Info for PRA & PFK Test for puppies!

I want to let you know that we now are offering the PRA test using a
cheek swab and FTA-card. This specially treated card “fixes” the DNA
from the swab, making it very stable. Once the card has dried, it can
be sent by regular mail – no special handling, no cool pack, no
overnight shipping needed. And, best of all, no need to wrestle a
blood sample out of a little puppy. The test can be done at any age,
though with the pups that have been done so far, it seems like the
very young ones don’t have enough spit to get a good transfer of cells
– we’ve had a few fails with very young pups which resulted in the
breeder needing to get a new card and swab and try again when the pup
was a little older. We’re using an “indicator” card that is purplish
to start with, and turns white (or lighter) wherever DNA has
transferred to the card. If the card doesn't turn light in patches,
there’s no DNA. This is helpful for you, the owner to know you got
something on the card, and gives our technician a “target” that is
most likely to give a good result.

We’ve run about 50 dogs where we have a blood sample and an FTA card,
and got perfect correlation of test results with the blood-based DNA
and the FTA card DNA. We’re confident that the cards will give good,
reliable results (or we wouldn’t offer it this way!).

We believe we can also run the PFK test this way, but have not run the
“side by side” comparison yet to prove it. I have several cards coming
in from dogs where we have run PFK from a blood sample already, so
that we can run the test using both the blood-based and card-based DNA
samples from the same dog at the same time. We have no reason to think
it won’t work but until we run this test with “controls”, I am not
going to promise absolutely it will work on PFK.

There is not a lot of DNA on the card, so DNA banking for future
research is still best done via blood samples. To our knowledge,
nobody has been able to run the new mapping technology using DNA from
cards (or swabs) – that still needs the quality and quantity of DNA we
get from blood samples. So, these cards will be good for doing a few
tests with known mutations, but not ideal for research purposes.

And yes, you can do adult dogs this way as well. It won’t get them
into the DNA bank if you just do the card, but you can get a test run
on any age dog using the card. We encourage you to continue to send
blood on adult dogs so that it does become part of the DNA Bank (all
DNA not used for testing is automatically banked for potential future
use), and use the cards primarily for puppies. The cards would also be
useful for testing dogs outside the US – there should not be any issue
with Customs as there can sometimes be with blood samples.

SO – how do you get these cards you may ask? Send an email to me
( <>) with the
following information:
- PLEASE put “PRA test kit request” in the subject line
- number of kits needed (how many puppies/dogs to be tested)
- delivery address
Let me know if there are questions!
*Liz Hansen* 573-884-3712
Animal Molecular Genetics Laboratory
University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine
321 Connaway Hall
Columbia, MO 65211