Occasionally it is possible for an alpaca’s DNA sample to be submitted for testing only to have the sample fail to produce the necessary required number of DNA markers. This could be due to several different causes, many of which are easy to avoid. AOA usually requests a brand new sample from that alpaca, which we understand can be both time consuming and a financial burden.
By following a few simple suggestions, you should be able to reduce unnecessary vet fees, blood draws, and registration delays.
First, card storage is crucial! Contamination issues could arise from samples being exposed to elements that either ruin the card or interfere with the blood card’s DNA testing.
- Store your DNA cards in a dry, room-temperature location.
- Avoid exposing the samples to environments where there is excessive heat or moisture.
- Try to prevent exposure to genetic material from other alpacas (fiber, spit, urine, etc).
Be sure that a fresh needle is being used for each alpaca being pricked. Cross-contamination can cause your alpaca’s sample to fail, requiring a new card.
Make sure that the right blood, from the right alpaca, is on the right card. Have a plan in place. Fill out the DNA card ahead of time and double-check your records as you go to prevent the sample from being spotted with the wrong alpaca’s blood.
Submit the recommended amount of blood. Try to fill the target circle on the blood card’s blotter paper. Flooding the entire card could cause problems drying, while a small amount of blood may not be enough material for the lab to test.
If you are spotting a card from a blood vial, be sure to agitate the vial well first. Agitating the vial before spotting a card can help ensure that there is enough genetic material present for testing.
Allow the blood card to dry properly! The blood should be allowed to dry for about 12 hours (again, away from heat, moisture, and other contaminating elements) before being sealed and ready for shipping. DO NOT use any method of assistance in drying such as hair dryers, etc.
Take precautions when mailing samples. Placing the card(s) in a sealed plastic baggie before shipping can help protect the card while it is in the mail.
Finally, AOA recommends buying DNA blood cards in bulk. If a situation arises where you do need to submit additional samples, you will have saved time by having the cards on-hand, avoiding the time required to order new cards and the time involved for shipping. It is better to have extra cards available, just in case…especially in cases where time is a factor.
By following these recommendations, you can hopefully avoid extra vet fees, delays, confusion, and aggravation. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.