Mammalian Serology




Properly performed serology requires appropriate amounts of uncontaminated serum.  Specimen collection technique and timely submission significantly impact the quality of the laboratory results.  The following outline is provided to assist in the submission of specimens for optimal results.  Check individual tests under “remarks” for special handling requirements.


1. Aseptically collect adequate amounts of blood for the number of tests requested.

2. Collect blood in a clean, tightly sealed, leak proof tube or container (red top tube or serum separator tube).

3. Leave tubes in a horizontal position at ambient room temperature (not below freezing).

4. Submit specimens as soon as possible.  Store specimens refrigerated if submission is delayed.

5.  Pack samples securely to prevent breakage.  Packages should contain ice packs if samples will be in transit more than 24 hours or during warmer months of the year. Use courier service whenever possible as the routine delays which occur in mailing can result in deterioration of sample quality.

6. Fill out submission forms completely and legibly and submit with samples.  Be sure to indicate the tests to be performed as well as clinical history and purpose of test, (e.g. sale, diagnostic, etc.).  Number all specimens to match forms using consecutive numbers only.  Submissions should be signed by an accredited veterinarian.

7. Whenever possible, send clear serum which has been aseptically transferred to a sterile red top serum tube.  We will accept clotted whole blood samples with the understanding that they may have to be reported as hemolyzed or non-testable if they arrive in poor condition.

8. The test schedules are flexible.  In some instances setup is based on demand with a minimum and maximum time shown.  Contact the serology section of the laboratory to which you are submitting specimens in advance when you  need a group of animals tested within certain time constraints. Allow 1-2 days  for transport of samples between PADLS laboratory locations.

9. Acute serum specimens will be tested within the same run as convalescent specimens when submitted together.

10. Turn-around time is defined in working-days as the time elapsed between the date (and time) that the specimens are received in the laboratory until the date (and time) that the results are recorded in the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), or, the time the testing is completed.  Suspect specimens will be retested requiring additional time.


Codes: AGID - agar gel immunodiffusion;  BAPA - buffered acidified plate assay; Card - Rapid Card Test; cELISA – competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; CF - complement fixation; ELISA – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; FPA - fluorescent polarization assay; HA – hemagglutination; HI - hemagglutination inhibition, IHA - indirect hemagglutination; MA – microagglutination, RSAT - rapid slide agglutination test; RAP - rapid automated presumptive, SN - serum neutralization, SPT - standard plate test, STT - standard tube test

NOTE:  Specimens should be sent to arrive by at least 2:00 PM the day before the scheduled laboratory test day.

Export testing or special needs:  Contact the PADLS laboratory prior to sample collection to schedule all necessary tests.  Large volume export testing especially requires advance notification due to limited availability of some reagents and to allow scheduling of technical time to ensure timely reporting of results.


Anaplasmosis  PVL ruminants

1 ml serum

Th 1 day (if neg)

•Presumptive positive results will be sent to

NVSL for confirmatory testing. 

•Presumptive positive results may take as long

as 14 days to confirm. 

Bluetongue  PVL ruminants

1 ml serum

W 2 days (if neg)

•Presumptive bluetongue cELISA positive specimens

are reset in duplicate.  If all three settings are positiv

e the specimen is reported as positive.  Any other

result than positive generates an “equivocal” result.                                                              

•Presumptive bluetongue AGID positive specimens are

reset and are only reported as positive if positive on

the second test.  Inconclusive cELISA export results

are further tested by AGID if requested by the submitter. 

AGID results are recorded in LIMS.                                                                                     

•Animals yielding inconclusive or equivocal results

should be re-bled and tested for EHD.

W, Th 1 day (if neg) Note:  Bluetongue CF is no longer available at PVL 
Bovine Leukemia (BLV, bovine leukosis)  NBC Bovine 1 ml serum as needed 2 days

•Please contact lab before shipping large groups of

(300 +) samples to assure availability of testing.                                                 

•The turn-around time for large groups of samples

submitted upon request may be 1-5 days.  

PSU as needed 1 day
PVL M - Th 3 days
upon request 1 – 2 days
Bovine Pre-purchase Panel  $15.00 PSU Bovine Serum:  See listings under individual tests 7 - 12 days

Please see p.i. BVD under Mammalian Virology for

additional sample handling requirements.

PVL   -2 tubes per animal     p.i. BVD performed only at PSU 
  - use p.i. BVD submission guidelines (See Mammalian Virology)      
Bovine Reproductive Panel   $30.00 PSU PVL Bovine 3 ml serum See listings under individual tests 7 - 12 days •BVD and IBR tests performed only at PSU.                                                                

•Leptospirosis testing performed only at PVL
Bovine Respiratory Panel   $30.00 PSU Bovine 3 ml serum M 7 - 12 days

•BVD test performed only at PSU                        

•BRSV test is performed at the  Texas Veterinary    

Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL)

Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) PSU Bovine Ear notch as needed 1 - 2 days •SN test performed only at PSU. 

