Only state and federal agencies who are members of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study can submit wildlife cases to SCWDS for diagnostic evaluation. As detailed information as possible regarding the case should be provided on the submission form.

Submission Form

Agency personnel should email ( or call (706-542-1741) SCWDS to consult a diagnostician prior to shipment.

Private citizens must call their state wildlife agency to report sick or dying wildlife for submission to SCWDS. Your state agency will make sure the proper steps are taken for SCWDS diagnostic case submission.

Information for Diagnostic Submissions

Sample Collection Guidelines

For more specific information (ie disease specific sampling) check out our FAQs.

If your questions are not answered, then contact SCWDS via email ( or phone (706) 542-1741.

Sample Shipping

Wildlife Mortality Investigation: Guidance for diagnostic sample packaging and shipping 

What you decide to ship to SCWDS may vary with each mortality event and objectives of the investigation. However, simple goals of sample submission are to: 1) send appropriate samples, 2) maintain sample quality, 3) protect human health (biosafety), 4) sample and potential pathogen containment (biosecurity). There are very simple steps to take to meet these goals. These concepts apply regardless of whether samples are shipped or delivered in-person.

Key Considerations:


  • Contact SCWDS prior to shipment (706-542-1741). We can help with decisions on what to submit and help coordinate delivery.

Cold chain:

  • Start and maintain cold chain as soon as possible (ideally in field).
  • Ship packages with adequate blue ice packs (never wet ice).

Secondary containment/double bagging:

  • All samples need two levels of containment to help contain leaks.
  • Tubes and other vials are a primary container but these samples should be placed in a secondary sealable bag (e.g., ZipLoc or WhirlPac).


  • Legibly label each sample.
  • Place completed submission form in ZipLoc bag and put in cooler.

Absorbent material:

  • Absorbent material (e.g., newspaper, paper towels, puppy pads) should be placed in every shipment to absorb fluid that may accidentally leak from the sample or carcass.

Disinfection and cleanliness:

  • When possible, you can spray outside of bags with disinfectant.
  • Avoid touching secondary bag and outside of cooler with soiled or contaminated hands.
  • Mail carriers and others will handle your package without knowing what inside. Hard/rigid shipping container.
  • Use rigid styrofoam cooler with cardboard shell or hard-sided plastic beverage cooler

Ship overnight on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday 

  • Shipping Thursday risks weekend arrival) as carriers will not deliver to SCWDS on weekends.
  • Call before shipping to avoid delays.

Ship to:

SCWDS Diagnostics
Wildlife Health Building
589 D.W. Brooks Drive
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Send tracking information to the SCWDS email address: SCWDS@UGA.EDU

Visual guidance for carcass/tissue submission packaging

Example of good packaging for carcass submission

Submission Forms

Please contact SCWDS prior to shipping samples!


Phone: (706) 542-1741

Sample shipping guidelines above.

Avian Influenza Submissions

General information:

  • Please follow the most recent instructions sent in SCWDS emails, as testing capabilities and protocols may change over time.
  • Full carcasses or oral/cloacal swabs in appropriate media (see below) can be submitted for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) testing at SCWDS.
    • Samples from cases that test positive via laboratory testing at SCWDS will be sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) for confirmatory testing. Due to the very close matching of SCWDS and NVSL test results thus far, submitters will be notified of NVSL test results only if they disagree with previously reported SCWDS results.
  • Please specify if the location of the sick/dead individual(s) is from an area/county with known HPAI cases, and if so, what species have had confirmed detections.
  • For mass die-offs suspected to be due to HPAI based on field findings and known history in the area, we recommend shipping 1-3 of the freshest carcasses per outbreak site. Please review most recent SCWDS emails regarding HPAIV for further instructions.
  • Mammals will be tested on a case-by-case basis primarily based on history and pathology findings. If there is particular concern or relevant clinical history, please include this information on submission paperwork.

Swab recommendations:

  • Polyester, non-wood, standard swabs

Viral transport media recommendations:

  • PrimeStore™ MTM Molecular Transport MediaSDP (Manufacturer:  PrimeStore™ MTM LH105)
  • SCWDS protocol:
    • 4 ml cryovials containing 2 ml of chilled viral transport media (VTM) consisting of brain heart infusion media (Becton Dickinson and Co., Sparks, MD, USA) supplemented with antibiotics [penicillin G (1000 units ml−1), streptomycin (1 mg ml−1), kanamycin (0.5 mg ml−1), gentamicin (0.25 mg ml−1) and amphotericin B (0.025 mg ml−1)] (Sigma Chemical Company, St Louis, MO, USA)

Media storage (before sample collection):

  • The media tubes can be held at -20C (regular freezer temperature) indefinitely.
  • The tubes can be thawed and are stable in the fridge at 4C for about one week.
    • The vials can be returned to the freezer until needed if not used within a week.

Preferred swab samples:

  • Swab the oropharyngeal cavity and cloacal cavities separately (each with own swab) and place both swabs into the same media vial.
  • Cloacal and/or oropharyngeal swabs submitted in separate vials is also acceptable.

Sample (HPAI swab) storage:

  • Tubes should be kept cold (NOT frozen) and shipped to SCWDS within a few days.
  • If shipping is delayed, tubes should be frozen at -80C (laboratory freezer).

For more information check out our FAQs.

If your questions are not answered, then contact SCWDS via email ( or phone (706) 542-1741.

Hemorrhagic Disease Submissions

What viruses do we test for?

Routine hemorrhagic disease (HD) testing is for epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV). SCWDS can also test for cervid adenovirus if warranted based on gross and histopathology findings.

What species do we test?

SCWDS tests all North American cervids (e.g. white-tailed and mule deer, elk, moose), pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. For other species not listed, please contact the diagnostic service or SCWDS HD laboratory for further guidance before shipment.[WU1]

What tests are run and when?

In peak HD season (June through November), samples are tested via PCR and virus isolation. Serotyping can also be performed for cases that tested positive for EHDV+ or BTV+ at other laboratories. During non-peak seasons, testing will be limited to PCR only.

What samples are preferred for testing?

Preferred samples are pieces of fresh (unfrozen) lung and/or spleen for EHDV, BTV, and cervid adenovirus. Lymph node or refrigerated whole blood in anticoagulant can also be submitted if the other two samples are unavailable. Samples of approximately 1 cm3 in size are preferred.

How should samples be stored?

Samples should be stored refrigerated and shipped with ice packs. If long delays (e.g. months) between collecting and shipping are anticipated, samples can be frozen; however, this may impact test sensitivity.

How much does testing cost?

Currently, all hemorrhagic disease testing is performed at no charge, regardless of SCWDS membership status.

Last updated February 10, 2023

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