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Pet Age Test FAQs

When will I get my swab kit after ordering? 

Swab kits are mailed out within 5 business days after order placement. You will receive the kit within 3-7 business days once it’s mailed. We are a startup, and appreciate your patience and business.

Once I mail my swab back, how long until I get my results?

You will receive an email from us once your kit has been delivered to our headquarters. From there, it can take 4-8 weeks to received your results.

Will you be offering age tests for other animals?

YES! Age tests for horses and birds are coming soon. If you are interested in sharing your p.o.v. about future pet age test animal categories, please fill out this survey. We love learning from our community.

What is Epigenetics?

Put your lab coats on folks.

is the study of molecules and mechanisms that interact with the DNA 
sequence and affect what genes are turned on and off. 

example, if your genes are the cookbook, epigenetics is the chef 
choosing what they are actually going to use out of that recipe for 
today's meal. If you spend anytime cooking in the kitchen, you also know
that there are a lot of other factors that are going to play a role in 
how the end meal comes out. Those other factors in our real life 
scenario would be the environment- which could be food, exercise, 
toxins, the microbiome, temperature... just about anything. 

Here are a couple great articles that are great introductions to epigenetics:

 "What is epigenetics?"

"Epigenetics 101: a beginners guide to explaining everything" 

lot of what we know about epigenetics has come from twin studies. With 
twins, we can see just how much is determined by epigenetics vs the 
underlying genetic code because twins have the same genetic code. 

This great article by the Atlantic highlights some interesting twin case studies. 

also plays a major role in why living organisms age, which has been 
termed the epigenetic clock (Horvath and Raj 2018).  Building on these 
findings, we can view how to approach and treat age-related disease 
proactively instead of reactively like we have in the past (Parrot and 
Bertucci 2019). 

These mechanisms of aging have been found to be 
very conserved across species (Lu et al 2021) and therefore studies to 
increase health and longevity of our animal companions could not only 
benefit our furry counterparts but also potentially benefit humans. 

How do you estimate age from a mouth swab?

Glad you asked! 

We quantify an epigenetic molecule called DNA methylation across your pet's genome to calculate their chronological age. We've chosen the most correlated markers to age that are not being affected by environmental factors (unlike biological age which focuses on these noisy markers).

What is Chronical vs Biological Age?

Chronological age, also known as physical or calendar age, refers to the number of actual years an organism has been alive from birth.

Three of the biggest use cases for chronological age include: 

Think about how genetics has revolutionized our ability to catch 
murders. Crime scenes are covered with genetic clues as to who did it, 
however, genetics has not been able to tell us the age of someone. When 
there is not much to go off of, epigenetic age estimation comes in for 
the win, giving us one more clue (McCord et al., 2019). Fun fact, you 
can also tell if someone was a smoker, former smoker, or non-smoker from
DNA methylation. So there's at least two epigenetic clues we can get from a crime scene. 

Conservation of wild animal populations can feel a lot like doing 
forensic work. It's very important to know age when studying endangered 
populations and in determining if a population is at risk. Age is an 
important component of population models which help predict the 
sustainability of the population. Knowing which animals are of 
reproductive age or will become reproductive soon are important pieces of information to have.  Hence, why chronological age tools are such a 
hit for this area of science (Beal et al., 2019). 

Adopted animals
There are millions of people world-wide owning dogs, cats, horses, 
birds... and no doubt other animals, but have no idea how old their pet 
is!? Sure, they probably have some guess and can place their pet in a 
life stage category but life stages are long and there are years of error in these estimates. With epigenetic aging, high accuracy similiar to studies in human forensics aging have been developed (Raj et al. 2020; Thompson et al. 2017). Seeing signs and symptoms of a disease can 
mean something very different for two different aged animals and 
drastically improve outcomes if properly identified by a vet 

Biological age

This refers to how old an individual seems compared to their chronological age or how old their cells and organs are aging. For example, a person might be 33 years old, but due to lifestyle choices, has a biological age of 45 meaning their health is bad. You can probably see how this biological age is the kind of age that influences someones potential to develop an age-related disease. 

