Sending Samples

Sending Samples

We aim to process samples and deliver results as efficiently as possible, to help ensure we can do this we ask customers follow our guidelines for sending samples

Samples in storage fridge

Sending Samples - General Guidance

  • For all customers sending samples, it is essential to include the appropriate submission form, with all required fields filled out.
  • Our mailroom is open 7 days a week, unless otherwise stated, there are no issues sending samples to us on Friday.
  • Be aware we are not able to accept samples from abortions or stillbirths for testing, with the exception of maternal serology.
What to avoid
  • Using excessive sellotape on outer packaging
  • Sending haemolysed blood
  • Using gloves or any other non-leak proof container
  • Writing multiple sample numbers on a single sample container
  • Placing samples in non-sequential order in boxes containing multiple samples
  • Using a container if sample content has seeped onto its exterior


All samples (expect ruminant bacteriology, pigeon & game bird):

Biobest Laboratories Ltd
6 Charles Darwin House
The Edinburgh Technopole
Milton Bridge,
EH26 0PY

Ruminant bacteriology, pigeon & game bird only:

Biobest Laboratories Ltd
Castle House,
Dale Road
Sheriff Hutton,
YO60 6RZ

Sending Samples Video

We have produced this video explaining our guidelines for sending samples in the correct manner.

Order Avian Testing Kits

Sending Samples By Royal Mail

Royal Mail should accept all samples for routine diagnostic testing. Royal Mail do not accept Category A infectious material, but this should not affect routine veterinary samples. General guidance from the HSE is that samples (blood, tissue, excreta, secreta etc.) from humans or animal are considered to be Category B infectious substances. These samples are then assigned to UN3373 and must be packaged according to IATA PI:650 for transport. There is an added complication that for Category B samples each individual package must hold a total of less than 50ml of liquid or 50g of tissue.

Samples which are taken for serology testing from a healthy animal are exempt from UN3373. Specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present are not subject to the regulations (meaning volumes over 50ml/50g can be sent) if the specimen is packed in a packaging which will prevent any leakage and which is marked with the words “Exempt human specimen” or “Exempt animal specimen” as appropriate.

Sending Samples By Courier Service

We receive deliveries a daily basis from courier services including:

  • TNT
  • DHL
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • ParcelForce.

For overseas customers sending us samples for rabies antibody testing, please make clear to your courier service that the samples are for routine diagnostic testing and non-hazardous.

Sending respiratory PCR samples

  • Plain dry swabs are preferred to achieve maximum sensitivity
  • Other swabs may be tested on request with the exception of gel/agar swabs which are not suitable for this assay
  • Laryngeal swabs suitable for the test are available on request for a small charge
  • Tissue samples and BAL fluid can also be tested
  • Pooling of 3 samples from animals in the same management group with similar duration of clinical signs may be an acceptable approach however this may have an effect on sensitivity of the assay
  • More than 5 samples for pooling will not be accepted and result in more than one pool being made and charged for
  • If pooling of samples is requested this must be between samples of the same type as each sample type requires different processing
  • Samples should be sent by overnight post (preferably guaranteed) so that they are received at the laboratory within 24 hours of collection
  • If possible keep the samples chilled during transport
  • If samples are collected on a Friday they should be frozen at the practice over the weekend and sent to us on Monday with freezer packs/blocks to ensure they remain frozen
  • Do not send samples over the weekend as they will not be able to be stored correctly once they are in transit/arrive at the laboratory
  • Due to the multiple PCRs required there is a test limit of 10 samples at a time therefore at this busy time we may not always be able to fit all samples on the routine Thursday test
  • We will schedule extra tests where possible in order to meet our test turnaround