Sampling and sample volume. Why do we keep talking about it?
Most of our customers and friends have most likely heard us bring up sample volume, on either our Newsletters or on our social media.
But what does it mean and why is it so crucial for successful testing?
The Bellylabs Pregnancy Test for Dogs measures relaxin hormone. Measuring this hormone is a reliable indicator of pregnancy. Relaxin hormone is produced by the developing placenta following implantation of the embryo, and can be detected in the blood in most pregnant females as early as 22 to 27 days post-ovulation. Relaxin levels peak around 2 to 3 weeks before giving birth. The usually also stay elevated for a couple of days after a loss of a litter.
As the relaxin levels slowly start to rise after the implantation, and only peak at 42 to 49 days into her pregnancy ( 6 to 7 weeks ), it is vital that the sample collected is big enough for detection to be possible.
The sample swab is designed to collect an accurate amount of sample, in relation to the test and amount of buffer, when completely full, deep burgundy in colour and no longer taking in any more blood. Only when the swab is full can we detect 96 % of pregnancies, after 28 days or more have passed from ovulation. In all dog sizes and litter sizes.
Many of our long time users test well before the 28 day mark however. How? They make sure the sample swab is as full as it can be. This is the way to be able to catch those pregnancies very early, as early as day 23. When your female is carrying only a very small litter or even a single pup, this is even more important.
To put it plainly, if you collect 50 % of the sample required, you will reduce your rate of accuracy equally. You will not receive a false positive, but in almost all cases, a false negative is due to an inadequate amount of sample collected. No test can ever outperform the sample sadly and this is why this part, collection of the sample and handling of it, is vital for the successful outcome.
There is no rush when you collect the sample. The procedure is very forgiving in that sense. You can take your time. You can use the second lancing device to create another snap, if the first one does not yield a sufficient amount. Make sure you don’t touch the collecting end of the sample swab with your hands or let is absorb any liquid other than the blood sample. Also note that the testing devices should only be taken out of the protective packaging right before testing.
Our customer service is always happy to help, if any questions arise. A good tip is to take a picture of the test cassette, after the sample was dropped and during the reading window, in good lighting. This will make determining what went wrong a lot easier if problems arise.