•Samples must be  received before 2 PM on Friday
Camelids 1 ml serum as needed   Camelids:  tested by SN or pi BVD microplate
    M 7 - 12 days  

•Note:  p.i. BVD test performed only at PSU.                                                                       

•Please see p.i. BVD under ‘Mammalian Virology’ for

additional sample handling requirements.

PVL   Ear notch as needed 1 - 2 days  
  1 ml serum as needed    
Brucellosis (Brucella abortus) PSU Bovine Caprine Cervine 1 ml serum M - F 1 -2 days

Unless specific tests are requested, those necessary

for Pennsylvania classification will be performed. 

Because of non-specific reactions on the screening

test, an additional test may be necessary to confirm

negative status.   Cervids are tested by Card

Agglutination, Rivanol or Fluorescent Polarimetry Assay. 

PVL Porcine Bovine Caprine Cervine Porcine 1 ml serum M – F 1 – 2 days
    M – F 1 – 2 days
    upon request 3 days
    M - F 1 – 2 days
    M – F 1 – 2 days
    M, T, W 2 - 6 days
    M – F 1- 2 days
    M - F 1- 2 days
Bovine 50 ml milk (min.) M - Th 1 – 2 days Milk samples can be submitted as:        
Frozen/refrigerated fresh whole milk
Frozen/refrigerated preserved whole milk
Brucellosis, Canine (Brucella canis)  PVL  Canine 0.5 ml serum  M - F 1 day Call for availability of reagents
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) PVL         see Small Ruminant Lentivirus  (SRLV)
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)  PVL  Ruminants 1 ml serum  Upon request 3-5 days

If a domesticated ruminant is positive or inconclusive,

the Bluetongue cELISA is performed (at no charge) to

eliminate BT cross-reaction with EHD.

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) NBC  Equine 1 ml serum  M - F 1 – 2 days             1 day

For same day ELISA results, samples must be received

by noon.  Results for samples received after noon will

be available the next day

PVL       1 - 2 days           1 day  
Equine Rhinopneumonitis (EHV 1,4)  PSU  Equine 1 ml serum  M 7 - 10 days  
Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR)  PSU  Bovine 1 ml serum  M 7 days See ‘Mammalian Virology’ for virus isolation
Johne’s Disease (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis)  PSU Ruminants 1 ml serum M - F 1 - 5 days

•On Johne’s testing marked “diagnostic”, the default

test is the ELISA test.                                                                   

•The AGID test is performed on cattle and goats, only

(no sheep) See ‘Bacteriology’ for fecal culture                                 

•See ‘Molecular Diagnostics’ for PCR

PVL M - W 2 days
M - F 1 - 5 days
Leptospirosis  PVL Canine Equine Porcine Ruminants 1 ml serum  Th Samples screened and titered the same day, if time allows. 1 - 6 days for negative results               3 - 7 days for positive results 

•L. bratislava test is performed routinely for caprine,

ovine, canine, equine and porcine species.                                                    

•L. bratislava is available for cattle upon request 

Neospora caninum  PSU    PVL Bovine 1 ml serum  PSU: as  needed        PVL-W 1 day  
Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (OPP)  PVL  Ovine 1 ml serum M - Th 3 - 5 days  
Parainfluenza Type 3 (PI-3)  PSU  Bovine 1 ml serum M 1 - 5 days •Bovine PI-3 test performed only at PSU                                                                                                                  

•See ‘Mammalian Virology’ for virus isolation 
Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome  (PRRS)  PVL Porcine 1 ml serum M - F 1 day  
Pseudorabies (PRV)  PVL  Porcine 1 ml serum M - F 2 days  
Small Ruminant Lentivirus  (SRLV)  PVL  Caprine   Ovine  1 ml serum  M 1 day

Veterinary Medical Research and Development, Inc.

(VMRD), has renamed the CAE kit, “Small Ruminant

Lentivirus Antibody Test Kit, cELISA”. The test kit

remains unchanged but the manufacture now states

that this competitive, enzyme-linked, immunosorbent

assay (cELISA) detects antibodies to caprine arthritis

encephalitis (CAEV) in goat sera or ovine progressive

pneumonia virus (OPPV) in sheep sera.

The positive cutoff of 35 percent inhibition remains the

same for either CAEV or OPPV assay. The test name on

your report will reflect this change. Please call the lab

at 717-787-8808 with any questions.

Toxoplasmosis    Mammals 1 ml serum Upon request 7 - 14 days FTest forwarded to another lab
West Nile Virus  PVL  Equine 1 ml serum W  (or by arrangement) 3 days

•Testing on equine samples only.  Submission form

should include symptoms and vaccine history on

neurologic animals.   

•Vaccine does not interfere with IgM test.