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Sample Submission Information & Laboratory Policies
(go to Tests and Fees)

Basic VMDL Policies:

  • Please call the VMDL for pricing of custom procedures and research proposals.
  • Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Results can be reported by E-mail, fax or U.S. mail.
  • By submitting specimens to the lab, clients are considered to have agreed to VMDL testing procedures and policies, including billing.
  • It is the shipper’s responsibility to make sure that diagnostic specimens are packaged according to current shipping rules and regulations.
  • Specimens submitted to the VMDL become VMDL property.

Submit all laboratory samples to one of the following addresses:

Post Office Mailing Address
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab
P.O. Box 6023
Columbia, MO 65205

Courier Street Delivery Address
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab
1600 E. Rollins (UPS, FedEx, etc)
Columbia, MO 65211

For Overnight Delivery call the VMDL 1-800-862-8635 to obtain information about submitting specimens at a reduced cost. The shipping costs will be added
to your account upon receipt of delivery. Please arrange shipping so specimens arrive between 8 am – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. No one is available to accept
packages over the weekend. If a particular test is not listed, call 1-800-UMC-VMDL to obtain information regarding availability, pricing, sample submission and
packaging required.

Referral Service:There are a few tests that are not performed routinely by the VMDL. Samples received requesting such tests will be forwarded to an appropriate lab for testing. We will refer samples to laboratories that are reliable, rapid, and as inexpensive as possible. If a test is not listed, call to find out if the test is available
and, if not, where it will be sent. A handling fee of $10.00 will be added for submitting specimens to other referral laboratories, in addition to the actual mailing
costs incurred and test charges.

Specimens for rabies testing can only be submitted to the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory. Contact your local health department regarding proper submission of the specimen, or go to http://www.dhss.mo.gov/Lab/Virology/RabiesTesting.html for additional information.

Turn Around Time: Working days after sample is received (Working Days=M-F, Day=24 hours).

Collection and Preparation of Specimens

Necropsy: Live, sick, untreated animals that show typical clinical signs, along with dead animals that have not undergone decomposition or treatment, are the specimens of choice. Dead animals should be necropsied as soon as possible after death. If size permits, animals should be refrigerated until necropsied. The owner should be encouraged to bring animals to the laboratory when the veterinarian cannot. Submission of more than one animal, when possible, will increase the chances of a rapid, accurate diagnosis.

Specimens:When the whole animal cannot be brought to the laboratory, properly collected and preserved specimens may be helpful in arriving at a diagnosis. Careful selection of specimens representative of the suspected disease process, as well as a good history, are very important.

Submission Forms: Contact the lab for submission forms. Filling out forms correctly can make the difference between an accurate or inaccurate diagnosis. The laboratory worker is under the handicap of never having seen cases with which you may have become very familiar. Carefully written histories promote meaningful diagnoses. If a zoonotic disease, such as rabies, is suspected, please indicate on the submission form so the specimen can be handled properly and unnecessary exposure can be avoided.

Labeling Specimens: Clearly mark your name and the owner’s name on each container. Proper identification eliminates the possibility of a specimen becoming separated from its submission form or being switched with another specimen. Please clearly mark specimens that are suspected of being hazardous to human health, i.e., rabies, mycoses, anthrax, brucellosis, leptospirosis, etc.

Histopathology:Sections of most tissues should be no thicker than 1/4 inch (6 mm) and should include lesional and normal tissue when possible. Brain is best submitted without sectioning or with coronal sections at 1-2 inch intervals. Spinal cord may be submitted intact (with the dura mater opened) or in segments at least 1 inch in length. Intestine should be submitted in segments 1-2 inches in length. Lymph nodes should be sectioned once in the sagittal plane. Large masses should be incised. Do not use narrow mouthed containers.

Mycology: Skin scrapings, hair, crusts or scabs should be placed in a sterile, dry, screw-capped tube. When a deep or systemic fungus infection is suspected, specimens should be collected and transported in the same manner as bacteriology samples. Tissues and body fluids are preferred over swabs.

