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Guidelines on Sample Collection

Samples should be submitted as soon as possible after being collected. If immediate delivery is not possible then it is generally recommended that samples be refrigerated (not frozen) until delivery is possible.

Sample bottles should be clearly labelled with an animal number or with a reference number that can be associated with an animal number on the sample submission form ( download submission form ).

Samples should be collected in an appropriate container type, pertinent to the tests that are required. Examples of the sample types typically required are listed below. If there is any doubt about what sample type is preferred for a particular test, then it is safer to contact the local RVL for clarification.


EDTA (Purple top)¿ Routine haematology and differential blood counts.

Lithium Heparin (Green top)¿ Selenium, Zinc (rubber free tubes), Glutathione Peroxidase, Malignant Catarrhal Fever.

Fluoride Oxalate (Grey top)¿ Glucose.

Clotted/No Anticoagulant (Red top)- All other blood tests.


Dry (or dipped in sterile water)- Virology.

Dry or immersed in charcoal media- Bacteriology.


Fresh (in a sterile, screw-top container)¿ Bacteriology, virology.

In formalin solution- Histopathology.


Fresh (in a sterile, screw-top container)¿ Bacteriology.

Adding a preservative tablet to a milk sample renders it unsuitable for bacteriological examination.


Fresh (in a sterile screw-top container)- Bacteriology, parasitology, virology.

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