Sample Collection for Toxicology Samples
By Dr. Steve Ensley
Sample collection and handling is critical for toxicology analysis. The appropriate sample must be collected and preserved so that accurate analysis can be completed.
In general for animals that die acutely without clinical signs, collection of urine, stomach content and ocular fluid are helpful. In addition to these samples fresh liver, kidney, fat and brain should be collected and refrigerated or frozen.
Do not formalize any tissues that will be used for toxicology testing. There is no poison screen that can be conducted that will detect all potential toxins.
Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) can be used as a general screen to identify potential toxins that are volatile. In addition, there is a toxic element screen that can be done to screen for metals. There are other specific analysis that can be done to identify potential toxins but discussion with a toxicologist should be done.
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