Bacteriology: Specimens collected for isolation and identification of infectious agents need to be fresh, collected as aseptically as possible, and transported to the laboratory as rapidly as possible under refrigeration (ice packs). For bacterial isolation, culturette swabs should be used. BBL Port- A-Cul tubes or Remel’s Act I with anaerobic transport media are recommended by anaerobic culture.

Clinical Pathology: Freshly made smears should be submitted along with EDTA-anticoagulated whole blood. Slides submitted for cytological evaluations should be protected from Formalin fumes. Plastic slide holders are preferred over cardboard mailers with proper packaging. Blood, fluids and feces should be shipped on ice to arrive the day after collection. Chemistries: Serum or plasma should be separated from the cells and submitted in a separate tube, even if serum separator tubes are used. Separate serum or plasma within 1 hour of collection. Aspirates, imprints, and smears: Fluids may be submitted (in EDTA tubes), but direct or sedimentation smears should always accompany the fluid. All smears should be air-dried, unfixed, and kept as dust-free as possible. Smears of bone marrow aspirates should be accompanied by current CBC results, or, preferably, by fresh smears and EDTA-anticoagulated blood collected simultaneously with the bone marrow aspirate. If you have questions regarding the collection and submission of correct samples specifically for clinical pathology, please call the Clinical Pathology Laboratory (573-882-3338).

For large multiple sample submissions, advanced planning will be necessary.  Please contact the laboratory.

Immunohistochemistry: Follow the general rules for histopathology. Adequate fixation is critical for immunohistochemical stains; autolyzed tissues usually give unexpected results. Fix tissues for 24-48 hours in 10% neutral buffered formalin solution. Indicate the time and date samples were put in fixative. Please indicate if fixative other than formalin is used.

Molecular Diagnostics:Specimens for PCR/RT-PCR assays should be fresh and submitted as aseptically as possible. Tissues, swabs, feces and fluids are acceptable specimens. If whole blood is submitted, use the anticoagulant EDTA. Due to the sensitivity of these assays, care must be taken during sample collection to minimize cross-contamination between specimens. Transport specimens under refrigeration (ice packs).

Parasitology: Fecal samples should be refrigerated during shipment. If there is a delay, they can be shipped in 10% formalin. Parasites, external and internal, can be fixed and submitted in 70% ethyl alcohol; skin scraping may be submitted in a closed glass bottle.

Serology: Clear sera should be submitted for testing. If blood is collected in a red top tube, please separate serum from clot before submitting, or use a gel separator and separate the serum from the clot before submitting.

Toxicology: Basic guidelines for Toxicology Sample Submission

FAQs

Fresh Tissues

 GI Contents/Feed/Baits

Fluids

What samples?

Liver, kidney, fat and ½ brain*

Vomitus; stomach, rumen, abomasal or intestinal contents; feedstuffs/baits

Whole blood, serum, ocular fluid, urine, water

How much?

50 -100 grams; ½ brain sectioned longitudinally

50 -500 grams of gastro-intestinal contents; 250-450 grams of feedstuffs/baits

5-10 mL blood, serum, ocular fluid; 20-50 mL urine**; 250 to 1,000 mL water***

How stored?

NO FIXATION; re-frigerated or, ideally, frozen

Vomitus and GI contents frozen; feed samples and baits kept dry in plastic or, ideally, paper bags

Refrigerated; frozen for ammonia analyses; 1:1 dilution of 5-10 mL of water in 10% formalin for blue-green algae ID

How packaged?

Secondary containers

Secondary containers

Secondary containers

*If neurological signs and not zoonotic disease suspect; **at least 50 mL for Cantharidin analysis send-off; ***5 to 10 mL of water “fixed” (see below) for blue-green algae identification. Please call 800-862-8635 and ask to talk to Drs. Evans or Rottinghaus for questions not answered in the toxicology portion of the price list (pages 13-14).

Virology: Specimens collected for isolation and identification of infectious agents need to be fresh, collected as aseptically as possible, and transported to the laboratory as rapidly as possible under refrigeration (ice packs). For viral examination, tissues, swabs, or liquid samples may be submitted. Specimens should be placed in a sterile container and double-bagged to prevent leakage and contamination. Viral transport media is available through the lab.

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P.O Box 6023
Columbia, MO 65205-6023
573-882-6811
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