Sample Requirements

Sample Handling Requirements

For our tests, we recommend an 8-12 hour fasted serum sample for non-diabetic patients, and a 6 hour fasted serum sample for diabetic patients. Please note that the serum MUST be separated from the blood clot and serum should be transferred into a new tube. The serum sample may be sent in a red top tube or any other leak-proof tube without additives as long as the serum is separated from the clot. Wrap the tube in enough absorbent material (e.g., paper towels) to absorb its entire contents in case of a spill, and place it in a plastic (i.e., ziploc) bag. Include at least one gel ice pack with your shipment to keep the sample at cool temperatures. Do not include ice cubes. Please note that lipemia and hemolysis may interfere with some test results, therefore we prefer a clear serum sample that is not lipemic or hemolytic to avoid inaccurate results.

Please find below the absolute minimum SERUM requirements. Any volume less than this can result in cancellation or incomplete testing.

Canine
canine TLI (cTLI) 400 μl
Cobalamin/Folate (CF) 500 μl
cTLI/Cobalamin/Folate 750 μl
cPLI (spec cPL) 100 μl
cTLI/cPLI 600 μl
cPLI (spec cPL) /CF 600 μl
cTLI/cPLI (spec cPL)/CF 850 μl
Feline
feline TLI (fTLI) 200 μl
Cobalamin/Folate (CF) 500 μl
fTLI/CF 650 μl
feline PLI (fPLI) 100 μl
fTLI/fPLI 500 μl
fPLI/CF 600 μl
fTLI/fPLI/CF 700 μl
Non species specific
Cobalamin/Folate (CF) 500 μl
FT4 400 μl
TT4,TSH, Cortisols each 400 μl
Bile Acids 400 μl
Cardiac Troponin 500 μl

We recommend that you send your sample with Fed-Ex or UPS. Please do not mail packages through US mail (USPS).The various analytes have different stability in serum. Serum TLI and PLI are stable for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, however if sending with cobalamin/folate the following storage and shipping conditions should be followed for the sample:

  • Serum samples for folate analysis should be kept at 4°C (refrigerated) for not longer than 48 hours, freezing is preferred.
  • We recommend that any samples with serum cobalamin/folate analysis as any portion of the testing be shipped overnight either frozen or at least with ice packs to keep them cooled during shipment.
  • Some assays such as gastrin and cardiac troponin are not stable unless frozen. Please see individual assays for recommendations.

Please note that there is NO Saturday delivery for the GI Lab at Texas A&M University. Packages will sit unattended until we return on Monday even for FedEx or UPS.

Note: Due to delivery procedures at such a large university, packages sent with the US Postal Service can often be delayed or even lost within departments. Please DO NOT use the US Postal Service as a carrier.

Fecal samples for fecal alpha 1 - Proteinase Inhibitor testing need to arrive frozen at the laboratory in special tubes. Please call the lab for more information on ordering these tubes. We highly recommend shipping such samples overnight on dry ice.

Collections and Shipping information for fecal PCR, IFA, and Bacterial Toxin Assays

For these tests we will require 2­-4 grams (size of 1-2 walnuts) of fresh feces. For storage and shipping, please collect the sample and ship as soon as possible for best results.

Samples can be stored in the refrigerator over the weekend if you cannot ship by Thursday. (Lab personnel are not here on weekends to accept packages)

Please ship samples COOLED overnight with frozen gel ice packs.  For international shipping, please ensure that enough ice packs are added so that the sample stays cool until arrival.

PLEASE NOTE: We are offering discounted shipping within the US for our clinics by using preprinted shipping labels available through our web page (please contact the lab for more information).


Effects of antimicrobials on fecal testing for infectious agents

In general we recommend waiting at least two weeks after stopping treatment with antimicrobials before performing any of the fecal assays for infectious agents that we offer (apart from the Heterobilharzia americanum PCR tests). Probiotics are not expected to affect these tests. In a small proportion of dogs, antimicrobials can affect (increase) the dysbiosis index for several months after the cessation of treatment. Probiotics are not expected to have a major effect on the dysbiosis index. As always please feel free to arrange a consult with one of internists to discuss specific cases.


Please prepare your package:

1. Plastic, leak­proof (screwtop preferred) sample tubes in a sealed plastic bag (i.e., Ziploc) with enough absorbent material to soak entire contents in case of a spill.

2. Add several frozen gel ice packs or dry ice (Shipping dry ice has specific regulations; please contact your carrier for instructions). Please, do not include ice cubes.

3. Packing material for extra padding

4. We are offering discounted shipping by using preprinted shipping labels available through our web page (please contact the lab for more information). Please note that the GI Lab does not accept packages marked "Bill Receiver".

Please note that there is NO Saturday delivery for the GI Lab at Texas A&M University. Packages will sit unattended until we return on Monday Note: Due to delivery procedures at such a large university, packages sent with the US Postal Service can often be delayed or even lost within departments. Please DO NOT use the US Postal Service as a carrier.

5. Somewhere on the outside of the package, as well as on the shipping label, please mark "Exempt Animal Specimen." This is a requirement of the Texas Department of Transportation.

6.  Please include a completed Submission Form inside the package with your sample.

International Shipments

In addition to the guidelines listed above, please include the following:
Please attach the following statement below on your letterhead in the shipping documents on the outside of the box. Also include a copy inside the box on official letterhead with a signature.

"This shipment contains only canine/feline serum, urine or fecal samples (word as appropriate and include the number of samples) for diagnostic testing. These samples are not contagious or infectious, and have not been derived from animals exposed to agents of agricultural concern. This shipment has no commercial value."