Packaging Instructions

All diagnostic specimens MUST be packed in compliance with IATA Packing Instructions 650.

The SHIPPER is responsible for compliance with these packaging instructions.  Briefly, the instructions are:

1. Liquids:

Primary receptacle – must be leak-proof and must not contain more than 500 ml.  Absorbent material – between the primary receptacle and the secondary packaging, must be capable of absorbing all liquid in primary receptacle.

Secondary packaging – must be leak-proof, must be capable of withstanding an internal pressure producing a pressure differential of not less than 95 kPa in the range of –40 deg F to 130 deg F without leaking.  Itemized list of contents – between primary and secondary packaging.

Outer packaging – must not contain more than 4 L.

2. Solids:

Primary receptacle – must be sift-proof and must not contain more than 500 g.         

Secondary packaging – must be leak-proof.  Itemized list of contents – between primary and secondary packaging.    

Outer packaging – must not contain more than 4 kg.

3. Each completed package:

Must be capable of successfully passing a drop test from a height of approximately 4 ft.

Must be labeled with the following “BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE – CATEGORY B – UN 3373” and “Diagnostic Specimen packed in compliance with IATA Packing Instructions 650”.

Must be at least 4 inches in the smallest overall external dimension.


Compliant packaging is available from a variety of vendors.  We prefer Saf-T-Pak ( products.

Multiple specimens (such as fresh tissues) from a field necropsy must be individually packed (PRIMARY RECEPTACLE) to prevent cross contamination, and then enclosed in a secondary leak proof container with absorbent material before being placed in a leak-proof outer container.  Containers with screw-top lids are preferred packages for tissue and feces.  Plastic vials with screw-top lids for blood, serum, and fluid transport are preferred as the primary containers for these specimens.  If protected from breakage, single-use vacuum blood-collection tubes may also be satisfactory.  Guarded culture swabs may be shipped in original packaging that is placed in an appropriate primary receptacle.

Formalin-fixed tissues from an individual animal may be pooled in a single container unless it is clinically relevant to have findings for each reported separately.  If possible, the specimens should be no more than 0.5 cm thick (about the thickness of five dimes) for adequate fixation.

If the specimen needs to be kept cool (i.e., blood, serum, etc.) please use the shipping containers designed specifically for refrigerated specimens.  Please enclose the submission form in a plastic bag and place the submission form in the package between the PRIMARY RECEPTACLE and the SECONDARY PACKAGING.


Each specimen must be labeled with pertinent information that should include animal number, herd number, lot number, animal name, source, body site, and identify the specimen.  This is especially true when samples from multiple animals are submitted.

How do I ship specimens to AzVDL?

Tucson and Southeastern Arizona (Nogales, Sonoita, Patagonia, Green Valley, Sierra Vista, Douglas, Benson, Willcox, Bisbee, and Safford):  To arrange for a courier pick-up call the laboratory before 12:00 P.M. for same-day service.  Some exceptions* apply. 


To arrange delivery of cadavers call the laboratory.  We contract this service with a private courier and additional charges may apply. 

Due to the rising cost of Courier Service, submissions requesting tests referred to outside laboratories will be billed a $20 surcharge (submissions for in-house laboratory services will have no courier surcharge).


The greater Phoenix area:

To arrange delivery of cadavers call the laboratory.  We contract this service with a private courier and the charges will be added to your bill.  Charges typically range from $75-$125.  Small specimens such as cultures, cytology, biopsy, etc. are best shipped via UPS or FedEx. 


Using AzVDL shipping services for your shipments:

You can realize significant savings using United Parcel Service (UPS) by charging your shipments to our account.  If you would like a UPS pre-printed waybill to be sent to you, please call the laboratory at (520) 621-2356.  We will add the shipping charges to our service fees.



Small cadavers and specimens should be shipped UPS/FedEx Priority Overnight.  If using AzVDL UPS shipping account we will add the cost to your bill.  For larger cadavers please contact local ground-based couriers.



NOTE:  Do not ship on Fridays, as we are not open on the weekend and will not receive the package until Monday afternoon.