Submit a Sample

Sample Submission

No one likes to fill out forms but we cannot function without them. If submitting for a single animal to Pullman, complete a WADDL General Accession Form for each submission.  If sending samples for multiple animals to Pullman, fill out the WADDL General Accession Form for Multiple Animals. Number the samples consecutively to match a key sheet with the animal names.

If sending birds or rabbits to Puyallup complete a AHFSL Accession Form.  If sending food samples to Puyallup, complete  a Food Safety Accession Form

Give the Laboratory as much information as possible. No detail is insignificant. Be sure to indicate all treatments and vaccinations. Also list impressions or suspected causes of the problem. Be specific in your requests so that no test will be overlooked. Names and addresses that are illegible or incomplete may cause delays from postal services. 

Live Animals

The live, sick animal typical of the problem along with very recently dead animals are the submission samples of choice. The owner should deliver the animal directly to the Laboratory. If possible, more than one animal should be delivered. Cull or runt animal submissions are to be avoided as they may yield information that is misleading. Clients should be informed that live animals submitted to the Laboratory will not be returned. If an antemortem diagnosis is desired, arrangements should be made at the Teaching Hospital. 


Intact Carcass

 The biggest handicap the Laboratory has to overcome is post-mortem autolysis. It is extremely important that the animal be necropsied as soon after death as possible. Post-mortem autolysis and putrefaction lessen the chance of establishing a diagnosis with each passing hour. If the carcass is small, it should be refrigerated. Do not enclose in a plastic bag until the carcass is well chilled. The bag will hasten autolysis from entrapped body heat. If long delays are anticipated, the carcass should be frozen. Remember, however, freezing compromises using tissues for histopathology and makes isolation of some pathogens impossible.


Submitting Birds for Necropsy 


Specimen Collection

Specimens that are properly collected and preserved are helpful in establishing a diagnosis when the animal cannot be presented to the Laboratory. Careful selection of specimens representative of the suspected disease process is critical. It is better to err by submitting excessive samples rather than an insufficient number.


Labeling Specimens

When submitting specimens, mark each container clearly and legibly with both the owner's name and veterinarian's name. Often more than one case is submitted in a single mailing and samples can be mixed accidentally. The Laboratory handles dozens of cases per day and often the same name (veterinarian or client) may appear the same day but from different locations.


WADDL does not process rabies suspect brains. Rabies diagnoses in Washington are conducted at:

WA State Public Health Laboratories
1610 NE 150th St
Shoreline, WA 98155-9701
(206) 418-5458

If you have a rabies suspect, contact your County Public Health Authorities. They will do the necessary paper work and will ship the animal head to the Seattle Laboratory. In other states, contact your Public Health Authorities, Bureau of Animal Industries or State Veterinarian.

Rabies-WNV-BSE Sampling, West Nile Virus and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) (condensed version for printing)  posted Aug. 5, 2005 

Clinical Pathology and Clinical Chemistry

A complete and separate clinical pathology laboratory is present in the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Because of this, WADDL does not duplicate this service. Questions concerning that area should be directed to: 

Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine 
Washington State University 
Pullman, WA 99164-6610 
Phone (509) 335-0711 or 335-0745 

Sample Delivery to WADDL

Shipment: The best method of shipment to the Laboratory is personal delivery by the owner or veterinarian. Specimens may also be submitted by bus, U. S. Mail, or by delivery service. Avoid shipping packages over the holidays and weekends. Laboratory people are present during these periods, but the delivery services will not get the samples to the Laboratory. Incubation in a mailroom or shipping room does not enhance the chances of isolating a primary pathogen. We suggest that samples be addressed to the laboratory rather than to an individual who may be away from the unit for various reasons and periods of time. This is not meant to discourage direct communication with members of the staff concerning cases or submissions. However, it does prevent unnecessary delays in processing samples when the addressee is away.

Mailing: The United States Postal Service has stringent regulations pertaining to the shipment of biological products. Samples must be placed in a sealed, waterproof primary container. Primary containers are to be surrounded by absorbent material sufficient to take up all possible leakage. Primary containers must then be placed in sealed secondary containers. Screw-cap closures must be reinforced with tape. For safety reasons, we do not accept samples with needles attached. Used hypodermic needles are considered to be hazardous and must be treated as an etiologic agent. If you have questions concerning classifications of hazardous, restricted or perishable matter, contact your local United States Postal Service. Restrictions among the courier services varies greatly. Most will provide a list of restrictions upon request.

USPS packages should be addressed to:

Washington State University-WADDL
P.O. Box 647034
Pullman, WA   99164-7034

Federal Express and UPS also deliver daily directly to WADDL.

Federal Express (Standard Overnight) and UPS packages should be addressed to: 

Washington State University-WADDL
155N Bustad Hall
Pullman, WA 99164-7034