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ClinPath Submitting Samples

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General Submission Guidelines

  • Complete our Clinical Pathology Submission Form or our Cytology Submission Form
    • all clinic and clinician information
    • specimen information
    • all pertinent history
    • If results are to be faxed, please provide your fax number on each submission form. If you prefer to have your results emailed, please provide us with an email address.
  • The Clinical Pathology Laboratory requires one cytology submission form per anatomic location (even if all specimens are from the same patient), with these exceptions:
    • Smears from up to 3 lymph nodes from the same patient  may be submitted using one form.
    • Smears from up to 3 synovial fluids from the same patient (cytology only) may be submitted using one form.
  • All slides must be clearly labeled using patient name and anatomic location.​
  • Cytology submissions that do not fulfill these criteria will be rejected by the laboratory.​
  • The lab processes referral samples Monday through Friday. Due to minimal staffing, we do not accept referral samples on weekends, holidays, and administrative closing days.
  • Please label all samples individually, and leave all samples at the referral drop-off station unless you have made prior arrangements with the lab.
  • We check the drop off station several times each day. If you wish to notify us of your sample’s arrival or if you have a question, you may call (865) 974-5605.
  • If you are mailing samples to us, we recommend you send them overnight via FedEx.
  • Most tests have a one day turnaround unless we have a particularly heavy in-house workload. We do not offer STAT testing for referral specimens. All specimens must be received by 12:00 noon in order to be processed on the same day.

Sample Instructions for Referring Veterinarians

Getting the Most out of Your Blood Samples

CBC

  • Complete blood counts must be performed within 24 hours of sample collection.
  • Submit a whole blood specimen in a properly filled (to the fill line) EDTA (lavender-top) collection tube.
  • Additionally make one to two blood smears at the time of collection.  We recommend using glass slides with a frosted label area.  Let the smear air-dry and place in a cardboard or plastic slide holder.
  • Complete a “Clinical Pathology Submission Form”.
  • Label each specimen (including any slide holder) with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number).  For blood smears, use a PENCIL to label the glass slide’s frosted edge to prevent smudging.
  • Refrigerate the lavender top collection tube until drop off, courier pick-up, or shipping.  DO NOT REFRIGERATE BLOOD SMEARS.


Coagulation Profile

  • Submit specimen in a properly filled (to the fill-line) citrate (blue top) collection tube
  • Complete a “Clinical Pathology Submission Form”
  • Label each specimen with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number).
  • If delivering the sample to the VMC yourself, call the laboratory at (865) 974-5605 to notify us of the specimen arrival.
  • If you cannot get the specimen to our lab within 15 minutes of sampling, you must harvest the plasma:  Centrifuge the specimen tube, gently remove the plasma using a PLASTIC transfer pipette (without disrupting the cell button), and place the plasma in a plain PLASTIC tube.  Store plasma in FREEZER until drop off, courier pick-up, or shipping.


Chemistry

  • Submit specimen in a properly filled (to the fill line) heparin (green-top) collection tube.  This is the preferred sample type.
  • Clot tubes (red-top) are also accepted, but be aware that our laboratory’s reference intervals are for heparinized plasma.
  • Complete a “Clinical Pathology Submission Form”.
  • Label each specimen with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number).
  • For blood chemistries:  If you cannot get the specimen to our lab within 30 minutes of collection, you must harvest the plasma (green-top) or serum (red-top).  If using a red-top tube, make sure the sample is COMPLETELY CLOTTED before harvesting serum.  To harvest plasma/serum:  Centrifuge the specimen tube, gently remove the plasma/serum using a PLASTIC transfer pipette (without disrupting the cell button), and place the plasma/serum in a plain PLASTIC tube.  Store plasma/serum in refrigerator until drop off, courier pick-up, or shipping.


Urine

  • Submit specimen in a urinalysis tube (preferred) or a clot tube (red-top) blood collection tube.  A minimum volume of 5 mL urine is required.
  • Complete a “Clinical Pathology Submission Form”
  • Label each specimen with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number).
  • Store urine in refrigerator until drop off, courier pick-up, or shipping.


