Submit a Sample

Table of Contents:

University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Policies

Submitting Samples

We accept animal samples (milk, eggs, environmental samples, culture swabs, etc.) for diagnostic testing, and deceased animals for necropsy. Please be sure to call us first (581.3874) before sending or bringing animals for necropsy. All animals or samples should be immediately chilled, not frozen, following death.

We operate the lab Monday to Friday, but cannot receive shipments on the weekends. It’s best to bring samples early in the week.

Routine salmonella samples must arrive by Tuesday.

If mailing samples to the VDL, please contact us and provide the tracking number when possible.


Packaging Samples for Shipment to the University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Animals to be sent for necropsy must be chilled immediately following death, and shipped in a biosecure manner. If deceased animals must be held for longer than 24-36 hours, please freeze them. Freezing decreases the accuracy of many tests, but is preferable to natural decomposition. All samples must be well-contained (doubly sealed in ziplock bags if possible). Samples that leak during transport will cause serious problems with the shipper. All samples must be transported with ice packs in the transport container; ice packs should be sealed in separate zip-lock bags. Samples that arrive at the lab warm or leaking will be refused. Finally, the box should contain absorbent padding around the samples. History and ID sheets must be filled out for each set of samples, and must not get wet during transport. To ensure good quality results, please follow these directions:

Chill Animal Immediately:

  1. Use the reusable frozen ice packs (“Blue Ice”) if possible. Immediately following the death of the animal, seal the body in a plastic bag (Ziploc bags are best for small animals).
  2. For small cadavers, either place the sealed cadaver in a cooler or in a refrigerator (do NOT store with food).
  3. For larger cadavers, place frozen ice packs against the abdomen and chest of the animal to chill the core, and transport immediately to the lab (after calling to check on the availability of lab personnel for check-in).
  4. If it will be more than 24 hours before the cadaver arrives at the lab, freezing the cadaver is suggested.

Packaging a Cadaver or Samples for Shipment:

  1. Fill out the appropriate accession form (production animal, companion animal, or specific sample type form) and seal it inside a Ziploc bag.
  2. Shipments should be sent in a box that is acceptable to the shipper. UPS and FED EX have Styrofoam boxes inside cardboard boxes, that come with directions for shipping. Samples MUST NOT LEAK.
  3. The cadaver and samples should be placed in a Ziploc bag, sealed, then into a second Ziploc bag, and resealed.
  4. Reusable ice packs can be frozen, packed inside separate sealed Ziploc bags, and placed inside the shipping container along with absorbent material, such as paper towels.
  5. Once the accession form, samples, ice packs, and absorbent material are loaded in the styrofoam box, seal it with tape.  Then place the address label (with our address, and your return address) and the “diagnostic sample” label on the surrounding cardboard box, and ship.

Remember: Samples must be shipped promptly or delivered directly to the laboratory. Ship via FedEx or Overnight Priority through the US Postal Service. Be sure that no leakage can occur. Warm or leaking samples will not be tested.

Mail to This Address:

University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Lab
17 Godfrey Drive
Orono, ME 04473-3692


Diagnostic Samples

Driving Directions to 17 Godfrey Drive, Orono, Maine (Google Maps)

Directions from I95: Take the 2nd Orono Exit (Stillwater Ave), go R onto Stillwater, then R onto Godfrey Drive (1st light; if you cross the river you have gone too far). You will see a sign for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Lab at the turn onto Godfrey Drive. Go about ½ mile, passing the Black Bear Inn on your right. When you see a sign for the Extension Diagnostic and Research lab on your left, pull into the parking lot and enter the glass doors at the front of the building to meet with an administrative specialist. If you don’t see someone at the front desk, please call 207.581.2775 for assistance.

2018 Directions for Mailing or Delivering Specimens (PDF)

Submitting Milk Samples for Mastitis Screening

Procedures for Collecting Milk Samples (PDF), National Mastitis Council

How to Submit Milk Samples to the University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

You will need:

  1. An accession form for milk samples: Milk Sample Submission Form
  2. Sterile containers (able to contain about 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk) that you can identify using an indelible pen
  3. Sharpie-type pen (permanent ink) for labeling containers
  4. Ziploc bags
  5. Leak-proof shipping box (The first choice is a cardboard box with a styrofoam liner; it will contain any leakage or moisture and will keep the sample cool).
  6. Absorbent material for padding (such as wadded newspaper or paper towel)

How to pack:

  1. Once collected, make sure the milk sample stays cold or frozen. If it is frozen, please mention this on the submission form.
  2. Make sure the cover to the milk vial is secured shut so it won’t open while shipping. Snap caps are usually fine if well-shut. If using a screw cap, apply tape around the lid after firmly closing it.
  3. If possible, put individual vials into their own Ziploc bags, and seal them well.
  4. Seal all samples into a large Ziploc bag.
  5. Use re-freezable cold packs, NOT wet or dry ice, to keep the sample cool. Put the ice pack into a separate Ziploc bag so it won’t leak into the package as it melts.
  6. Tape the sample bag onto the cold pack bag; this will help keep the samples cold.

Where to send:

University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, 17 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473-3692

Diagnostic Samples

Remember: No leakage, no moisture, no odor, and a cool sample. Leaky packages may not be delivered. Wet packages are considered to be hazardous, so avoid leaks.

Ship Early in the Week: Mail is not delivered to the lab on weekends or holidays; samples sent late in the week may be unrefrigerated until delivered to the lab on the next working day.

Website Submission Forms:

For all other sample submissions, please use the general submission form. Note: All necropsy cases must be submitted by a licensed veterinarian, with the exception of backyard poultry.