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Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

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Tips for Submitting Diagnostic Samples

By Rachel Corn, VT

To optimize the possibility of a diagnosis from submissions, it is important to follow a few simple submission guidelines.

This article offers some tips concerning sample type, appropriate container type, and other information.

Sample containers:
Submitting samples in the correct containers is very important. Exam or OB gloves are not appropriate container types. There are times when they have to used, but their use should be kept to a minimum.   

Zip lock or Whirl pack bags are best for larger tissue samples and fecal samples. Red top tubes are appropriate for liquid samples, small tissues/biopsies and swabs.  Remember, swabs submitted in gel media cannot be used for PCR testing.

Sample size:

In general a larger sample is better, but shipping and packaging expenses can be lessened when sending only the amount of sample that is needed.  

Below are some sample-size guidelines for specific diagnostic testing.

Bacteriology/culture: 3 inch by 3 inch sample 

PCR and Virology:  0.4 by 0.4 inch sample

Histopathology: fixed tissue no greater than 0.4 inches thick

(A mass, brain, eye or spleen: it is preferred the entire structure be submitted.)

A minimum of 20 parts formalin to 1 part tissue is required for proper fixation.

Parasitology:  0.2 ounces of feces (approximately 1 teaspoon: the size of a Hersey Chocolate Kiss™)

All fresh tissues, feces, and blood/serum should be shipped on frozen ice packs.

It is also helpful to place the submission form in a separate bag for protection in case sample leaks.

KSVDL offers price discounted UPS labels as well as necropsy kits which include all the containers, etc. for submission.

If you have any questions on packaging or testing please contact KSVDL Client Care at clientcare@vet.k-state.edu or 866-512-5650.

Timely Diagnostic Tests Offered at KSVDL
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