Cytology Smear

  • Submission of 2 to 3 highly cellular smears per site is optimal.  Smears should be thin (e.g., using “blood smear technique”) and contain a monolayer of intact cells.
  • We recommend using glass slides witha a frosted label area.
  • Label frosted slides with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number) using a PENCIL.
  • Allow smears to air dry.  Place dry slides in a cardboard or plastic slide holder.  Label slide holder with TWO unique patient identifiers.
  • Leave smears UNFIXED and UNSTAINED.  (We do accept previously stained smears, but these are not preferred.)
  • Complete a “Cytology Submission Form”.  Anatomic site of the aspirate is required information.  A concise clinical history and lesion description will facilitate the pathologist’s interpretation and help maximize diagnostic yield.
  • DO NOT REFRIGERATE cytology smears.  Protect smears from moisture and keep them away from formalin fumes and other fixatives.


Centesis Fluid Analysis

  • Submit specimen in a properly filled (to the fill line) EDTA (lavender-top) collection tube.  DO NOT SUBMIT SPECIMENS IN SYRINGES.
  • (If you are submitting fluid for culture, place specimen in a clot [red-top] collection tube; and follow these instructions.)
  • (If you are submitting fluid for chemistry analysis, e.g., creatinine, potassium, or bilirubin measurement, please see Chemistry above)
  • Complete a “Cytology Submission Form” (check “Centesis Fluid Exam and Report”).
  • Label each specimen with TWO unique patient identifiers (e.g., pet name and owner last name, or pet name and medical record number)
  • Refrigerate the lavender top collection tube until drop off, courier pick-up, or shipping.
  • Additionally make one to two direct smears of the fluid at the time of collection using a “blood smear” technique.  Allow smear(s) to air dry.  Place dry slide(s) in a cardboard or plastic slide holder.  Label slide holder with TWO unique patient identifiers.  Leave smear(s) UNFIXED and UNSTAINED.  (We do accept previously stained smears, but these are not preferred.)
  • DO NOT REFRIGERATE smears.  Protect smears from moisture and keep them away from formalin fumes and other fixatives.

 Frequently Asked Questions for Fluid Samples​


Sample Drop-off

  • Local veterinarians or their staff are welcome to drop off laboratory specimens.  The sample drop-off area is located outside our pharmacy window on the large animal side.
  • Specimens in EDTA (e.g., CBCs, fluids), heparin, and clot (red-top) tubes, plasma/serum in plain plastic tubes, and urine specimens should be placed in individual plastic sample bags together with the appropriate submission form and left in the REFRIGERATOR.
  • Cytology smears (in an appropriate slide holder) should be placed in a plastic sample bag together with the appropriate submission form and left in the CYTOLOGY DROP-OFF BOX.
  • Lab personnel collect samples from the drop-off area multiple times throughout the day.


Courier Service Delivery

  • UTCVM provides a daily courier service upon request for clinics within a 45-mile radius of the college.  For pick-up requests please call First Transit at 865-974-5774.
  • Samples must be placed in biohazard bags. A completed submission form must accompany the sample and be placed in the outer pouch of the bag to prevent soiling.
  • Please have samples prepared and ready for collection prior to the courier’s arrival.

For more information on UTCVM Courier Service.


Sample Shipping

  • Specimens in EDTA (e.g., CBCs, fluids), heparin, and clot (red-top) tubes, plasma/serum in plain plastic tubes, and urine specimens should be placed in individual plastic sample bags together with the appropriate submission form and shipped OVERNIGHT with a COOLANT PACK (“ice pack”).  Blood smears accompanying CBC specimens and smears accompanying fluid specimens may be shipped in the same box as the EDTA tube; however, take care to protect the smears from moisture and keep them separated from the ice pack.
  • Smears (tissue aspirate smears, smears of fluids, and blood smears for cytologic evaluation) may be shipped via regular mail (do NOT use ice packs), although if there is risk of exposure to high ambient temperatures (e.g., middle of summer), consider expedited shipping (no ice pack needed).  DO NOT SHIP CYTOLOGY (OR BLOOD) SMEARS AND BIOPSY SAMPLES IN THE SAME BOX due to risk of exposing cytology/blood smears to formalin fumes.
  • To ensure proper handling and storage of samples during transit and upon delivery, please do not send samples for Saturday delivery.  Operating hours for UTCVM Diagnostic Laboratory Service is Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For information on UTCVM FedEx Discounted Rates​​