Genetic contamination of Dahl/Rapp salt-sensitive rats (SS/JrHsd) was recently discovered in animals received from Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc, the main supplier of this strain to researchers in the United States. We were interested in determining how this problem occurred and the extent of contamination in the breeding colony in hopes of quickly correcting the problem and reestablishing the supply of this important model of genetic hypertension. DNA was extracted from whole blood obtained from each rat in the Harlan foundation colony and their offspring, the pedigree expansion colony. Several microsatellite-based genetic markers that were polymorphic between the normal and contaminant alleles were used to test these two colonies. All 10 breeder pairs in the foundation colony were tested at six different loci and found to be homozygous for the normal allele in each case. All 60 members of the pedigree expansion colony were also tested, and several rats carrying contaminant alleles were found, thus localizing the origin of the contamination to this colony. We offer several recommendations regarding precautions researchers using inbred animals should take in designing future experiments.