Labeling and Packaging of Samples

All submissions require:

  • Owner's name and address
  • Veterinarian's name, address, phone and fax numbers.
  • Animal identification
  • Type of sample
  • Test(s) requested

Please see our submission forms for more details.

Packaging and Shipping

Specimens are delivered to ADL via private courier, owner drop-off, US Postal Service, and most major delivery companies. Please contact your chosen shipper directly for proper packaging details. Some general packaging and shipping guidelines are listed below.

  • Overnight trackable methods of shipment are recommended for perishable samples. Label outside of box "perishable". Include ice packs (do not use ice) being sure that chilled samples are not in direct contact with the ice packs as it could damage the specimen. Place absorbent material in between.
  • Ship specimens in two layers of appropriate leak-proof containers, i.e. double-bag.
  • Include packing material adequate to cushion the containers and absorb all fluids in the event of leakage or breakage
  • Label each specimen with the owner's name, and the animal's identification.
  • Do not wrap submission forms around samples. If the sample leaks, the form will be damaged. Enclose the paperwork for all samples in a single zip-lock bag and place it on top of the samples.
  • Do not send samples in syringes and remove all sharps from the boxes. Packages with sharps will be rejected.
  • Label the outside of the box clearly. Remove old conflicting labels that could confuse delivery.
  • Packages should be marked with a 'Diagnostic Specimen' label on the outside of the box.
  • Your return address is important. This is one way to track packages received by the laboratory.
  • Do not ship in unprotected Styrofoam containers: these break easily if squeezed or dropped. Styrofoam within a cardboard box is recommended.

Please note that samples will not be received by ADL on weekends and major holidays so care must be taken to avoid shipment/delivery during these times. If you have any questions please contact the laboratory for our hours of operation.

IATA has recently tightened their guidelines for shipment of known pathogens and even diagnostic specimens for some diseases, including Rabies. If you are shipping a pathogen or a diagnostic specimen with potential zoonotic risks, the IATA Dangerous Goods and Safety Website contains online information about the regulations. Rabies specimens should be shipped by courier and not by air. The complete Federal Department of Transport (DOT) Regulation can be found online.

Federal regulations govern the packaging and labeling of diagnostic specimens. If spillage that damages mail or equipment occurs during the shipment, the shipper may face prosecution, even if the material involved was not hazardous.

Animal Diagnostic Laboratory


Wiley Lane
University Park, PA 16802

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. After-hours submission available daily.