FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Genetic DNA Analysis
Fees and Payment
Genetic DNA Analysis
Why test my animal for genetic diseases?
Breeders will test for genetic diseases in animals chosen for breeding so as to select a breeding pair that will produce healthy offspring with low or no risk of developing a genetic disease. DNA-assisted selective breeding helps breeders control and improve the genetic health of their breeding colony with the eventual goal of eliminating genetic mutations causing health problems within a given breed.
Veterinarians will test for the presence of a mutation for a genetic disease in a sick animal to aid in providing a diagnosis, for prescribing treatments and to offer a prognosis.
How are the tests selected?
In the first place, a scientific research study must be performed to correlate the presence of a disease in a breed of animal to the presence of a specific DNA mutation in the animal’s genome. This involves a coordinated effort between geneticists in a research laboratory, veterinarians, breeders and associations. Once this work has been published in the scientific literature, the information is in the public domain and the diagnostic laboratories can set up tests for the particular disease in question.
What kind of a sample do I need to send to have my animal tested?
For DNA genetic testing for dogs and cats, a buccal swab is an excellent source of DNA. Many acceptable types of swabs are available, either in the form of a small brush or a cotton swab. We have found that brush-tipped swabs take a better DNA sample. These can be found wherever dental products are sold and can be purchased at a reasonable price. We recommend GUM® Proxabrush® Go-Betweens® Cleaners, WIDE format. Further information and instructions on taking a buccal swab sample can be found on the Labgenvet website: for dogs and cats. A blood sample (in an EDTA collection tube) is also a very good source of DNA.
For horses, cow and birds, a blood sample (in a EDTA collection tube) is an excellent source of DNA and is often preferred by veterinarians.
For the Paternity DNA test, a sample taken with a cotton swab is required (at least 4 per animal).
When can I test my animal?
You can do DNA genetic testing on an animal from a very young age. You can take samples from puppies/kittens as soon as you can identify the individual animal. Wait at least 30 minutes after the puppy/kitten has nursed. For an older animal, again wait at least 30 minutes after the animal has eaten before taking the sample.
Veterinarians testing a calf for the Freemartin condition can take a blood sample (in a EDTA collection tube) for DNA testing soon after the calf is born.
Does Labgenvet provide kits for testing?
Because materiel required for taking a DNA sample is now readily available, Labgenvet does not provide kits for testing. For information on which type of sample is best for the test required, refer to Labgenvet’s website, select the species of animal of interest, and follow instructions for taking a sample for DNA analysis: for dogs and cats.
Where are the tests done?
All DNA genetic tests for diseases and traits are done in-house at the Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics (Labgenvet), Diagnostic Services, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.
What laboratory methods are used for the tests?
Analysis is performed by extracting the DNA from the sample followed by PCR amplification of the DNA at the mutation site. Most samples are then sequenced using Sanger sequencing technology. The sequencing profile is then interpreted by an experienced veterinary geneticist. Sequencing provides an internal quality control for the analysis and is the gold standard for mutation detection. Results for mutations involving large insertions or deletions of DNA are interpreted on agarose gels.
Do you accept international samples?
Yes. For dogs and cats, buccal swab samples can be sent by regular mail.
What if the test I want is not listed?
If the test is published in a scientific journal, this gives credibility to the test and also allows Labgenvet to offer the test. Please contact Dr. David Silversides (email@example.com) to discuss the possibility of offering the test.
How long does it take to receive test results?
Once the sample is received by our laboratory, results are normally sent by e-mail within 5 to 10 working days.
How do I receive the test results?
Test results are sent by e-mail to the person requesting the test.
Is Labgenvet recognized by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)?
The Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is recognized by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as a DNA Testing Lab within the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal.
Does Labgenvet send results to the OFA?
Labgenvet sends results strictly to the person requesting the test. It is up to this person to share test results with the OFA or any other registry, club or person as desired.
Fees and Payment
What is the cost of a test and how do I pay?
This information is found on our website: Fees and Payment.