ViTALS Diagnostic Testing Submissions

Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services (ViTALS) offers quality veterinary diagnostic services to external veterinarians through diagnostic service sections including anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, clinical parasitology, and clinical molecular diagnostics.

To learn more about our services and laboratory submission process, please contact our Lab Central Receiving at or 540-231-4320.

Submission Guidelines

Our lab requires that submission requests come through a veterinarian to ensure that a veterinarian is involved in the interpretation of test results and formulation of plans for patient care. The exception to this requirement is necropsy service.

Labeling Specimens

  • Label ALL specimens with the patient and owner name.
  • Label containers/slides/swabs with collection site and collection date.

Submission Forms

General Instructions
Complete the appropriate ViTALS Laboratory submission form for the testing requested. Forms should be legible and complete to avoid any confusion in the testing requested, the patient/owner information, or the clinic/clinician information.

Submit a complete, concise history where indicated on the submission form. Give the laboratory as much information as possible to aide in the diagnostic process. Be sure to indicate all treatments and vaccinations. Also list impressions or suspected causes of the problem.


Sample Requirements

Please view ViTALS Testing & Fees for information regarding appropriate samples to be submitted for the test requested, sample storage, and handling criteria.

Shipping Instructions

To ensure that your laboratory and necropsy samples are sent under optimal conditions and arrive to ViTALS in a timely manner, please follow our Recommended Shipping Instructions.

Courier Service
We offer limited courier service to veterinarians in the New River Valley. Please contact Carolyn Sink at to inquire about availability.

Necropsy Submissions

  • We prefer to have necropsy submission requests come through a veterinarian, but if owners live within a 35-mile radius of the veterinary college, they may submit carcasses or bodies for necropsy without a veterinarian.
  • Pre-payment of necropsy and other support services provided by necropsy may be required at time of submission.
  • Necropsy Submission Guidelines
  • If shipping a small, intact carcass, refer to the shipping instructions listed above.

Specimen Disclaimer

  • Samples submitted and/or derived from laboratory submissions become the property of ViTALS and may be used in research, teaching, test method validation, quality control, etc.
  • No human samples will be accepted.
  • We reserve the right to assess Hazard Fees to leaking containers or containers contaminated with blood, urine, feces, etc.
  • Any work subcontracted by ViTALS will be indicated as such on the laboratory report.

Frequently Asked Questions


When should I expect my necropsy report?

  • Final Necropsy Reports are distributed typically within 10 business days or less. For other result reports timeframes please contact ViTALS for more information.

How will I receive my report?

  • Reports will be distributed to the veterinarian listed on the submission form via fax, email, or mail depending on the clinic’s report delivery preferences.

What if I need to know necropsy results as fast as possible due to herd health issues?

  • Please indicate this requirement to the necropsy technician, veterinary student, pathology resident, or pathologist upon submission so that we can accommodate you accordingly.

What if I have performed a necropsy in the field, what is the best way to get the samples submitted for evaluation?

What is the difference between a full, partial, and cosmetic necropsy?

  • Full necropsy - entire carcass is evaluated during necropsy and remains can be disposed of via our general waste protocols, incineration, or cremation.
  • Partial necropsy - ventral midline incision, minimally invasive necropsy. Carcass is not sewn or cosmetically presentable or eligible for owner pick-up. Remains can be cremated or disposed of via our general waste protocols. May result in inadequate diagnosis.
  • Cosmetic necropsy - ventral midline incision, minimally invasive necropsy. Carcass is sutured or stapled closed and made cosmetically presentable and may be eligible for owner pick-up but is subject to the pathologist’s discretion in cases of zoonotic potential. May result in inadequate diagnosis.

Referral Testing

There are several tests that we do not perform routinely due to low demand. Tests not listed in the ViTALS Testing & Fees document may be available at another laboratory. We can recommend a referral laboratory, however we encourage you to deal directly with the referral laboratory, as additional fees would apply to samples handled and shipped by ViTALS.