Blood sample for genetic testing in dogs and cats should be taken by veterinarian.
Procedure of blood withdrawal for genetic testing:
- Use sterile needle for each animal.
- Withdraw 0.5 – 1.0 mL of non-coagulated blood into a test tube containing EDTA (violet top).
- Gently mix by inverting tube several times in order to mix anticoagulant and blood. Do not send coagulated blood because it is inappropriate for further analysis.
- Clearly label the tube (animal's name or sign, name of the owner, date of sampling).
- Store the sample in refrigerator (+4°C – DO NOT FREEZE THE SAMPLE). Send sample as soon as possible.
- Send sample together with order form in a cushioned envelope that prevents tube damage during the transport.
1. Preparation before sampling
- Animal intended for sampling should not eat at least 1 hour before sampling. This is important because it reduces the risk of contamination.
- Animal should be isolated from other animals, toys or other potential sources of oral contamination at least several hours (recommended at least one day). This prevents possible contamination of sample with biological material from other animals.
- Before sampling check the mouth of the animal for food particles or any other particles. If present, remove the contaminants by rinsing and wait for at least 1 hour.
- Person doing the sampling should avoid the contact of inner mouth of the animal. Use of latex gloves will reduce the risk of contamination.
- If more than one animal is sampled, the person doing sampling should clean its hands before each new sampling or if using gloves change them with fresh pair.
- Do not let the collection swabs to come into contact with any other surface other than mouth mucosa. If doing more than one sampling take extreme caution not to come into contact with material from other animal or its samples.
- Prepare a clean surface where you can put the sampling swab after sampling.
2. How sampling is performed?
- Use two collection swabs for each animal.
- Label collection swabs with animal's name or sign, name of the owner, date of sampling.
- Open the sampling swab – do not touch the end of the swab.
- Do not touch anything with the end of the collection swab apart from animal’s mouth mucosa or the inside of sterile packing.
- Hold the collection swab by the handle; insert the collection swab in animal’s mouth onto mucosa (between teeth and cheeks). USE ROTARY MOVEMENT TO RUB THE COLLECTION SWAB AGAINST CHEEK MUCOSA FOR 30 SECONDS. Press with your hand onto an outer side of the animal cheek in order to increase the drag of collection swab between cheek and gums. This will increase the yield of the cells needed for genetic testing.
- Let the swab to dry on air for a few seconds (do not blow into swab)
- Insert the collection swab into a sterile tube and repeat the procedure with the second collection swab on the other cheek.
- Insert both collection swabs and order form into an envelope and send.
3. Important notice
EVG laboratory, enables the analysis using buccal swabs because it is less invasive method. However there are some drawbacks to that method you should have in mind, before sending the buccal swab sample:
- Sample contamination: this is the most important factor that influences final testing result. DNA tests performed in our laboratory are extremely sensitive and are able to detect even minute amount of DNA that can come from contamination source (human or animal), thus causing erroneous results. It is thus vitally important that during the sampling this is taken into consideration and that contamination prevention is a top priority during sampling and subsequent shipping.
- Inadequate DNA quantities: It is possible that during the sampling inadequate amount of cells is scrapped from cheek mucosa. Inadequate amount of cells will result in inadequate amounts of DNA which can lead to reduced result reliability. In most cases it is caused by inconsistency during the sampling; however it can also be affected by animal’s restlessness or anxiety that can prevent sufficient friction between collection swab and mucosa of cheek and gums during the sampling. Some animals also have more saliva that can prevent cell adhesion onto a collection swab (cells present the source of DNA)
- Incorrect identification: in contrast to veterinarian clinics where control and identification of animals is performed by professional workers, buccal swabbing can be performed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is advantageous; however it can sometimes lead to incorrect identification of animal, therefore care should be taken during labelling of the sample and filing an order form.
In case we are unable to obtain adequate amount of DNA from buccal swab sample we will ask you for a blood sample. The cost in this case will not be double.
Sampling of buccal swabs in puppies younger than 8 weeks (before weaning) is not recommended due to the possibility of cross contamination between mother and puppies or puppies within the same litter. In case of receiving buccal swab sample from such animals it will be sender’s sole responsibility for a risk of incorrect results. We strongly advice to send blood samples from animals that are still suckling.
DNA bird sexing can be performed using feather, blood, blood card and eggshell samples. For virus detection we advise you to send blood, or blood spot on a blood card. Test success rate is much higher if samples are fresh.
How to take samples?
- Take 3 normally developed feathers from a pectoral part of the bird. Flying feathers of big birds, tail feathers, and feathers with broken sheaths are not appropriate for testing.
- Blood sample can be drawn by a vet into EDTA tube (20-50 µL)
- Blood drop using a blood card can be taken from a bleeding feather or a claw. Blood on a blood card should be dried prior to shipping.
Taking feather samples from smaller birds (Agapornis sp., Passeriformes, Melopsittacus...):
Open up the wings (picture 1) and pull out 3 fresh feathers (tertiary flying feathers) next to shoulder joint (red circle).
Picture 1. Bird wing and the place for taking feathers (red circle)
When taking feather samples you should be careful that feather pulp is intact (picture 2).
Picture 2. Feather pulp
Each sample should be stored in separate plastic bag or wrapped in aluminium foil. Ship samples as soon as possible or store them at +40C until shipping. Samples should be clearly marked. Please fill lab order form and send it with samples.