Sample collection

Sample collection can vary based on the type of test needed. Please follow the guidelines for specific tests listed in Tests & fees

Below are additional guidelines by sample type.

  • Whole blood should be collected in a tube with anticoagulant, typically purple top (EDTA).
  • Serum must be collected in tubes with no additives, such as red top tubes or serum separator tubes. Tubes with clot activator are also acceptable. If possible, serum should be harvested by centrifugation prior to submission to ensure the most accurate results.
  • Plasma requires blood collected in tubes containing an anti-coagulant – usually a green top (heparin) or purple top (EDTA). Plasma may be harvested by centrifugation prior to submission but information about the anticoagulant used must be included in the submission.
  • Whole blood, plasma and serum cannot be used interchangeably; please double check required specimen type, tube required and quantity for each test prior to submitting. 
  • Blood for culture must be submitted in either a blood culture bottle or isolator tube (yellow top).

Carcasses intended for necropsy should be kept chilled, but not frozen, as freeze/thaw artifacts obscure gross and microscopic lesions. 

  • Carcasses should be bagged in a plastic leak-proof bag and placed in a second leakproof bag containing absorbent material (diaper or absorbent pad). A third bag is recommended to ensure no leaking occurs during shipment. Leaking packages will be destroyed.
  • An exterior label identifying the submission should be attached to the outer aspect of the sealed bags. Place submission paperwork in a separate bag to prevent damage.
  • Maintain at refrigeration temperature during transport.
  • Do not place entire small carcasses such as birds or rodents into formalin, since internal organs do not get fixed properly by this procedure. 
  • Necropsy fees are per animal.
  • A fee will be charged for sample collection from a single organ.

There is a $100 after-hours surcharge if a cadaver is dropped off after hours, on a weekend, or on a holiday.

Disposal fees are included in the necropsy fee. 

Disposal Fee Policy

WADDL does not accept bodies for disposal only.

  •  Compost is our general disposal method at no additional fee.
  • WADDL facilitates private fee-for-service cremation of animals submitted for necropsy by indicating the private cremation option on the complete WADDL accession form. Private cremation fee is a flat rate of $300.00 which includes the private cremation, a rosewood urn with the engraved name of your pet, and direct shipping to your location.
    • Cremation requests cannot be facilitated after the necropsy has been completed.
    • Post-necropsy remains for outside private cremation are limited to one 55-gallon bag (e.g., head, heart, and hooves for a horse), and WADDL will dispose of the carcass remainder according to standard procedures.
    • Pre-payment by Credit card is required for all non-clinic submissions prior to sending the pet to our cremation facility partner. 
    • Clay paw prints are also available at request for $40.00.
  • For all submissions: Please directly label the carcass or primary container so we can match the carcass to the completed form. Please follow appropriate biosafety containment procedures.

  • Submit fresh samples of ear tissue approximately 1 cm x 1 cm (use 1/2 inch notching pliers, disinfect ear notching instruments/equipment between each sample, making sure to thoroughly rinse the disinfectant before collecting the next sample).
  • For large herd sampling, contact the lab for information on sampling tubes and BAR codes, which makes collection easier and results in faster turn-around times.
  • Alternatively, place ear notches individually in an empty plain 6 or 10 ml red-top tube (no additive or gel) or 5 ml Falcon tube.

5-10 grams (1/4 cup) of feces is preferred in a leak-proof container. Maintain at refrigeration temperature post collection and during transport.

  • The majority of fluids should be collected as sterilely as possible and placed in a sterile, leak-proof container. Maintain at refrigeration temperature post collection and during transport.
  • Joint fluid or cerebral spinal fluid may be submitted in a blood culture bottle or sterile container. Ideally specimens should be maintained at room temperature post collection and during transport.

  • Helminths, adult or immature, should be placed in vials in 10% formalin and properly labeled. If formalin is not available, 70% isopropyl alcohol may be used.
  • External parasites should be submitted in 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Samples should be submitted in a leak-proof container with 70% isopropyl alcohol and properly labeled.  Slides sealed with a cover slip can be submitted but is not recommended due to parasites quickly becoming desiccated if not completely sealed.

  • Feces, tissue, or fluid specimens are preferred for bacterial culture. If swabs are utilized, submit using bacterial transport systems. To increase sample size, multiples swabs may used. If anaerobic bacteria are suspected, use a bacterial transport system designed for obligate anaerobes.
  • Dry swabs are not appropriate for bacterial culture and will be rejected.
  • Swabs for molecular diagnostic testing (PCR) should be synthetic swabs in sterile tubes. The media is specific per test, see individual tests for more information. Please note, molecular testing cannot be performed in tubes containing gel-like media.
  • Maintain at refrigeration temperature post collection and during transport.

  • Fixed tissue samples submitted for histopathology should be representative of the lesion (if noted) and the adjacent normal tissue. The sample (s) should be submitted in 10% buffered neutral formalin, and the volume ratio of formalin to sample should be at least 10 parts formalin to one part tissue.
  • For field necropsies take a complete, representative set of tissues, in addition to what appears grossly abnormal. There is one charge per case not per number of tissues submitted and significant lesions may be missed if tissues appear grossly normal.
  • Gastrointestinal samples should be gently flushed with formalin prior to submission in fresh formalin.
  • Bone samples or samples larger than 10 cm diameter will need additional sampling, special processing, and time prior to histological evaluation.
  • Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissues (blocks) can be shipped at room temperature. Blocks will be returned to the client after testing is finalized. In lieu of blocks, two tubes containing five 10-micron scrolls may be sent.

  • Submit tissues in leak-proof containers.
  • Do not pool intestinal samples with other organs (kidney, spleen, liver etc).
  • Maintain at refrigeration temperature post collection and during transport.

  • Greater than 1 ml urine preferred in a leak-proof container. Cystocentesis is the recommended method of collection.
  • Maintain at refrigeration temperature post collection and during transport.