The PKD Genetic Test Arrives!

Published January 2005

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis announced that their DNA test for PKD in cats is now commercially available! Breeders of Persians and Exotics have been eagerly awaiting this genetic test for PKD for several years as a preferred option to scanning for PKD by ultrasound.

The genetic test will be much more convenient as a sample of a cat's DNA can be collected at home by the owner and then mailed off to the lab for testing. This is infinitely less stressful than awaiting a scanning clinic to be arranged in your area, then loading up a bunch of cats in the car to travel to the location and wait in line for individual ultrasounds.

The Cost of Testing and Turnaround Time

The cost for the DNA PKD test at UC Davis is $60 US whch includes free test swabs. DNA fingerprinting is included with PKD test. Results should take about two weeks from receipt of the test.

Other labs will have their own turn around time and may or may not provide the testing swabs gree of charge.

Accuracy of The Test

While it is anticipated that the PKD DNA test performed at UC Davis should be 100% accurate, there may have failures due to poor sampling. The accuracy of the test may also vary from lab to lab depending on their experience and quality control.

The Minimum Age For Testing

Testing can be performed on kittens as young as 8 weeks of age. There is no maximum age limit.

Taking A DNA Sample From Your Cat

Taking a sample of your cat's DNA is simple and painless. In fact, if you like to watch the medical investigation/Law & Order TV shows, you probably have already seen DNA collected. It is a simple procedure you can perform yourself at home - no veterinarian needed. It's simple - a sterile swab is used to collect cells from the inside of the cheek.

Materials Need To Take a DNA Sample For Testing

All that is required to take your cat's sample of DNA is a a cheek swab and a form with your cat's information. The PKD test kit is available through the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory by calling 530-752-2211.

The test swab is also available from your veterinarian or your personal doctor. The Cervical/cytology swabs are the same as used for a PAP smear by your own physician.

NOTE: A sample taken with a Q-tip will not work!

The test submission form is available for download from the UC Davis website at

If you are sending a sample to a different lab than UC Davis, be sure to obtain their recomended dampling kit and forms. The UC Davis forms and kits are only for samples sent to UC Davis for testing.

Sampling Procedure

  1. Wait at least 15 minutes if the cat has recently eaten.
  2. Open the testing kit and remove the swab.
  3. At the end opposite to the brush, open just the end of the packaging sleeve.
  5. Hold the brush, half-way down the handle, in the hand that you use for writing.
  6. Hold the cat by the scruff with the other hand and place the brush between the cheek and gums.
  7. The swab/brush is then twirled or brushed for several (10) seconds, while making good contact with the cheek and gums.
  8. The sampling should be gentle and should not make the cat's mouth sensitive or bleed.
  9. Let the brush air dry for 30 seconds.
  11. Place the brush back in the packaging sleeve and seal the sleeve with tape or a staple.
  12. The seal should NOT be air tight. A wet brush in an airtight sleeve may grow bacteria and destroy the sample.
  13. Take two samples per cat & label the packaging sleeve. Label with the cat's name & your last name.
  14. Fill out the swab form.
  15. Swabs and forms should be stored at room temperature until mailed to the testing lab by regular mail.
The cheek swabs used are the same as those used for PAP smears in women, therefore the package includes a warning that pertains to pregnant women, not cats. The swabs are safe to use with for pregnant cats.

Do not sample nursing kittens. They will have the cells of the mother in their mouth.

Mailing The Sample

The samples may be sent via regular mail or overnight courier. No refrigeration is needed.

Mail the swabs and forms to:

Cat Genetics / Lyons' Laboratory
VM:PHR, 1114 Tupper Hall
University of California, Davis

One Shields Avenue,
Davis, CA 95616-8744

As of January 2005, the DNA PKD test is available for
Persians, Exotics, Himalayans, and Persian out-crosses only.

Free Testing For Breeds Other Than Persians, Exotics, Himalayans or Their Outcrosses

Dr. Leslie Lyons is collecting DNA data on PKD positive cats of other breeds. She will provide PKD DNA testing free of charge for any ultrasound scanned positive cats of breeds other than Persians, Exotics or Himalayans or their outcrosses.

Customer Service AT UC Davis

Michelle Whitaker
Customer Service - Public Relations
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
University of California Davis

Other Testing Labs

Laboratories throughout the world have shown interest in offering the DNA/PKD test. They include:

Laboratory Name
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Davis, CA
Ithaca, NY
Ann Arbor, MI
DNA Diagnostics, Inc., Shelterwood Laboratories
Timpson, TX
Philadelphia, PA
Bova-Can Laboratories
Saskatoon, Canada
United Kingdom
Animal Health Trust
Suffolk, England
Royal Veterinary College
London, England
Weatherbys Ireland Laboratory

Kildare, Ireland
Continetal Europe
La Rochelle, France
Jouy en Josas, France
Arsia asbl
Mons, Belgium
Clinical Laboratory, University of Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
Institute for Genetics, Nutrition and Husbandry of Companion Animals
Bern, Switzerland
Istituto di Zootecnica -Vetogene Lab
Milano, Italy
Phone: 0039 02 50 18048
Laboratorio Gruppi Sanguigni Via Bergamo
Cremona, Italy
Phone: 0039 09 71 59500
Medigenomix GmbH
Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition
Herceghalom, Hungary
Statny plemenarsky ustav SR
Luzianky, Slovenska Republika
Jozef Trandzik:
Wageninger, The Netherlands
Dynamic Code AB
Linköping, Sweden
Vantaa, Finland
Finnzymes Diagnostics
Espo, Finland
Oy Triniini Company, (Genlab Niini)
Helsinki, Finland
Phone: 358 0 737 823
South Africa
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Pretoria, South Africa
Australian Equine Genetics Research Centre
St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia
Livestock Improvement Association of Japan, Inc., Maebashi Institute of Animal Science
Laboratory of Equine Genetics, Korea Racing Association
Phone: 0082-2-509-1933

Information Courtesy of
Leslie A. Lyons, PhD, UC Davis

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