Labrador Retriever cocking head

Frequently Asked Questions


  • How can I contact the VGL with questions about your services?
  • Please contact us through the Contact page or Email form on our website.
  • How old does an animal need to be for DNA testing?
  • There is no age limit for DNA testing. However, if you are submitting a hair sample, we need 30-50 hairs with intact roots. If you are submitting a young horse, please pull tail hairs. For nursing kittens and puppies, please wait at least 1 hour after nursing to sample the animal.

Samples and Sampling

  • Have my samples arrived?
  • When the sample arrives at the laboratory, you will receive a confirmation email.
  • What type of samples are needed for DNA testing?
  • The type of sample required depends on the test. Please refer to the "Type of Sample" section on the page specific to the test being ordered. You can view some of the sample requirements and sample collection instructions for the VGL's most commonly tested species at this link.
  • How do I obtain a hair sample with roots?
  • You can find video instructions for collecting hair samples from horses here. There are also pictorial guides to cattle hair collection, goat hair collection, sheep hair collection, and pig hair collection.
  • How do I correctly swab my dog or cat for testing?
  • You can view a video demonstrating the proper dog sampling technique here. Step-by-step instructions for cat sampling are available here.

Processing and Turnaround

  • How long will it take to test my sample(s)?
  • Samples are tested in the order they are received. Turn around times vary by test. See the information page specific to the test being ordered for more details.
  • Can you RUSH my testing and/or parentage verification?
  • Every sample sent to the laboratory is processed as soon as delivered in the order received. Upon completion of the testing and analysis, the results are sent electronically to the appropriate registry. For individuals, the results are either emailed or faxed and a copy sent in the mail.
  • I sent 3 samples at the same time to be tested but got my reports back at different times. Why?
  • Reports are sent out as they are completed. Possible reasons for delay could be: poor sample condition, insufficient information on the parents, problems obtaining a complete type on a stored sample of a parent, and ambiguous results requiring retests of the offspring and/or parents.


    • I am trying to find a particular DNA test. What is the best way to search for a test on the VGL website?
    • You can use the "Find DNA Tests" box on the VGL homepage or on each species' page to search for specific keywords or to filter the list of available tests by Species, Breed, and/or Type of Test. The search function works best if you select a species first. If you know the breed of your animal, it is best to refine the search by selecting the breed from the drop-down list instead of typing the breed name into the Keyword field.
    • My search for a particular DNA test returned no results. What should I do?
    • If your search did not identify a match, the VGL may not offer a test for the disease/trait you searched for, or the search terms you used did not work to identify an existing test. You can try using an alternate, longer keyword (all keywords must be two or more characters long). You could also try a more refined search by selecting species and breed information prior to your keyword search. Lastly, check the spelling of the term you are searching (the search function identifies exact matches only).

    MyVGL and Ordering

    • Can I add a test to the sample I sent in for testing?
    • The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory keeps the samples on file for the life expectancy of the animal. If you were the person who initially ordered the test, you can log into your account and select "Add Test to Existing Sample" to add a test to an existing sample.
    • Can I add a test to a sample tested by another person?
    • If you were not the person who originally tested the animal, you would not be able to add a test to the existing sample.
    • How do I update an animal's information?
    • If we have not received the sample for testing, you can edit the animal's information by logging into your account, selecting the animal's name, updating the information, reading and selecting the Terms and Conditions, and hitting Save. If we have received the sample for testing, you can request a change to the animal's information by sending the request via email through our Contact page. For verification purposes, please email the request from the email address associated with the account.
    • I ordered tests through my registry. Can I have the results sent to me or add a test?
    • The test results will be sent to the registry/association. You will need to contact the registry/association for information about the sample, test results, or adding a test.

    Test Results

    • Can you send the reports directly to me?
    • If you are testing through one of the registries on contract with VGL, the results are sent electronically to that registry. If you are testing individually, the laboratory will send the report to the owner or agent listed at the top of the submission form. Testing will be initiated only after full payment is received.
    • What does my Genetic Markers Report mean?
    • The Genetic Marker Report is used for identification (a DNA fingerprint) and/or for parent verification purposes. The Genetic Marker Report does not provide you with specific information about your animal such as coat color, disease, lineage, or breed.

    Parentage Verification

    • How long will it take to receive the results of parentage verification?
    • This depends on many factors such as: volume of samples needing parentage analysis, condition of the sample, whether or not the parents have been updated from blood typing to DNA, and if we have been provided with complete information on the identification of all possible parents including VGL case numbers. If all of the preceding conditions are met, DNA typing and parentage analysis should be completed within 2-6 business days.
    • Can I get my parentage analysis or test results by phone?
    • The VGL does not provide parentage analysis or test results over the telephone. For tests ordered by individuals, we can provide the test information via email or fax if that contact information was provided on the submission form. We will also mail a copy of the completed report at the same time. Please contact the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory through the Contact page or Email form on our website for additional information.
    • Why do you need to test the dam? I know the dam.
    • Parentage testing is based on the principle of exclusion. For paternity cases, knowing the genetic information of the dam provides additional confidence in determining which genetic markers could have come from the sire. Testing only one parent does not always give a complete picture and could allow  for the qualification of a sire that would be excluded if the dam information was considered.