Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd has as its focus the use of the most advanced technology to perform molecular and genetic analysis in the human and veterinary field. All tests are quality controlled and are highly accurate and sensitive. MDS offers molecular tests for a wide range of genetic markers and diseases including avian pathogens and Avian DNA sexing.


Birds are susceptible to a number of viral and bacterial diseases. For effective management of these diseases in an aviary, it is beneficial to know whether new birds being introduced into the aviary are infected with viruses or are disease free. In many cases birds can appear clinically asymptomatic, but they could be carriers of viruses that could then spread to virus free birds.

The Avian DNA sexing test is based on the fact that, as with humans, there is a sex linked chromosome in birds which can be analysed by genetic techniques to determine whether the bird is male or female. Our test is both sensitive and specific and can be performed from the first day of hatching.

Avian DNA Sexing & Virus Collection Kit

It is possible to send blood, or tissue for testing. However, our preferred sample is a drop of blood collected using our simple collection kits, as the samples are stable and the risk of contamination is reduced.
The sampling procedure is simple, non-invasive and can be performed at the site where the animal is located.
The kit consists of a safelock tube containing a strip of special paper and a sterile needle. Just a small drop of blood is necessary to perform the molecular tests. Multiple tests can be performed on the same sample.

Kits can be ordered directly from MDS.


  • No risk of trauma from anaesthesia or surgical complications.
  • The bird does not have to be mature to be tested.
  • The bird does not have to be transported as a sample can easily be taken by the owner.
  • No special storage conditions are required once the sample has been taken.
  • MDS has an interactive online vetsite where clients can track their submitted samples
  • Current and historic results (from 2014-onwards) can be accessed from the online vetsite.
  • A certificate may be requested.
  • Possibility of more than one DNA test being performed on the same sample.

Avian DNA Sexing & Virus Sample Collection

1. Hold the bird comfortably so that you can access the bird’s toe.

6523_091911732. Remove the new sterile needle and prick the bird’s toe just above the claw, not the claw itself. After a few seconds a visible drop of blood should appear. Fig1

3. Open the lid of the small tube and remove the strip of white absorbent paper (always hold the part that is sticking out of the tube). Fig 2

4. Press the marked tip of the paper against the fresh drop of blood.  As long as you can

5. Insert the paper into the tube, with blood first. Never touch the marked tip with your fingers! Please discard needle / Lancet safely – do not return to MDS. Close the tube firmly.

6. Write the bird’s name and ring number onto the tube’s label.

7. Place the tubes and data sheet into an addressed padded envelope marked FRAGILE and post with payment.

8. Please post to MDS or arrange with MDS for courier collection.


You will receive your results by fax, telephone or e-mail within two working days of the MDS laboratory receiving your samples. The results are given in a neat table format with our letterhead. Certificates for individual birds can be supplied on request, however samples must then come to MDS via a veterinarian.

New tests

We continuously develop new tests. Please access our Web Page or contact us for the latest diagnostic assays.


1. In the event that MDS (Pty) Ltd returns a verifiable erroneous result for a particular sample, MDS will reimburse the submitter only the amount paid to MDS (Pty) Ltd to perform the test. In no event shall MDS be liable for the incidental, consequential, special or other damages of any nature even if MDS (Pty) Ltd has been advised of the possibility of such damage.

2. Needles are inherently dangerous and because this product is used outside of our control, MDS (Pty) Ltd will not be liable for any damage or injury caused by needles, the user accepting full responsibility for the use and subsequent disposal of the needles in the kit which are entirely at the user’s risk.