Rabies Specimen Submission Form - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Rabies Specimen Submission Form

Updated 2/2018


There is a $20.00 fee per animal and a $10.00 fee per accession. Multiple animals submitted from a related situation (bats from one location, litter of kittens, etc.) will be charged one accession fee. Out-of-state submissions have an additional 10% charge. Charges associated with euthanasia, specimen preparation, packaging, shipping and testing are the responsibility of the person requesting the rabies testing.

Species of animal to be tested

Companion animals should be euthanized by a veterinarian. Live production animals should be delivered during VDL business hours (see below). Live bats will be accepted during normal business hours only; they should be hand delivered and labeled “Live Bat for Rabies Testing.” Small rodents (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, gophers, etc.), insectivores (moles and shrews), and lagomorphs (hares and rabbits) do not pose a risk for rabies in Minnesota, and should not be submitted for testing. For guidance on unusual situations involving bites from these animals, please call 651-201-5414. Reptiles, amphibians, and birds are not susceptible to rabies and will not be tested for it.

Specimen preparation

Complete, bilateral samples of brain stem, hippocampus, and cerebellum are required for rabies testing. If possible, submit the head of large animals and the entire body of small animals. When submitting only the brain, submit the entire brain. Submit fresh, chilled tissues only; do not fix the brain in chemical preservatives. Refrigerate, do not freeze specimens for rabies testing prior to shipping. However, if specimens have been inadvertently frozen, they may yield satisfactory results; do not thaw them prior to shipping.

Packing requirements

  • Chill specimen prior to packing for hand delivery or shipping by overnight carrier. Specimens that have been packed for delivery while still warm may arrive in unsatisfactory condition for rabies testing due to autolysis.
  • Double bag and securely seal specimen in heavy, leak-proof plastic bags. Brain only specimens should be packaged in a hard plastic container to preserve the integrity of the specimen. Place in a leak-proof container, preferably a Styrofoam box with a cardboard exterior.
  • Include leak-proof freezer packs in sufficient number to keep the specimen cold during transit. During the summer months particularly, many samples arrive at the VDL warm and in unsatisfactory condition for rabies testing.
  • Fill any remaining space within the container with newspaper or other absorbent packing material to absorb fluids in case of leakage.
  • Complete this form, place in a plastic bag and attach to the outside of the specimen container.
  • Label the exterior of the box, “Veterinary Diagnostic Specimen.”

Delivery instructions

Whenever possible, specimens should be hand delivered. If hand delivery is not possible, ship by an overnight delivery service (such as FedEx). For next day results, specimens must be received at the VDL by 11:00 a.m. Specimens should never be sent by mail – even Priority mail. Questions about specimen submission should be directed to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory  and Veterinary Medical Center,  St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota

Specimens from suspect rabies animals should be delivered to:

  • Business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
    Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
    University of Minnesota-St. Paul Campus
    1333 Gortner Avenue
    St. Paul, MN  55108
    Phone: 612-625-8787

  • Non-business hours and holidays*
    Veterinary Medical Center
    University of Minnesota-St Paul Campus
    1365 Gortner Avenue (adjoining VDL)
    St. Paul, MN  55108
    Phone: 612-626-8387; 1-800-258-6838
    * Live bats will not be accepted after business hours.

Cremation Services

  • Animal remains will be processed using mass chemical cremation unless arrangements for individual cremation are made by the client or the client’s veterinarian. Please indicate individual or mass cremation on the rabies specimen submission form by checking the box. Once the test result is known, an animal testing negative for rabies may be released to a private cremation service. An animal greater than 22 pounds that tests positive for rabies will not be released for cremation due to the risk of human exposure. If an animal is untestable for any reason, remains may be released for individual cremation on a case-by-case basis.

Updated Monday, 02-Jul-2018 09:34:29 CDT