Forensic Investigations

Sadly sometimes you may find evidence or remains that suggest that your pet may be deceased.  If you would like to investigate whether these remains do in fact belong to your lost pet, you have several options for different types of forensic analyses.

DNA Tests

The University of California Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory provides “peace of mind” DNA analysis for missing pet cases.  In order to do this, you will need a sample of your lost pet’s DNA to be matched with DNA from the animal remains that you found.  For more information, visit their website.

Fur Analysis

Comparative fur analysis is another option for determining whether animal remains may be those of your lost pet.  In this case you will need a sample of fur from your missing pet and a sample from the remains.  This test is not as definitive as a DNA test, but it is considerably cheaper (around $150 instead of $300-$700).  Lost Pet Detection offers comparative fur analysis with a highly regarded forensic scientist.

Blood Stain Tests

In some cases, you may just find piles of fur and nothing else.  Even a seemingly large pile of fur may be the result of a cat fight rather an attack by a predator.  To determine if it is likely that an animal was killed at that location, you could try a latent blood test using luminol.  This is sprayed on the ground in the dark and will glow a bright blue when it contacts blood.  You may have seen this used on some CSI type TV shows like Dexter.  However, contrary to how it is commonly shown on TV, you do not need a black light to get the blue illumination.  A large concentration of blood would suggest that an animal was killed and consumed at that location.  Here is a distribution list of companies that carry luminol products such as BlueStar.  Some companies may not sell luminol to the general public so you may need to contact a Pet Detective to conduct the test for you.  For a list of pet detectives, check out the Guide to Finding a Pet Detective or Search Dog.

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