Bovine Submission Guidelines

Collecting and Submitting Bovine Samples for Diagnosis

Selection and Collection of Tissues/Samples

  • All samples should be taken from recently dead (or euthanized) cattle. Samples taken from animals dead for several hours (depending on ambient temperatures) may not be helpful due to advanced autolysis and overgrowth by non-pathogenic organisms.
  • Ideally, samples should be taken from untreated animals exhibiting acute disease.
  • Samples for detection (bacterial culture, virus isolation, or PCR) of the pathogen should be fresh (refrigerated). Fresh tissue samples should be sufficiently large to allow culture; fist-sized sections of tissues such as lung or liver are appropriate. They may be placed seperately in Ziploc® or Whirl-pak® bags. These samples should not be fixed in formalin. Samples intended for culture to recover isolates for autogenous bacterin production should be fresh, i.e., not fixed in formalin.
  • Formalin-fixed samples should be kept seperate from fresh samples.
  • Intestinal samples should be at least two inches in length. These samples should be kept separate from other samples to avoid contamination.
  • If using culture swabs and transport media, be sure to use the appropriate media:
    • For mycoplasma or viral isolation, always use the recommended medium.
    • For bacterial isolation, avoid using mycoplasma or viral media which contain antimicrobials and may inhibit growth of the desired pathogen.


  • All samples should be "double-bagged" to reduce the chance of leaking. This includes formalin-fixed samples.
  • All samples (unless noted otherwise) should be refrigerated until shipped. For shipping, choose the method that will assure samples will be received in 48 hours or less. Avoid sending tissues over a weekend. Appropriate amounts of ice (cold packs) should be used. In hot weather, additional ice packs should be included.
  • Free diagnostic shippers are available upon request.