Canine FAQ's

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

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

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

A: DDC advantages:

• Special pricing

• Performing veterinary testing for over a decade

• Fast turnaround time, results 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 or polymerase chain reaction testing. First we isolate pure DNA from the cheek swab by removing all the proteins and other things that can be  found within a cell.

The DNA is then placed into a thermocycler along with fluorescent primers for specific “loci” or locations on the DNA, which enable the system to locate specific fragments of DNA. The  thermocycler is set to cycle through a certain number of temperature cycles. Throughout the cycles, the primer finds specific areas within the DNA that are repeated and amplifies those  areas. After the DNA has been amplified, it is in an ABI Prism Genetic Analyzer for capillary electrophoresis. In this process, the DNA loci are mapped and data on each is collected. This  results in a comprehensive “profile” of each individual. These individual profiles are then reviewed by a trained, experienced Ph.D.

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 on this question.

Q: For parentage testing, 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.

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.

Q: What kind of sample is needed?

A:    The preferred method is the buccal (cheek) swab but we are capable of testing on a variety of sample types. Please contact us for details on other sample types (blood or semen) & additional fees.

Q: Are DNA test results using cheek swabs as accurate as tests that use blood?

A:    Yes. 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. This is true for both canines and humans alike. There is no need to obtain blood to get an adequate sample of DNA..

Q: How long does it take to get results?

A:    For parentage tests, results are emailed within 10 business days from receipt of samples in our laboratory. For most inherited traits and disease tests, results are emailed within 5 business days from receipt of the samples (refer to the specific canine test page for details).

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 minutes (long enough that they do not have milk in their mouth when you go to swab them).

Q: Can I send dew claws 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 and handling or permits.

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

A:    Yes. If DDC’s kits are not available at the time you are collecting the sample, we suggest using cotton swabs (this is not available for the Dog DNA Breed Test). Click here for our Canine DIY-Collection Kit instructions.

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

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.