Biological age is strongly influenced by the environment. Anything from where you live, what you eat, what kind of physcial activity you get... and this is the same for any organism including our pets.

Knowing more about this biological age clock can help with improving the health span and longevity of living organisms. So the major use cases here involve measuring how different 
environmental things from drugs, food, exercise, smoking, etc... affect 
aging and disease development (Lu et al., 2019). 


Beal, et al. 2019. “The Bottlenose Dolphin Epigenetic Aging Tool (BEAT): A Molecular Age Estimation Tool for Small Cetaceans.” Frontiers in Marine Science,

Cavalli, Giacomo, and Edith Heard. 2019. “Advances in Epigenetics Link Genetics to the Environment and Disease.” Nature 571 (7766): 489–99.

Horvath S, Raj K. DNA methylation-based biomarkers and the epigenetic clock theory of ageing. Nat Rev Genet. 2018 Jun;19(6):371-384. doi: 10.1038/s41576-018-0004-3. PMID: 29643443.

Lu AT, Quach A, Wilson JG, Reiner AP, Aviv A, Raj K, Hou L, Baccarelli AA, Li Y, Stewart JD, Whitsel EA, Assimes TL, Ferrucci L, Horvath S. 2019. DNA methylation GrimAge strongly predicts lifespan and healthspan. Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Jan 21;11(2):303-327. doi: 10.18632/aging.101684. PMID: 30669119; PMCID: PMC6366976.

Lu, A. T. et al. 2021. Universal DNA methylation age across mammalian tissues. bioRxiv,2021.2001.2018.426733, doi:10.1101/2021.01.18.426733.

McCord, B. et al. 2019. Applications of epigenetic methylatoin in body fluid identification, age determination, and phenotyping. Forensic Sci. International: Genetics Supplement Series. doi:10.1016/j.fsigss.2019.10.061

Parrott BB, Bertucci EM. Epigenetic Aging Clocks in Ecology and Evolution. Trends Ecol Evol. 2019 Sep;34(9):767-770. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2019.06.008. Epub 2019 Jul 8. PMID: 31296344.

Raj, K. et al. 2020. Epigenetic clock and methylation studies in cats. bioRxiv,2020.2009.2006.284877, doi:10.1101/2020.09.06.284877.

Thompson, M. J., vonHoldt, B., Horvath, S. & Pellegrini, M. 2017. An epigenetic aging clockfor dogs and wolves. Aging (Albany NY) 9, 1055-1068, doi:10.18632/aging.101211.

Research Participant Questions

What do you do with my pet's sample? 

The information collected by the Health Insights Survey will be used by us and other researchers to study changes in DNA methylation and correlations to health and disease. This data may be shared (without revealing your identity or your pets identity) and published in journals or public media.

What are the benefits of participating in research?

Your personal benefit by participating is that you will get to learn exciting new things about your pet for free and/or at a deep discount. Other benefits include helping animals everywhere have better tests available to monitor and improve their health and helping pet parents have more access to these amazing discoveries.  

I registered to be part of a research study but have not not received a swab, is something wrong?

We appreciate you registering with our research program. EpiPaws has a lot of industry changing, innovative products in the queue that we are excited to share with our community as we grow. We receive a lot of participation submissions and not all are a match for what we need. If you are selected to be in a study, you will get an email from us with next steps.

What can I do to help support this research?

If you have a pet, please sign them up to participate. Other ways you can help include referring your friends to participate, donating directly to the research fund, company sponsorship, or investing in the company. Reach out to to get more information. 

Investment Opportunities

Interested in investing in EpiPaws? We would love to have you onboard. To explore investment and start a conversation, please reach out to the CEO Dr. Andria Beal at