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Considerations for Shipping Samples in the Summer

By Rachel Corn, VT

Soon it will be time for vacations on the beach and flip-flops. With summer fun comes summer temperatures. There are a few things to watch for when sending samples to KSVDL as outside temperatures begin to rise and often reach 95° F or 100° F. The two most important things to remember when shipping diagnostic samples during the summer are 1) time and 2) temperature.

During cooler months sample quality may remain high even after several days in transit. However, in summer samples can degrade very quickly, drastically reducing their diagnostic value and requiring very short transit times.

In the summer we strongly suggest using a shipping method that will assure your samples arrive at the diagnostic lab within 24 hours. KSVDL offers several shipping options to provide the shortest transit times at the least expense. Some of these options include Next Day Air, which guarantees the sample to be delivered to KSVDL by 10:30 the next morning and costs $13; 2nd Day Air option costs $9 and UPS Ground option costs only $6. In all of Kansas and part of the surrounding states, UPS Ground labels will typically be delivered to us the day after they are shipped--but they are not guaranteed. KSVDL also offers a Saturday Delivery option for $20. UPS shipping labels reflecting these options can be printed from your clinic computer or by going to www.ksvdl.org and clicking on “Create UPS Label” on the right hand side on the page. You can also order these labels by contacting Client Care at 866-884-5650 or clientcare@vet.k-state.edu.

The second thing to consider for summer diagnostic sample shipping is temperature. You can’t do anything to affect the temperature outside so you need to do everything you can to control the temperature of your samples inside the shipping container during transit to the lab. Temperature control begins as soon as you collect the samples. Almost all samples need to be kept cold from the time they are collected from the animal until the time they arrive at KSVDL (exception to this is trichomoniasis testing as noted elsewhere in this newsletter).

All samples, except trichomoniasis, should be refrigerated as soon as possible after collection. To assure appropriate temperature control, it is important to use an insulated box that has plenty of room for ice packs. Remember that no matter what courier you use, packages can be left outside on loading docks or are transported in hot trucks before being delivered. It is also important to protect glass tubes and slides from breakage. Paper towels and newspaper work great for padding and protection. Place any paperwork in a separate Ziploc bag so that as the ice packs melt during transit, the paperwork remains dry.

Concentrating on these few simple things will assure that your sample arrives in the best possible condition for high quality diagnostic testing.

Any questions can be answered by KSVDL Client Care at 866-884-5650 or clientcare@vet.k-state.edu.

Next Article: Bovine Trichomoniasis Sample Submission Recommendations
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