek) swabs are the preferred method and is performed by collecting DNA from skin cells inside the cheek. Cheek swabs are painless and non-invasive. There is no need to obtain blood to get an adequate sample of DNA.

Q: At what age can testing be done?

A:    Cheek samples can be obtained from dogs of any age, even newborn or nursing puppies. If pups are nursing, separate them from the mother for about 30-45 minutes (long enough that they do not have milk in their mouth when you go to swab them).

Q: Can I send dewclaws or docked tails?

A:    No. Cheek swabs are the preferred method and can even be collected on newborn pups. Cheek swabs are not a “hazardous material” and do not require any special shipping, handling, or permits.

Q: Can I use swabs that I have at home?

A:  Yes. If DDC kits are not available at the time you are collecting the sample, you are facing time constraints, or you are overseas, we suggest using cotton swabs (this is not available for the Dog DNA Breed Test). Click here for our Canine DIY-Collection Kit instructions. Please read the instructions carefully since improper samples can greatly delay testing and results. It is not necessary for them to be sterile as long as they are from a newly-opened package.

Q: What if swabs look dirty after I collect the samples?

A:    The dog probably had food or debris in its mouth when you swabbed it. Let the dog drink some water and wait about 20 minutes. Then try re-swabbing the dog with new swabs.

Q: If my dog has already been DNA-profiled through DDC Veterinary or the AKC, do I need to send another sample?

A: No. We can use our database to retrieve the DNA-profile information for dogs we have tested. You can provide us with the DNA ID number for that previously- tested dog and we will include it in a new parentage evaluation. There is a $10 fee to include each previously-tested profile in a new parentage-evaluation case.

PLEASE NOTE: If you want to include a dog that belongs to someone else, we need written permission from that party via email stating you may do so. Not obtaining this permission before submitting samples will result in delayed testing.

Equine FAQs

Q: Why should I send the mother’s sample if I already know she is the mom?

A:    Having the mother’s DNA makes testing much more powerful. A sire may be falsely included if the mother’s sample is not used to eliminate her half of the DNA contribution. When the mother is not available, extended testing can be done to determine proper parentage

Q: What type of sample is needed?

A: DNA testing is performed from hair samples collected from the mane above the withers. The DNA is contained in the root bulb (follicle). The hair from the mane of a foal may be fine and not have much of a root bulb. When collecting samples from young foals, collect hair from the tail instead where the follicle at the end is larger.

Q: If my horse has already been DNA-profiled through DDC Veterinary, do I need to send another sample?

A: No. We can access our database to retrieve the DNA Profile information for horses we have tested. You can provide us with the DNA ID number for that previously-tested horse and we will include it in a new parentage evaluation. There is a $10 fee to include each previously-tested profile in a new parentage- evaluation case.