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University of Maine Animal Health Lab

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Policies/Submitting Samples


UMaine Animal Health Lab Policies:

Thank you for learning about the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory.  Our lab exists primarily to support the food (furred, feathered and finned) and fiber animal industries in Maine and the Northeast. We welcome inquiries from farmers. Occasionally we will perform diagnostic work on companion animals, but only if the case has been sent to us directly by veterinarians. We welcome veterinarians to contact us about necropsy, bacteriology, cytology or other diagnostic work.

Production Animal Policy:

If you are a livestock owner without a food animal veterinarian, we can accept diagnostic cases from you, but will encourage you to find a food animal veterinarian to help you interpret and apply the findings. Communications about the case (estimates, preliminary, and final reports) will be made to you, but when a veterinarian is found for you then communications will go to both of you. Billing will go to you. Please use the Production Animal Form (Word) for chickens, sheep, goats, pigs or any type of animal except dogs, cats or small pet mammals and birds. You will need to print out the form, fill it in, place in a separate ziploc bag, and include it with the samples you are sending.

Companion Animal Policy:

We do not accept companion animal diagnostic cases directly from clients. If you are an animal owner and would like to have a necropsy or other work done on your pet, please contact your veterinarian, and they can then contact us directly about the case. All submissions of companion animals must be made by veterinarians. We have a Companion Animal Accession Form posted on our website, for your vet to fill out. The animal should be either sent, or delivered, to us via an agent of the veterinarian. All communications about the case (estimates, preliminary and final reports) will be made to that veterinarian, and all billing will go to that veterinarian.

Confidentiality Policy:

We keep your identity, and the details of your case, confidential UNLESS we encounter a reportable disease. In that case, we notify you, your vet if you have one, and also the legally appropriate authorities (usually the state of Maine, but may also include the Maine Center for Disease Control and the USDA or FDA). We are required by law to report dangerous conditions. We will attempt to assist you with resolution of problems diagnosed, but the responsibility to apply solutions and to provide good animal welfare practices is yours.

Interpreting Results:

We encourage all our clients to develop a good working relationship with a clinical veterinarian in their area. To find a veterinarian in your area, you can consult the Maine Veterinary Medical Association website.

Billing Policy:

We can accept payment at the time of service (please ask for an estimate) or can bill our clients on a monthly basis. The initial bill is usually created at the time the final report is sent (when all diagnostic work is completed). At this time, we can accept checks or cash. Our billing system is now run through the University Bursar’s Office. In that system, accounts that are over 90 days unpaid are sent to a collection agency.

Submitting Samples

We accept animals under 300 pounds for necropsy from Monday to Friday. Please be sure to call us first (581.2788/2789) before sending or bringing animals for necropsy. All animals or samples should be immediately chilled, not frozen, following death. They must arrive here before noon to be necropsied that day.


Packaging Samples for Shipment to the University of Maine Animal Health Lab

Animals to be sent for necropsy must be chilled immediately following death, and shipped in a biosecure manner. Samples that leak during transport will cause serious problems with the shipper. Samples that arrive at the lab warm or leaking will be refused. History and ID sheets must be filled out for each set of samples, and must not get wet during transport. To ensure good quality results, please follow these directions:

Chill animal immediately:

  1. Use the reuseable frozen ice packs (“Blue Ice”) if possible. Immediately following death of the animal, seal the body in a plastic bag (Ziploc bags are best for small animals).
  2. For small cadavers, either place the sealed cadaver in a cooler, or in a refrigerator (do NOT store with food).
  3. For larger cadavers, place frozen ice packs against the abdomen and chest of the animal to chill the core, and transport immediately to the lab (after calling to check on availability of lab personnel for check-in).
  4. If it will be more than 24 hours before the cadaver arrives at the lab, freezing the cadaver is suggested.

Packaging the cadaver for shipment:

  1. Fill out the accession form, and seal it inside a Ziploc bag.
  2. Shipments should be sent in a box that is acceptable to the shipper. UPS and FED EX have Styrofoam boxes inside cardboard boxes, that come with directions for shipping.  Samples MUST NOT LEAK.
  3. The cadaver should be placed in a Ziploc bag, sealed, then into a second Ziploc bag, and resealed.
  4. Reusable ice packs can be frozen, packed inside separate sealed Ziploc bags, and placed inside the shipping container along with absorbent material, such as paper towels.
  5. Once the accession form, samples, ice packs, and absorbent material are loaded in the styrofoam box, seal it with tape.  Then place the address label (with our address, and your return address) and the “diagnostic sample” label on the surrounding cardboard box, and ship.

REMEMBER: Samples must be shipped promptly or delivered directly to the laboratory. Be sure that no leakage can occur. Warm or leaking samples will not be tested.

Mail to this address:

University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory
Dept. of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
5735 Hitchner Hall, Room 136
Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469
207.581.2789 / 207.581.4430 fax

Driving Directions

University of Maine campus map.

From the South Exit 191 (Formerly Exit 50):

From the South Exit 193 (Formerly Exit 51):


All livestock, poultry, wild animal or welfare cases should be accessioned using the Production Animal Form (Word).

All pets (dogs, cats, companion non-poultry birds, small exotics, other “pocket pets”) should be accessioned using the Companion Animal Form (Word).


University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Contact Information

University of Maine Animal Health Lab
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: 207.581.2788 or 1.800.287.7170 (toll free in Maine)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System