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Can you DNA test a deceased pet?Updated 3 months ago

With an increasing number of people joining us, we get more questions about the science behind our work than ever before. One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: "What if my pet passed away, but I still want to do a DNA test?" Here is what you need to know:

You need to be able to collect a viable sample.

In order to analyze the DNA of any organism, living or deceased, one must acquire a viable DNA sample. This is the crucial first step in obtaining a DNA test. But, what is a viable sample, actually? A viable DNA sample is a sample that contains enough DNA that is not fragmented or contaminated.

Most commonly, DNA samples from living pets are collected from buccal/cheek swabs and/or blood. Unfortunately, we do not test fur or hair samples. Basepaws employs the buccal swabbing method for DNA collection from living pets, as buccal swabs have shown to be the most efficient and accurate samples for DNA processing in the lab. 

Please contact us at [email protected] for more information about these alternative samples OR simply if you will be submitting a sample from a deceased pet. 

If you choose to submit an alternative sample, you will still need an unused Basepaws kit to send the sample to our laboratory. We will not accept samples without a Basepaws kit containing a unique barcode ID for registration. Please do not use multiple test kits for the same pet, instead, place extra backup Q-tip oral samples contained in a plastic baggie in the kit along with the Basepaws-issued swab.

If your pet's health is deteriorating at all, please collect backup samples using Q-tips at home and store them in a sterile plastic baggie in your fridge while the original sample is being processed. Basepaws will process one sample per pet at a time; our team will contact you if your pet's original sample happens to be insufficient.

To learn more about DNA and the science behind our DNA analysis please read our blog about Behind the scenes at Basepaws. Here you will find information about DNA sampling, extraction, sequencing and the Basepaws database.

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