Submission Guidelines

General Submission Information

The WVDL restricts the submissions of samples to veterinarians only.  This limitation is based on the WVDL’s needs for sample integrity, sample quality, and appropriate case history.  In addition to veterinarians, the WVDL accepts poultry submissions from owners and submissions from certified fish health inspectors, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies. The WVDL also accepts hunter harvested CWD samples (information can be found under the Submission Guidelines in the CWD Hunter Submission tab or at  The submitter is billed for test services. The WVDL will not accept any cases with potential for litigation from out of state.

For submissions of samples to the WVDL, a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) must be established, which requires examination of the animal(s) in-person, for a veterinarian to provide any information on treatment for any species of animal (Wisconsin Statutes 89.02 8b). If a veterinarian is not associated with a submission, the WVDL can provide results and commentary only for those samples and/or carcasses submitted, and recommends that you contact a local veterinarian for assistance with clinical care, medical therapies, and disease prevention. Please see the following resources as references for VCPR and poultry practitioners in Wisconsin:

Please use the current versions of all WVDL forms available on our forms page.  The best method is to print them directly from our website. Make sure we have your email address to facilitate delivery of test results to you. Please make sure all required fields on submission forms are filled out and select the tests you need carefully. We need this info to process your requests without delays.

In general, our information system automatically sends a confirmation of sample receipt. The confirmation details your submission information and provides an accession number for reference.

The WVDL sends result reports via email and FAX or can be accessed via the Client Portal. For a $5.00 fee we will also mail result reports for finalized accessions through the US Postal Service. E-mail is the most efficient for receiving result reports.

A Statement Regarding Ownership of Specimens

Specimens submitted to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) must be accompanied by a completed submission form. Use of this submission form signifies acceptance of a contract with the WVDL for test results and interpretation of results. Specimens submitted and isolates derived from them become the property of the WVDL. The WVDL maintains the right to refer a portion of the specimen to an appropriate laboratory for additional testing.  The WVDL also maintains the right to use the specimens for any lawful purpose, including but not limited to performing applied research and test development.

General Packaging / Shipping Regulation Information

Insulated shippers with ice packs or dry ice should be used when appropriate to ensure proper temperature requirements for sample integrity.  Submission forms and any other paper included in the shipment should be put in a separate plastic bag.  Leak proof secondary containment, adsorbent material and proper labeling is the responsibility of the submitter. The WVDL receives samples Monday-Friday 7:45 AM – 4:30 PM and suggests to refrain from shipping perishable specimens on Fridays.

The Department of Transportation 49 C.F.R. (§172.700 – 172.704) has set specific guidelines for the proper packaging of biological materials for shipment. Diagnostic specimens, potentially infectious specimens, and other animal products are considered hazardous materials. Shipping services may refuse to handle any package that shows signs of internal breakage, spillage, or dampness. As the shipper, you could be held legally responsible for improperly packaged specimens. Careful packaging and labeling is essential. Some guidelines follow. Feel free to contact us with questions. There are three different categories that all animal specimens fall under.

  • Exempt Animal Specimens

Most diagnostic specimens that are transported for routine testing not related to the diagnosis of an infectious disease can be shipped as exempt animal specimens. Typically, these are specimens for which there is a low probability that the sample is infectious and can be sent in a package simply labeled “Exempt Animal Specimen”.  A pre-printed label or clear handwritten labeling is acceptable. No shipping paperwork is required.  Samples must still be packaged in appropriate leak-proof packaging capable of protecting the contents.  An example is bovine serum samples from healthy animals submitted for Johne’s disease testing.

  • Biological Substance Category B

Category B includes substances that may be or are known to be infectious but do not meet the criteria for inclusion in Category A.  The package must be labeled “Biological Substance, Category B” and also bear a UN3373 diamond label. Most potentially infectious diagnostic specimens submitted for veterinary diagnostic testing in this category include fecal samples, fluids and excreta, postmortem tissue samples for bacteriological, parasitological or viral testing.

  • Biological Substance Category A

Category A includes substances transported in a form that, when exposure occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals. Most North American veterinarians will not need to ship specimens included in this category. These specimens require special packaging and documentation.  Unless you are trained in routine handling of these kinds of samples, you should seek assistance before shipping anything in this category.

Here are some helpful links from some major courier services on packaging and labeling of biological substances.

Serology Submissions

Blood tubes should be labeled with animal identification and position number matching the submission form. When multiple tests are requested it is helpful to provide multiple tubes of serum.  Please provide a minimum of 2 ml of serum per test.  To expedite turnaround time of submissions larger than 10 samples please use our electronic submission forms below.  This will eliminate transcription errors and make data entry for your submission faster.   We can provide 54-count blood tube shipper boxes at your request with a maximum of 24 shippers per order. Additionally UPS Lab Pack Exempt Animal Specimen plastic shipper bags can be sent per your request. Use this form – Veterinary Supply Order Form.

Tests run by ELISA may be significantly affected by hemolysis of the specimen.  Sending unspun clotted blood frequently results in hemolysis and may cause erroneous test results.  This is especially critical for regulatory disease testing such as for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).  The WVDL may be unable to do the testing you have requested if the specimen is hemolyzed or otherwise inadequate. Sending separated serum is the most reliable way to avoid this.

  • Electronic Submission of Accession Details:

WVDL now provides a template Excel spreadsheet that makes it possible for clients to electronically provide details for submissions. This can be very helpful for DVM’s and clinic staff as well as the WVDL. In prototyping this feature we have found it eliminates many data entry errors and saves hours of time spent both by both submitters and the lab, especially on larger submissions. Please see the following two files:

Excel Spreadsheet for Electronic Submission

Instructions for above Excel Spreadsheet Template

Additional Information

  • Sample Collection/Instructions

Bacterial Culture of Colostrum, Calf Milk Replacer and Waste Milk Sampling Instructions

BVD PCR Sampling Collection Guidelines

Total Solids Testing-Waste Milk & Calf Milk Replacer Sampling & Transport Instructions

Use of Deep Nasopharyngeal Swabs for Bovine Respiratory  Disease Testing

Waste Milk Sampling Instructions

  • Submission Guidelines

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Bottle Necropsy

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Bovine Campylobacter and Trichomonas 

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Enteric Disease

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Large and Small Ruminant Abortion

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Neonatal Calves

Diagnostic Submission Guidelines: Respiratory Disease