Frequently Asked Questions

Look through our most frequently asked questions to learn more about what we offer and how we provide you with the most comprehensive results.
If you can't find what you're looking for, don't hesitate to contact us.

Overview

  • Why test?

    Bringing a new puppy into the family is a financial and emotional investment. Whether you are a professional dog breeder or simply a careful buyer, a Canine Genetic Health Certificate™ from Paw Print Genetics can help you understand the potential genetic threats to your dog’s health. If you decide to breed, this information will help you select the proper mate to produce the healthiest puppies thereby increasing the value of your breeding program.

  • Who should test?

    If you are a breeder, prospective dog owner or someone looking for a highly trained dog for specific service work, hunting or the show ring, understanding your dog’s genetic health will help you make better decisions concerning your dog. A Canine Genetic Health Certificate™ gives you the confidence needed to invest in, breed, and train your dog.

  • Why Paw Print Genetics?

    Paw Print Genetics offers the largest selection of tests for inherited diseases. Our breed-specific panels offer a comprehensive service at a discounted rate, or choose only the tests you want. Our tests are economical and efficient, while using the highest medical standards in the industry. While your dog's sample is in the lab, you can track your order online and receive updates and alerts as the sample is processed. In addition to using the highest medical testing standards, Paw Print Genetics prides itself on having the finest customer support available. When we are in the office during normal business hours, we would be happy to talk with you on the phone or return your email in the same day. On weekends or holidays, we will get back to you within 24 hours to make sure we address your personal situation as quickly as possible.

  • Many of the words you use are medical terms. Is there a way I can look up these terms?

    Yes, Paw Print Genetics has provided a glossary of terms for you. When you find a medical term in our disease summaries, you can hover your mouse over the word and read the definition, or you can click on the word and it will take you to our glossary. If there are terms on our website that are not defined, please contact us and we can add the definitions to our glossary.

    Review the glossary.

  • How can I ensure the privacy of my dog's information?

    Your medical information is protected by HIPAA, an act of Congress that provides rules to ensure the security and confidentiality of your health information. Though there is no equivalent for dogs, Paw Print Genetics adheres to many of the same standards. After accurate and reliable genetic results, privacy should be the number-one concern of any laboratory. At Paw Print Genetics, we take your personal information very seriously and this includes the genetic results of your dogs. We have a strict internal privacy policy that instructs our employees on how personal information collected on our website or obtained through testing of your dogs is handled. This information belongs to the person who ordered and paid for the test. The dog’s laboratory results can only be communicated to the person who ordered the test. In most cases it is the owner or breeder. In other cases, it may be a veterinarian. When a person calls our laboratory and wants to discuss a dog's result, we first verify that it is the individual that ordered the test. If it is not the individual that ordered the test, we require a medical release form to be signed by that original customer, releasing the information to the third party. It’s that simple. We will not release your dog’s information to a third party without your written consent. If you have any concerns about our Privacy Policy, please contact us.

  • Do you submit my results to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or other registries?

    Paw Print Genetics has a strict privacy policy and does not share your data with any third party without your permission.  In keeping with this policy, we do not submit data to the OFA.  Please check the OFA website to see which laboratories that they accept specific tests from before submitting your request to them. If you do not see Paw Print Genetics on their list, please ask the OFA for clarification.  The OFA makes the determination regarding which tests they accept from each laboratory.  Once confirmed with the OFA that they accept our test results, print your Paw Print Genetics report, complete the OFA form found on their website and submit those with the required payment to OFA.  

    It is the responsibility of the customer to check with their breed club, their specific registry or with the OFA as to whether the testing they want to order from Paw Print Genetics is accepted for registration. 

Testing

  • What does Paw Print Genetics test for?

    Paw Print Genetics tests for a large number of genetic mutations associated with diseases or traits in dogs.  Through cutting edge technology, high quality, human grade laboratory standards, and decades of genetics experience, we are committed to providing services that will assist in protecting the emotional and financial investment that breeders and pet owners have in their dogs.  We do this by testing for a variety of preventable, inherited diseases and genetic traits such as coat color. In addition, we assist veterinarians in the diagnosis of suspected heritable diseases seen in clinical practice.

