Canine-specific STR typing of saliva traces on dog bite wounds

Int J Legal Med. 2004 Dec;118(6):337-42. doi: 10.1007/s00414-004-0479-7. Epub 2004 Oct 12.


Forensic investigations in dog attacks usually involve the examination of bite marks and toothprints, the dog's stomach and pathological methods. For identification of the offending dog we evaluated canine STR typing of saliva traces on dog bite marks. The specificity of 15 canine-specific STRs was tested on human-canine DNA mixtures prior to an applied study in which 52 cases of dog bites were investigated. The first-aid wound bandages as well as swab samples from the surrounding area of the wound were used for DNA analyses. Generally, it was possible to obtain a canine-specific STR profile from the dog's saliva left on the wound area, even when high background of human DNA was present (blood). Interestingly, we found canine STR typing to be more successful when the bandages and swabs showed high amounts of human blood, i.e. when the dog bite was severe. Canine saliva was then sometimes visible as white-coloured secretion on the human blood surface. Less severe bite cases, which did not result in bleeding wounds, showed less success in obtaining useful STR results, probably due to the fact that the surface of the wounds may have been treated before the victims consulted medical aid which therefore removed the canine cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Bandages
  • Bites and Stings*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Fingerprinting* / methods
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences