Sample selection, as well as proper collecting and handling of samples, is of critical importance prior to the submission of samples for virology. Please consider the following points.
- Please complete an appropriate Submission Form, available on the Forms page, and submit with sample.
- Appropriate samples should be selected after the probable diagnoses have been considered. See manual for a listing of suggested specimens for each virus. If your virus of choice is not listed in this guide, please call the ADDL for instructions.
- Swabs, fecals, or tissue samples taken as aseptically as possible from animals in the early stages of clinical disease are best. Most viral infections are cleared approximately 5 days after onset of signs.
- Postmortem samples should be taken immediately after the animal has died. Organ tissues, to be evaluated separately, should be taken aseptically and packaged individually in plastic bags. Segments of gastrointestinal tract (2-4" segments) should be submitted intact (unopened) and tied off with string or twine. Intestines or contents should not be placed in the same plastic bag as organ tissues. Additional tissue is required when more than one examination (e.g., VI, FATS, EM) is requested.
- Selection of the area of larger organs, such as lung, liver, and brain, is often important. In tissue with marked changes, higher levels of virus are generally found at the active edge of a lesion. Necrotic centers of lesions or areas of normal tissue are often non-productive specimens for isolation.
- Fecals preserved with one (1) part formalin to nine (9) parts feces are examined by electron microscopy for viral particles. Fresh, chilled fecals can be processed for viral isolation and/or electron microscopy. Do not freeze materials to be examined by electron microscopy.
- Samples should arrive in the laboratory as quickly as possible in a chilled state (32-34°F). Insulated containers with ice packs are suitable for this purpose. Avoid fluctuating temperatures and slow freezing. The level of virus in tissue (when it arrives at the laboratory) is always less than at the time of collection.
- Pertinent information concerning history, premise ID, herd size, owner's name, numbers and ages of animals involved, vaccinations, etc., should accompany the samples on CF.369 Regular Submission Form. When possible, be specific as to the types of viral examinations being requested to avoid unnecessary charges.
- Please notify the Virology Laboratory 24-48 hours prior to submitting large numbers (>20) simultaneously.