  • How does Paw Print Genetics select the tests they offer?

    Paw Print Genetics selects tests by researching current medical literature and using information from trusted sources that have identified particular genetic disease causing mutations.

  • When should I test?

    It is always best to test a dog before it is bred so that you are aware of any potential genetic disorders that it could pass to its offspring. We suggest testing as an ongoing part of your breeding program, before you invest significant time and resources into training a dog for specialized work, before buying a puppy, or if your dog becomes symptomatic with a potentially inherited disease. We have sample guidelines (https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/samples/) to assist you in testing a dog at any age, including puppies. Testing today can mean healthier and more productive lives for your dogs and increased value for your breeding program.

  • Can I test before my puppies are weaned?

    Yes, puppies can be tested at any age. However, if they are not weaned yet, we ask that you separate them from their mother for at least one hour prior to collecting a sample using a cheek swab. This is to ensure we get the DNA of the puppy instead of the mom's DNA. During this time, they should have plenty of water and should not be allowed food to avoid contamination of samples. Paw Print Genetics accepts many types of samples. Tissue samples such as umbilical cords and dewclaws allow you to get results on your puppies earlier than when you use a cheek swab. You can review all sample types and guidelines on our website.

  • Why should I order a panel?

    Panels represent those diseases found in a particular breed. Even though your dog or your dog's lineage may not indicate that some of these diseases are in the breeding line, most inherited diseases are silent and not recognizable in the carriers. Breeding two carriers together may produce puppies with disease. By testing for all the diseases in this panel, you can eliminate the chance that these diseases will be passed on to the offspring through selective breeding.

  • Does Paw Print Genetics offer discount testing?

    All of the breed-specific panels offered by Paw Print Genetics are discounted, as well as when you order multiple tests on the same dog. In addition, Paw Print Genetics offers discounts for multiple dogs and litters. View our current discounts.

  • Why are panels discounted?

    Paw Print Genetics feels strongly about the panel approach to disease testing. Many diseases are late-onset and dogs may not show symptoms prior to being bred; one cannot look at a dog and know if they carry a genetic disease that can be passed on to its puppies. Testing for all diseases that occur in a breed makes good sense to those that are trying to eliminate genetic diseases from their breeding lines and produce the genetically healthiest puppies possible.

  • Does Paw Print Genetics do parentage or lineage testing?

    Yes, Paw Print Genetics offers both Parentage testing and DNA Profiling. You can review and order these tests here.

  • Where can I find prices for Paw Print Genetics' tests?

    Please click here for our current price list.

  • My bitch is pregnant. Will this interfere with the testing?

    Yes, we can test your pregnant dog and the pregnancy will not affect our genetic testing in any way.  In fact, it would be better to do it now, rather than after the pups are born and mom is licking them.  It is important to try to reduce contamination, so testing her right now would be ideal.

  • When is the best time to test a puppy?

    You can test them at anytime.  If they are not born yet, we suggest sending umbilical cords or dewclaws (if you usually remove them) or docked tails (depending on the breed). You can also send blood. These tissue types allow us to get started earlier in their lives. Otherwise, we suggest doing cheek swabs around 4 weeks of age or when the pups can be safely isolated from mom and sibs for at least an hour.  If you do cheek swabs, please have someone help you hold them and give them plenty of water during the 1 hour wait.

    For each swab, insert between the cheek and gum and press gently towards the outside, against the cheek.  Rub and roll the swab against the cheek for a slow count of 30-45.  This should collect enough cells for DNA extraction. Then repeat with the other swabs. Return all 3 swabs to the laboratory.  If you are shipping international, please send 4-5 swabs per dog.

    The mistakes that many people make are (1) not having someone help them hold their pup and (2) not staying in the mouth long enough to collect enough cells.

Sample Collection

  • How do I know you got DNA from my samples?

    If our laboratory did not get enough DNA from the swabs on your dog, the laboratory will call you. We will discuss options for obtaining a new sample when necessary.

  • How often do you not get the DNA that is needed?

