Triple packaging guidelines

All specimens must be triple packaged. Improperly packaged or leaking containers will be assessed a biohazard fee to cover costs associated with transfer of specimen(s) to appropriate containers. If specimen integrity has been compromised, testing may be canceled at the discretion of the testing laboratory.

1. Primary Container: 

  • Place specimen(s) in a leak proof primary container. Acceptable containers include:
    • Leak proof: blood tubes (Vacutainer and transfer tubes), plastic centrifuge tubes with a screw cap, screw top plastic jars with a ridge on the inside of the jar.
    • Acceptable only if properly sealed: urine cups, Whirl-Pak® and Ziploc® bags
  • Not acceptable: gloves, OB sleeves, syringes, needles, containers lacking sealable lids or containers improperly sealed

2. Labeling:

  • Label each primary container with animal ID and specimen type.  If specimen is shipped in liquid, please identify the liquid by adding that to the label (e.g., formalin, ethanol, saline, water, etc.)

3. Secondary Container:

  • Place the primary container and absorbent material into a leak proof secondary container, such as a Ziploc® bag or a screw top plastic jar.
  • Absorbent material must be sufficient to fully absorb any fluid from the sample.
  • Multiple primary containers may be shipped together in one secondary container. If the primary containers are fragile, use packing material to separate fragile primary containers.

4. Submission Form: 

  • Place the completed submission form in a separate Ziploc® bag.
    • Place the Ziploc® bag with the submission form between the secondary and tertiary shipping container.

5. Cold Pack: 

  • If shipping with a cold pack, place the cold pack and absorbent material inside a Ziploc® bag.
  • Cold pack must be blue ice, chemical ice, etc. Do not send frozen water.
    • Absorbent material should be sufficient to fully absorb any condensation from the cold pack. A paper towel is an acceptable absorbent material.
  • All refrigerants must be placed outside the secondary sample container.

6. Tertiary Container:

  • The tertiary shipping container must have a rigid exterior that is of adequate strength for its capacity and intended use.
  • Place the filled secondary container(s), the Ziploc® bag with completed submission form, packing material, and the Ziploc® bag with cold pack (if applicable) into a tertiary shipping container with a rigid exterior.
  • Place packing material around the contents to provide absorbency and cushioning to prevent breakage.
  • Do not send Styrofoam coolers without the outer cardboard.
  • For air travel the container must be able to withstand 95 kPa pressure.

7. Exterior Labeling:

  • When reusing a shipping box, remove all existing labels from all sides of the box.
  • Clearly label the package with the destination and return address.
  • Clearly label the package as “Exempt Animal Specimen” for diagnostic samples when there is a minimal likelihood that pathogens are present.
  • Label the package with biohazard labels and the appropriate UN specification marking for diagnostic samples when it is likely that pathogens are present. See IATA for UN specifications for “Biological Substance Category B.” For your convenience, biological specimen labels may be printed from here:

8. Ship to:

Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
134 Magruder Hall 700 SW 30th Street
Corvallis OR 97331-8555

9. Additional packing instructions and regulations:

Responsibility for packaging compliance rests with the individual sending the package. The commercial shipping company is not responsible for improperly packaged materials that are transported. Couriers and commercial shipping companies may incur fines and temporary loss and use of transport vehicles if they carry leaking packages or if they do not adequately protect their employees. Commercial shipping companies have the right to question and refuse packages. Fines may be imposed on shippers.