Keep specimens refrigerated or packed with coolant until cultured. Label swabs and fluids as to the source of the specimen so that the proper culture medium can be utilized. Labeling is imperative and specimens will not be cultured if source is unknown. Submit swabs in transport medium. This prevents drying of swab and death of organisms - a common cause of negative cultures. Request cultures for specific organisms when possible as special media may be needed for certain organisms.

Stoppered tubes, OB sleeves, gloves, coffee cups, and syringes are not appropriate containers for microbiology specimens! For culture of blood, the only acceptable samples are collected in blood culture bottles that are commercially available.

Separate specimens should be sent when requesting bacterial culture and sensitivity, anaerobic and fungal cultures, or virus isolation. Fungal cultures must be requested specifically.

Collect fresh tissue aseptically as soon after death as possible. Pack tissues separately in individually labeled bags. This is especially important with sections of intestine (mandatory for meaningful results). Ship with ice packs in an insulated container.

For urine swabs or samples, keep refrigerated, and submit to the laboratory as soon as possible. Ship with ice packs in an insulated container.

Trichomonas requires special transport media. Call laboratory before collection of sample. Trichomonas specimens are cold-sensitive should be shipped at ambient temperature – no ice packs. As of October 2015, all the Trichomonas testing for cattle have been completed using the PCR. PCR will be run on Monday’s. ALL samples will need to be submitted to the Lab by noon on Friday for Monday’s run or results will be delayed. Please follow the Rules for inPouch TF or TF Transit Tube Submission Instructions.

Campylobacter and Mycoplasma require special media for isolation. Swabs can be submitted in a specimen bag if only mycoplasma PCR is requested. 

Milk samples are preferably collected in sterile screw-cap or snap-top plastic tubes. Label each tube with a waterproof marker. Ship with ice packs in an insulated container. Notify the laboratory if antibiotic sensitivity tests are needed for bacterial isolates. Contact the laboratory at least 24 hours before submitting large numbers of milk samples (>50).

ALERT: Botulism Testing
To better serve our clients with a wider array of testing for Clostridium botulinum toxins, effective immediately, the Botulism testing is being subcontracted to national reference lab(s). 

Blood cultures require sterile blood collection bottles (commercially available). Ship with ice packs in an insulated container.

Tritrichomonas foetus Testing Directions