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The Registry is strongly encouraging collecting samples for DNA by use of the FTA Gene Cards or Fiber Sampling for all of your llamas. You may choose to have the DNA analysis performed or collect the blood sample and send it to the ILR with instructions to store the sample for future reference. If you choose to have the sample stored, there will be no further expense. However, the certificate of your llama will not indicate that a DNA analysis has been performed.

You now have two options to obtain DNA for your animals:

  1. FTA Gene Card blood sample process ( FTA Gene Cards are available from the ILR for $ each when you order 9 or less and $ when you order 10 or more. ) Click Here to Order or Call 406-755-3438.
  2. Fiber Sample process (Click here for the printable PDF Instructions/Submission Form).

The DNA process significantly increases the accuracy and integrity of the ILR database--thank you for your assistance in making this happen.

Instructions for Collecting and Mailing FIBER SAMPLES for DNA Testing

Hair root from the coarse hair on the underside of the tail is the preferred sample type for llamas. When sampling several animals in the same session, avoid sample contamination by ensuring that there are no strands of hair in your hands prior to sampling a new individual.

1. Clean the area by removing all loose hair and foreign matter (use comb if possible).

2. Pull (do NOT cut) 20-30 hair strands total. Grasp small group of hair close to skin and pull in one swift, downward motion (needle-nose pliers or tweezers can be used, especially if hair is short).

3. Examine the end of hair strands for the presence of root bulbs. The bulbs are necessary for DNA testing. If the majority of the hair strands lack the root bulbs, discard hair and start again. Do not send hair without visible bulb.

4. Hair sample should be taped to the form provided and then inserted in a letter-size envelope (appr. 4 1/2” x 9 or 10” a 9” envelope fits well into a regular lettersize envelope). The outside of the envelope should be minimally labeled with the name of the animal and its registration number, if one has been assigned.

5. Repeat the steps for each additional animal being sampled.

6. Insert the sample envelope(s) into another envelope and send it to the ILR office: P.O. Box 8, Kalispell MT 59903

We will send the sample to the lab for testing and notify you of the results upon completion.

Instructions for Collecting and Mailing FTA CARDS with blood samples for DNA Testing

Many of you are new to the process of obtaining blood from a llama. Below we have given step-by-step instructions from the genetics lab and a knowledgeable llama veterinarian to help you.

Please remember that the quality of the blood sample and DNA analysis is only as good as the procedure you use to obtain it. Care must be taken to insure that the proper animal information is on the label for the FTA Gene Card. You must also make certain that contamination does not take place from card to card. We encourage that you plan your blood drawing carefully, dealing with one llama at a time. Prior to beginning the procedure, prepare a clean flat surface for air drying FTA Gene Cards. It is vital that FTA Gene Cards, wet with blood, are not stacked or the testing surfaces allowed to touch one another.

Pre-use Procedures (Storage and Handling) of the FTA Gene Cards

1. Unused FTA Gene Cards can be stored at room temperature in a dry environment, such as a file folder or manila envelope.

2. Try to avoid contacting the FTA Gene Card collection area with anything except the blood sample. If practical, wear surgical-type gloves (latex, vinyl, or nitrile) during the collection of the blood sample. A thorough handwashing is the next best procedure.

3. FTA Gene Cards are available from the ILR for $ each when you order 9 or less and $ each when you order 10 or more. Click Here to Order or Call 406-755-3438.

Drawing the Blood Sample

1. Prepare an FTA Gene Card for the llama by writing your owner code and the llama’s name in the space provided. Do not write on the card below the blood sample area.

2. Secure your llama for the process as you would for a vet call. We suggest a restraint chute or, if a chute is not available, halter your llama and tie it securely in a corner.

3. Locate a vein on the outer surface of the ear or the vein midline on the under surface of the tail for obtaining the blood.

4. Clean the site with 99% alcohol and let it air dry.

5. Have the card at hand and right side up.

6. Use a sterile needle. To avoid contamination use a separate needle for each llama.

7. Attached the needle to the syringe and be sure the plunger is pressed in.

8. Place the needle in the vein.

9. While the needle is in the vein, draw the plunger back gently and fill the syringe with a blood sample.

10. Remove the needle from the vein.

11. Hold the FTA Gene Card topside up below the hollow needle and depress the syringe plunger to deposit the blood sample on to the sample collection area. Do not allow the needle to touch the sample collection area.

12. Spot blood on all three the circles as illustrated on the diagram. Do not use an excessive amount of blood, as this may interfere with the analysis.

13. Apply pressure to the puncture site using a clean gauze pad or paper towel.

14. The FTA Gene Card must be air dried immediately after the blood sample is obtained. Air-dry in a clean and dry environment prior to placing the FTA Gene Card into the storage envelope. Do not dry in direct heat of any kind, including sunlight.

15. Complete air drying will take at least one hour. Do not dry in the sun or with any other heat-assisted drying activity.

Post-procedure Handling and Shipping

1. After the cards are completely dry, complete the information requested on the manila storage envelope and place the FTA Gene Card inside. If you are sending a blood sample from a llama that is already registered, write that llama’s registration number in the box at the top of the storage envelope.

2. Please check either the ‘DNA Analysis’ or the ‘Storage’ box depending on the procedure you wish:

· ‘DNA Analysis’ FTA Gene Cards will be forwarded to the genetics lab by the Registry for immediate processing. You will be billed for the processing fee and will receive a DNA report as soon as it becomes available.

· ‘Storage’ FTA Gene Cards will be housed at the ILR’s office. Send these cards to the ILR office and do not store them yourself. The ILR office will keep the FTA Gene Card on file so that the DNA sample will be available in the future for any genetics question concerning that llama, whether the llama has changed hands or not.

3. Only write a lama’s registration number in the box at the top of the storage envelope if you are sending in a blood sample from a llama that is already registered.

4. If you are sending in a FTA Gene Card with an ILR Registration / Listing Form, attach the storage envelope with the card inside to the correct registration form.

5. The fee for each FTA Gene Card processing is $ for Paid Members and $ for Non-Members. Include the fee with the card.

6. Regular mail is acceptable for FTA Gene Cards. (If you are in Canada, you will not need the special permit as you did with blood tubes.)

Additional Sire and Dam Comparisons

1. If you want verification of an offspring’s parents, the parents’ DNA analysis information must be on file with the Registry. (Note - blood samples on file from years past are available at our genetics lab.)

2. List possible sires and dams, providing registration numbers and names of each on a separate sheet of paper.

3. Do not place any additional information or items inside the shipping envelope with the FTA Gene Card.

ILR Communication with Members

1. When the DNA analysis report is received, the Registry will print and mail you a copy.

2. In the case of multiple possible sires and/or dams, you will receive a report on each possible combination. For example, if you send 3 possible sires and 2 possible dams, you will receive 6 DNA reports.