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Specimens should be sent to the following address:
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Submission forms are legal documents designed to be concise, yet complete. The information requested is needed to determine which laboratory tests are appropriate, to minimize your laboratory testing charges, and to produce your results as quickly as possible. Please be as specific as possible in your testing requests.
Download ISU VDL Submission Forms here.
These submission forms may be downloaded or ordered from the lab.
Requests for specialized testing will be managed on an individual basis in consultation between the referring veterinarian and the receiving diagnostician, and with the approval of the laboratory director. Please call the VDL at 515-294-1950 for information if you have questions concerning a particular submission.
Submitters should clearly indicate on the submission form that the testing is for export purposes. Clearly indicate the specific test(s) needed, including the agent, test type, the number of passages needed if virus isolation is requested, and any special requirements imposed by the importing country.
See a Best Practice Export Guide here.
The goals of packaging are to protect the specimens from temperature extremes (freezing and heating) and to protect persons who may come into contact with the package from exposure to infectious agents. For this reason, it is extremely important to prevent leakage of specimens. Neither commercial carriers nor the U.S. Postal Service will deliver containers that leak. Leak-proof specimen containers, abundant icepacks with chilled fresh specimens, and an insulated leak-proof transport container lined with a plastic bag are required.
Check with your local post office or commercial carrier for current requirements of the Department of Transportation for shipping biological diagnostic materials. These include specifications for approved package liners and exterior labels.
Choose a method of transportation that will ensure timely delivery to the laboratory. We receive U.S. Mail and UPS deliveries Monday through Friday. Other commercial carriers deliver as needed. Upon request, shipping cartons will be returned at the submitter's expense.
To be sure that samples receive prompt and proper care, schedule their arrival during standard business hours. Always consider the potential impact of holidays and weekends on shipping schedules before sending packages by commercial carriers. Personal delivery by the owner is often appropriate. Download a map and directions to the VDL for your convenience.
After-hours emergency service is available on weeknights, weekends, and during University holidays by calling our on-call student at 515-290-1969 who can assist and also provide access to diagnostic pathologists and toxicologists.
Samples delivered to the ISU VDL after-hours can now be placed directly in a refrigerator located inside the VDL submission door foyer.
After entering the foyer, follow the procedure below for leaving samples in the refrigerator for submission:
Our goal is to provide accurate results and timely service. However, some diagnostic assays are not performed daily and/or testing schedules may change. If your case involves testing animals for export, testing show animals, testing animals to be sold, and/or testing a large number of samples, please contact the VDL (515-294-1950) prior to submission to verify the availability and turnaround time of specific assays. A phone call will often shorten turnaround time by providing us time to prepare for testing prior to receipt of samples.
Admission of unauthorized persons to the post mortem room is prohibited. Diseased animals with a multitude of infectious agents are handled on a daily basis by the laboratory and we wish to avoid transmission of disease to your clients' animals. Diagnosticians will discuss case histories outside the post mortem area.
All submissions received by the VDL are assigned an accession number (case number). The referring veterinarian will receive an email or FAX listing the species received, the owner, the VDL accession number, and diagnostician(s) in charge of the case.
Results are reported only to the referring veterinarian. When calling to inquire about a case, please be prepared to provide the VDL accession number. If requested, preliminary and/or final results may be FAXed to the referring veterinarian. The charge for FAX reporting of results is $1 per fax. Final reports are mailed to the referring veterinarian.
The VDL laboratory information management system (ISULIMS) provides Internet access to laboratory results. A user name and password may be obtained that will allow access to reports and to a running total of charges for each case as soon as each test is completed and approved. This allows continuous access to diagnostic results, which can be printed for your files or saved as an Excel spreadsheet. To sign up for this service, please call the lab at 515-294-1950.
Several infectious or contagious diseases are considered reportable and/or quarantinable under current regulations. As required by law, these diseases are reported to the responsible state or federal agencies. If you are uncertain about the reporting status of a disease, please contact the office of the State Veterinarian. Notifiable diseases include any livestock or poultry disease designated as a ‘Foreign Animal Disease’ by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Veterinary Services (USDA, APHIS, VS) and also the following:
The VDL faculty and staff are available for assistance with sample and test selection, as well as to offer tips on preservation and transportation of specimens. The VDL can assist in interpretation of results, but the final diagnosis and plan of action are the responsibility of the referring veterinarian. Additional animal health expertise and information is available through Veterinary Medicine Extension (515-294-3837) and faculty in Food Supply Veterinary Medicine (515-294-3837). Refer to Contact Information for additional information.
See ISU VDL current fee schedule here.
The VDL is authorized to charge fees to users of laboratory services. User fees support the wide range of diagnostic services offered and supplement state funding. All fees are billed to the submitting veterinarian. Please consult the printed fee schedule, the VDL website, or call the VDL for current charges.
The submission form should be used to indicate specific tests or procedures requested by the referring veterinarian. If multiple tests are requested and/or the diagnostician is instructed to use their own judgment in requesting tests, then an indication of monetary limitations should be provided by the referring veterinarian. Requests for specialized or non-routine testing will be assessed on an individual basis in consultation between the referring veterinarian and the receiving diagnostician, and with the approval of the laboratory director.
Along with the final report, you will receive an invoice showing the case charges. At the end of the month, a statement is sent from the University Accounts Receivable Office showing each invoice number and the charge. You are encouraged to keep the invoice received from our laboratory for cross-reference on the billing from Accounts Receivable. Payment is due on the 15th of the month. A 1.0% finance charge is added after 30 days.
VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards are now accepted as another form of payment. These transactions can be made in person or by telephone during normal business hours.
No animal carcasses body parts or ashes will be returned/released to veterinarians or animal owners. Arrangement for pickup by authorized crematory service is an option. No cosmetic necropsies will be performed on animals/bodies submitted to the laboratory for necropsy/testing.
Please call the Laboratory Director with questions and additional details relating to these policies.
Rapid changes in livestock production and disease management coupled with the fast pace of technology in medicine and diagnostics, have resulted in increased requests for the return of biological agents. The VDL will return isolates either to the submitting veterinarian or to a third party laboratory, e.g., for use in the manufacture of immunizing agents. Because of issues of safety, efficacy, and ownership, the VDL is required by the University to obtain a signed release form prior to providing agents to the submitter. Release forms can be faxed to you and the VDL will accept a faxed, signed copy in return. There is a fee for providing isolates (see the VDL fee schedule here ). Following a request for a virus isolate, 7-10 days is required to propagate sufficient virus for transfer.
If you anticipate multiple requests, we can issue a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will cover all agents requested within a specified time period. Then with each request you will receive a statement confirming transfer for the specific agent to which the transfer agreement will apply. You can request it from the VDL.