    It is rare, but sometimes we need for you to do another cheek swab on your dog. If this happens, the laboratory will call you to explain the situation and discuss options for obtaining a new sample when necessary.

  • How can I ensure that I am doing the swabbing correctly?

    We include instructions in every kit. In addition, you can reference our blog Tips on Collecting a Swab Sample or watch our video instructions below:

  • Does Paw Print Genetics bank DNA?

    Paw Print Genetics does not offer DNA banking services. However, when you do your testing with Paw Print Genetics, any excess DNA not used for your testing is stored. This stored DNA can be used for future testing on any newly identified disease genes in your breed. Please contact the laboratory before ordering tests on previously tested dogs to make sure we have enough DNA for the tests you are requesting.

  • Can I test before my puppies are weaned?

    Yes, puppies can be tested at any age. However, if they are not weaned yet, we ask that you separate them from their mother for at least one hour prior to collecting a sample using a cheek swab. This is to ensure we get the DNA of the puppy instead of the mom's DNA. During this time, they should have plenty of water and should not be allowed food to avoid contamination of samples. Paw Print Genetics accepts many types of samples. Tissue samples such as umbilical cords and dewclaws allow you to get results on your puppies earlier than when you use a cheek swab. You can review all sample types and guidelines on our website.

Billing and Shipping

  • Does Paw Print Genetics provide kits?

    When you order, you will be given the option of obtaining swabs from us or obtaining your own swabs. For U.S. and Canadian customers, Paw Print Genetics provides one complimentary kit per dog to perform the cheek swabs. These kits are provided to you at no charge once you have placed your order. For customers outside of the U.S. and Canada, we ask that you provide your own swabs. Please see our guidelines and policy regarding acceptable swabs.

  • Can I track my samples on-line?

    Once you have set up an account and ordered your tests, you will be able to track your samples. For U.S. and Canadian customers, you can track your sample kit sent by our laboratory. For U.S. customers, once you have used the swabs on your dog and sent the kit back to the laboratory, you can track the kit to see when the laboratory received it. Once samples are received by the laboratory from any destination, a notification will appear in your on-line account. When your reports and Canine Genetic Health Certificate™ are completed and available, you can view or download them from your secure on-line account.

  • Does Paw Print Genetics pay for shipping of swab kits to customers?

    Paw Print Genetics offers a complimentary paid first-class shipping option to a single U.S. destination. We also supply one first-class shipping return mailer that can be used within the U.S. We ask that our Canadian customers pay for return shipping to our U.S. laboratory. For cutomers outside of the U.S. and Canada, we ask that you supply and ship your own swabs. For more information, please refer to our shipping policy.

Reporting

  • How long do results take?

    Once the laboratory has received your samples, it takes about 14 days for final results. You will receive an e-mail notification when your results are ready. You can access your results and download/print your reports from our website through the account that you created when you ordered your tests. If you need your results rushed, the most important step is getting your samples to the laboratory as quickly as possible. We are happy to try to rush your samples, but request that (1) if you request kits from us, you pay Express Shipping to get the kits to you as soon as possible, (2) you return the cheek swabs (or other sample types) to us within 48 hours of placing the order or receiving the kits and (3) use an overnight or 1-2 day courier service to send the samples back to our laboratory. Many times, we can complete your testing in less than 14 days but to receive the fastest turn-around time, we request that the customer returns the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible after the order has been placed for any rush requests. 

  • How do I know the results I receive are accurate and reliable?

    The disease tests that Paw Print Genetics offers are determined as a result of rigorous scientific analysis of specific mutations determined to meet medical diagnostic needs. Although there are no currently accepted laboratory standards and/or regulations that must be achieved in performing various required tests for canine genetic testing, Paw Print Genetics adopted all relevant human diagnostic standards based on clinical requirements by national or state agencies, including the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA ’88). Paw Print Genetics complies with those requirements as well as the scientific testing requirements to achieve quality products and services that are needed for the canine medical community. As part of our committment to high medical standards, we confirm that our test results are accurate and reliable by using two independent methods for each disease test we perform. In order to pass our quality control, each independent method must confirm the findings of the other.

