UK veterinary DNA profiling

Samples FAQs

Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about sending samples. If your question isn’t answered here, please get in touch with our friendly advisors who will be happy to help guide you.

Samples FAQs

Please contact NationWide Specialist Laboratories for pre-paid postage labels by calling 01223 493400 or emailing

We have prepared some simple sampling guides for you to follow and help you get your results back in the fastest and most clinical way. They are available from our Service List brochure and Lab Facts handbook on our website.

A range of sampling materials is available on request for a small fee. Following receipt of your order, the supplies will be delivered to your practice using the NVS (National Veterinary Services) distribution network.

Our Service List brochure includes a guide to estimated turnaround times for each test or profile. These times are for guidance only. They refer to working days and may not include weekends. If you have a time-critical sample, please contact the laboratory to confirm the current situation.

We are here to work with your samples and deliver the results to you within the designated time frames. In order to help us get your results to you as fast as possible, when filling in a submission form please spend an extra moment to check if you have:

    • Entered the practice code
    • Entered the test code
    • Remembered to add the species
    • Included a history

With this little bit of help, we will work even more efficiently.

Yes, please remember to mark sample tubes with the animal’s name and if it is fluid (i.e., not blood) to mark the tube clearly (e.g., Abdominal fluid or pericardial fluid). For ProBNP, please mark the tube clearly as ‘EDTA Plasma’.

All biopsies should be fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin (NBF). Maximum tissue thickness, to allow optimal penetration of NBF, is 10mm. Interpretation will be aided by inclusion of a relevant clinical history and a description of the lesion and site.

Tissues fixed in formalin should be placed inside a well-sealed plastic histology container (please do not use narrow necked containers). The histology container must be enclosed in sealed plastic bag with enough absorbent material to absorb the formalin in the event of a leak. This should be placed in an additional outer bag or container.

Some samples are too large, e.g., mammary strips, spleens, limbs. You can either take multiple representative samples of up to 10mm from different areas of the lesion and we will examine up to 4 specimens for the same price.

Or, alternatively, if you want to send the whole sample, please fix it prior to sending in a large container containing 10% NBF at the practice for 48 hours prior to submission. You will need to make some incisions into the sample approx. 10mm apart to allow it to fix.

After 48 hours fixation, take out the specimen and then wrap in wet paper towels, place in a sealable plastic bag or container with a sealable lid. Double bag your sample with cotton wool between the bags to absorb any fluid that might leak out. Please make sure the sample will not leak.

Please note: all sample pots should be properly labelled and have the animal’s and owner’s names.

No, cytology slides should never be packaged in the same bag as tissue fixed in formalin.

The slides should be put in plastic slide mailers in a separate bag to avoid contamination from formalin fumes, as the fumes from the formalin cause cellular changes which can affect the reading of the cytology.

Please note: all slides should be properly labelled and have the animal’s and owner’s names.

There are a few options available:

1) Lock box courier system:

An overnight ‘locked box’ service is available in many locations throughout the UK. A box is fitted to the outside of the practice and the samples are placed in the box for the couriers to pick up ready for collection. The samples are then transported overnight via our dedicated service to the laboratories.

 This service is operated in the eligible parts of the country and is provided using the NVS (National Veterinary Services) distribution network. For more details and to find out if this service is available in your area, please contact us.

Food microbiology samples:

A same day collection service provided by NVS operates in the eligible areas of the UK. The system operates a same day collection from the business and delivery to the relevant laboratory site. For more information and to find out if the service operates in your area, please call 01253 899 215.


2) Postal Samples:

Free pre-paid postal packs (Post-Office First-Class Priority Sort, Freepost Tracked 24 Service) are available on request. There is a tracking number on each label. Please keep a record of this tracking number to be able to check the delivery status online.

To minimise postal delays, you should be aware of the last posting time for next-day deliveries from your area. Please note that the laboratory does not take responsibility for any postal delays which are outside of our control.

Packaging Postal Samples:

Diagnostic specimens must be packed to comply with UN3373 Packing Instructions 650 (P650). See the top of this page for more detail.

Postage Charges:

Postage will be charged if the sender requests the return of any samples submitted. The Freepost Tracked 24 address labels are only to be used for the submission of veterinary diagnostic sample to our laboratory. All other parcels sent using this system may result in the sender being liable for the postage fee.

Our laboratories are licensed under The Animal Health Act 1981, Importation of Animal Products and Poultry Products Order 1980 (as amended) and Importation of Processed Animal Protein Order 1981 (as amended) to import Veterinary Diagnostic Pathology Samples derived from Canines, Felines, Equines, Rodents and Lagomorphs. Please contact us if the current licence number is required or see our Import Authorisation page for more details.

Please remember to package your samples correctly for sending overseas. Take a look at the guide at the top of this page for more information.

Occasionally, samples are received in a condition that may affect the results of certain tests or prevent the requested tests from being carried out. e.g., broken, leaked or deteriorated samples.

In these circumstances, the laboratory shall perform those tests that are possible. Tests that we are unable to process can be performed if a replacement sample is submitted. We will contact you if this is necessary.