Optimizing Your Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Submission
Cheryl Maguire, DVM
The mission of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) is to promote animal health and protect agricultural, companion animal and public health in Texas – and beyond – through excellence in veterinary diagnostic services. We aim to provide our clients with timely and accurate results to assist with diagnosis of disease, monitoring well patients, managing herd health, as well as satisfying regulatory and exportation requirements. To accomplish this, TVMDL needs appropriate samples and certain clinical information. Receiving inappropriate samples, samples in poor condition and/or insufficient information on the submission form can result in a delay of testing or possibly a misdiagnosis.
A good submission starts with a quality sample that is appropriate for the desired test. Our website and mobile app contain all of the pertinent details for each test we offer. In addition, TVMDL’s staff, including several veterinary diagnosticians, are available to assist clients by phone regarding sampling and test selection.
In addition, thoroughly completing a submission form is crucial to relaying critical information to the laboratory. These forms are designed to provide the laboratory with the information they need to perform testing and serve as a contract between TVMDL and clients. Providing the laboratory with accurate client data, patient data, sample data, pertinent clinical history, and specific test requests is essential to getting a useful test result for clients and patients.
Clients have two options for obtaining submission forms. TVMDL recommends using the online portal as a primary method. The online portal ensures the submission form is completed accurately and thoroughly. Once the form is completed in the portal, clients can print it and include it in the specimen’s package. The other option is to download and print the paper forms from the TVMDL website. TVMDL does not recommend printing multiple submission forms from the website for future use as these forms are periodically updated.
Information that is commonly lacking on submission forms is the anatomic source or location from which samples such as swabs or masses were collected. Providing a pertinent and succinct history is essential. Additionally, specific tests should be requested whenever possible. For many tests there are multiple offerings or methods. When possible, clients should provide the laboratory with a specific test request rather than “Distemper” or “BVD” when more than one test method is available. If the test method is unspecified, the laboratory will run the default test method appropriate for the sample type.
TVMDL now uses test codes to uniquely identify each test offering. The test code can be found on the website under each test’s name. TVMDL encourages clients to include test codes on submission forms to ensure the correct test is performed.
TVMDL professionals are available for consultation for any questions regarding tests, samples, or the submission process. To learn more about test offerings visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call one of TVMDL’s four laboratory locations.