  • What is a Canine Genetic Health Certificate™?

    A Canine Genetic Health Certificate™ is a document only available from Paw Print Genetics that shows the results for each dog tested. This certificate can be displayed in your home, added to your records, or given to the new owner of your puppy.

    See an example certificate.

  • What is genetic counseling?

    Genetic counseling is providing information on the chance or risk of genetic disease occurring in offspring. Genetic counseling can be provided prior to testing to understand which tests would be beneficial to you and your dog or breeding program. Genetic counseling can be provided after you get your test results to help you understand the implications for the dogs tested and how to improve your breeding program based on the genetic information received.

  • How do I receive genetic counseling from Paw Print Genetics?

    You may send us an e-mail with your questions or call us during normal business hours contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the help you need to care for your dog or select an appropriate breeding pair based on the genetics of your dogs.

  • Do I need to have testing at Paw Print Genetics in order to get genetic counseling?

    No, our staff is here to help you no matter where you had your testing performed. Be sure to have your reports available when you call us so that we have the information needed to assist you. The reports should have the specific genes tested and your dog's results. This information is essential for genetic counseling to be helpful to you.

  • What are inherited genetic diseases?

    Inherited genetic diseases are diseases that can be passed from parent to offspring through reproduction. Every dog has two copies of each gene (inherited biological blueprints); one copy from their mother and one from their father. Genes contain the information used to create and maintain cells of the body. Mistakes (known as mutations) that occur in genes can result in disease by disrupting normal processes of creating and maintaining these cells. Nearly every cell in the canine body contains an entire copy of the approximately 20,000 genes that interact with each other to bring about the physical traits that make an individual who they are. Genetic diseases can involve any system of the body and dogs can present with a wide variety of clinical signs depending on the particular gene and organ system involved.

  • What possible results might I receive?

    For each test, you have the possibility of receiving the following results: normal, carrier, or at-risk (affected).  Normal means that your dog has two copies of the "wildtype" or normal DNA sequence for the gene being tested.  Carrier means that your dog carries one copy of the "wildtype" sequence (normal) and one copy of the mutation.  For most diseases, your dog will not be affected with the disease, but simply a carrier.  Carriers can pass this mutated copy of the gene to half of their offspring and depending on the genetics of their mate, may produce at-risk or affected puppies.  An at-risk result means that your dog has two copies of the mutation and is at-risk for developing the disease. In this case, these dogs carry two copies of the mutation so that all offspring will inherit at least one copy of the mutation and depending on its mate, is at high-risk of producing affected puppies.

  • Do you submit my results to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)?

    Paw Print Genetics has a strict privacy policy and does not share your data with any third party without your permission.  In keeping with this policy, we do not submit data to the OFA.  Please check the OFA website to see which laboratories that they accept specific tests from before submitting your request to them. Ifyou do not see Paw Print Genetics on their list, please ask the OFA for clarification.  The OFA makes the determination regarding which tests they accept from each laboratory.  Once confirmed with the OFA that they accept our test results, print your Paw Print Genetics report, complete the OFA form found on their website and submit those with the required payment to OFA.  

  • Is it possible to get faster results if I'm in a hurry?

    Once the laboratory has received your samples, it takes about 14 days for final results. You will receive an e-mail notification when your results are ready. You can access your results and download/print your reports from our website through the account that you created when you ordered your tests. If you need your results rushed, the most important step is getting your samples to the laboratory as quickly as possible. We are happy to try to rush your samples, but request that (1) if you request kits from us, you pay Express Shipping to get the kits to you as soon as possible, (2) you return the cheek swabs (or other sample types) to us within 48 hours of placing the order or receiving the kits and (3) use an overnight or 1-2 day courier service to send the samples back to our laboratory. Many times, we can complete your testing in less than 14 days but to receive the fastest turn-around time, we request that the customer returns the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible after the order has been placed for any rush requests. Rush, stat or expedited result requests must be made prior to or at the time the order is placed by calling the laboratory at 509-483-5950 or emailing us at AskUs@pawprintgenetics.com.