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Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

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Summer Shipping Guidelines

By: Rachel Corn, VT

Summer conjures up memories of bonfires at the lake and fishing in the sun but how does the changing season affect your diagnostic samples that you send in for testing? As ambient temperatures warm up this spring headed into summer, there are five things to consider when sending samples to Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory: ice packs, absorbent padding, paperwork, insulation, and shipping.

In the winter you may be able to ship packages without ice packs and everything turns out fine, but that is not the case in the summer. Everything except fixed tissue and Trichomonas samples need to have enough ice packs in the shipment to keep them cold during transit. 

Second, if you are shipping glass blood tubes, glass slides, or anything else that is fragile, you need to protect the samples from getting crushed by the frozen ice packs. Many things can be used for padding including paper towels, newspaper, and cloth towels. This material will also aid in absorbency in case a sample does break or leak during transit. 

One thing that is often over looked is the paperwork. You print out the correct form, fill it out, and place it in the box right? This is mostly correct but as the ice packs melt and produce condensation the paperwork becomes wet and illegible. When shipping with ice packs you always need to place your submission form in a plastic bag so that it arrives in good shape.

So you have your samples, your ice packs, your paperwork bagged, and your padding material but what should you put them in? In order to make your ice packs last until they arrive at KSVDL an insulated cooler box in your best option. This can be a recycled box that your clinic saves or new boxes that you order just for your samples. If you need a box, KSVDL offers an insulated return box for $11. Every time we receive this box we automatically ship it back to your clinic (after taking the samples out) so that it can be reused. We also replace the box if it becomes damaged or worn. You can order these by contacting Client Care at 866-512-5650 or clientcare@vet.k-state.edu.

The last thing you need to consider is how long it is going to be in transit. It is unlikely that ice packs will last 3-4 days even in an insulated box. In summer, overnight delivery is recommended. KSVDL offers discounted UPS labels to decrease shipping costs. Through KSVDL, next day air labels are $15, second day air labels are $9, ground labels are $7, and Saturday delivery labels are $22. You can order these two ways: 1) online at www.ksvdl.org and click “Create UPS Labels” or 2) by contacting Client Care. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information about any of the shipping supplies that we offer please contact Client Care at 866-512-5650 or clientcare@vet.k-state.edu.

Rachel Corn received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Industry with an Equine Science Certificate from Kansas State University. She then completed an associate degree in Veterinary Technology from Brown Mackie-Salina. She is a Client Care Technician at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

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