UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Veterinary Forensics FAQ

test tubes What types of material can you test?
We have successfully obtained DNA profiles from blood, urine, saliva, hair, semen, bone, teeth, muscle, internal organs, and feces. This has included urine swabbed from a tire, saliva swabbed from clothing and human skin, blood from a syringe needle, and feces from the bottom of a shoe. DNA is found in the material adhering to hair roots, so shed hair is often unsuitable for DNA profiling because the hairs lack the necessary roots. We cannot test cremated remains for DNA.

What kinds of animals do you test?
Approximately one in three households have one or more dogs, so over 50% of our forensic cases involve dogs. We can also test cats, horses, cattle, deer, elk, bear, pigs, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and goats.

Can you tell me the breed of my dog?
No. The tests we use identify individuals—not breed.

How long does it take?
Depending upon the number and types of samples, testing can take from two days to two months, but the average turnaround is two to three weeks.

What does the report tell me?
The report will contain the date and condition of the samples upon receipt, the laboratory assigned case numbers, sample descriptions, tests performed, the results of those tests, and sample disposition.

How much does it cost?
Each case varies according to the number and types of samples tested. An average case involving an evidentiary sample and a reference sample will start at approximately $500.00. Complex cases with multiple items can be as much as $5000.

Why does forensic DNA testing cost more than parentage testing?
Rigorous quality assurance standards require meticulous laboratory practices and extensive documentation that help assure the acceptance of our results in court.

Is there a separate fee for court testimony?
Yes. Our reports are frequently stipulated, but when we are needed to testify there will be a daily fee in addition to expenses.

How do I submit a sample?
Contact the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at 530-752-2211 or email VGL Forensics to discuss your case. A sample submission form must accompany each sample.

What should I collect and how should I package it?
Dry items should be kept cool and dry, placed in a paper envelope and sealed. Wet items should be placed in a sterile container, sealed well, and frozen. Please see our Sample Collection page for more detailed instructions.

Where do I send the samples?
We recommend samples be shipped overnight via UPS or FedEx. The laboratory is closed weekends. Packages must be clearly marked “Forensic DNA Testing” on the exterior of the package to assure proper handling procedures once they arrive at the laboratory. Address packages to:

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Forensic DNA Testing
980 Old Davis Road
Davis, CA 95616-8744
Phone number (530) 752-2211

How can I contribute to your program?
Since this is a new area of forensic science, research is an important part of what we do. We greatly appreciate any donations to help support the work we are doing. Please contact the Development Office at (530) 752-7024 for gift giving opportunities.

How can I contact VGL with questions about animal forensics?
Please refer to our Contact page or Email form.

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL