Send samples to LIC

Learn how to collect and send tissue, milk, blood or faecal samples to LIC.

Most of our animal tests are done using milk samples or tissue samples. Some can be done using blood or faecal samples.

You can easily take tissue samples yourself. Your vet will usually take the blood samples. In most cases we get milk samples from your dairy company or from herd tests.

The samples we use for animal testing are:

  • milk samples
  • tissue samples
  • blood samples
  • faecal samples

Tests that use milk samples

We use milk samples for:

  • Johne's disease whole herd testing
  • BVD bulk milk testing
  • BVD PI Hunt
  • Milk pregnancy testing
  • Staph. aureus testing

In most cases you don’t need to send the milk samples to us — we use either bulk milk samples from your dairy company or individual milk samples from herd testing. 

You may need to send us a custom sample to check the BVD status of a small number of cows in your herd. Call us on 0800 436 362 to find out how to collect and send us a custom milk sample.  

Tests that use tissue samples

We use tissue samples for:

  • DNA parentage testing
  • A2/A2 geneotype testing
  • BVD testing.

It’s easy to take the tissue samples yourself — just follow the instructions in: 

  • Collecting tissue samples

Tests that use blood samples

We can use blood samples for:

  • BVD testing 
  • Johne's disease testing for individual animals
  • DNA parentage testing (if you are unable to get a tissue sample).

In most cases your vet will take the blood samples using a purple top blood tube. 

Collecting tissue samples

Test

Tissue sampling unit

Storage conditions

Test DNA parentage

Tissue sampling unit Wet TSU

Storage conditions Fridge

Test A2/A2

Tissue sampling unit Wet or Dry TSU

Storage conditions Fridge (Wet) or Freezer (Dry)

Test Standalone BVD (animals younger than 35 days)

Tissue sampling unit Dry TSU

Storage conditions Freezer

Test Standalone BVD (animals older than 35 days)

Tissue sampling unit Wet or Dry TSU

Storage conditions Fridge (Wet) or Freezer (Dry)

Test BVD + DNA parentage(animals younger than 35 days)

Tissue sampling unit Wet and Dry TSU (2x samples required)

Storage conditions Fridge (Wet) or Freezer (Dry)

Test BVD + DNA parentage (animals older than 35 days)

Tissue sampling unit Wet TSU

Storage conditions Fridge

1. Order your sampling equipment

The GeneMark Allflex applicator gun and the GeneMark Allflex punch kits make sampling quick, easy and hassle free.

To take tissue samples you need an applicator gun and enough punch kits to get samples from all the animals you want to test. Each punch kit contains 10 tissue sampling units.   

You can order sampling equipment by:

2. Sample your animals

To sample your animals follow these steps:

  • Take a new tissue sampling unit (TSU) out of the punch kit and fit it into the applicator gun.
  • Record the tag number of the animal you are sampling on the card on the front of the punch kit — be careful to match the barcode on the TSU with the barcode on the card.
  • Collect the tissue sample using the applicator gun.
  • Remove the TSU from the applicator gun and put it into a ziplock bag.  
  • When you’ve used all 10 TSUs in the punch kit remove the completed card and put it into the ziplock bag with the TSUs.
  • Use a new ziplock bag for each group of animals you sample (calves, cows, previous season’s progeny and natural mating bulls).   
  • Wet TSU’s (contain a liquid preservative) must be stored in the fridge if you are not planning on sending to the lab immediately.
  • Dry TSU’s must be stored in the freezer.

For more information on how to sample your animals safely and effectively, see:

Guide to using the GeneMark Allflex applicator gun and the GeneMark Allflex Tissue punches

For details on maintaining your applicator, or fixing common issues, see:

Allflex applicator maintenance & troubleshooting guide

3. Courier us your samples

Courier the samples to our laboratory using the courier bag provided. You don’t need to keep the samples chilled for couriering, but make sure they get to us no later than midday on a Friday so they arrive when our laboratory is attended.

Please ensure you include a submission form with your samples.

Send the samples with the completed submission forms to:

LIC Diagnostics
140 Riverlea Road
Hillcrest
Hamilton 3216

You’ll receive a confirmation email from the lab once your samples have been received.

4. Getting the results

We’ll email the results of the tests to you and we’ll also upload them to MINDA.

  • Whole herd parentage test results arrive within four to five weeks.
  • Individual parentage results arrive within six weeks.
  • BVD results for animals older than 35 days (BVD Ag ELISA test) have a turnaround time of 3 days after being received at the Animal Health lab.
  • BVD results for animals younger than 35 days (BVD PCR test) is 7 days.
  • A2/A2 tissue results have a turnaround time of 4 weeks.

Use blood samples to test for:

  • the BVD virus in calves less than 35 days old 
  • the BVD virus in older animals when you can’t take a tissue sample
  • BVD immunity in individual animals 
  • Johne's disease in individual animals to confirm you have the disease in your herd before going ahead with whole herd testing using milk samples. 

In most cases your vet will take the blood samples using a purple top blood tube. You can also call AssureQuality on 0508 001 122 to organise sampling.

Chill the blood samples if you’re not sending them immediately.  Complete the appropriate submission form: 

Tick the relevant box on the form and send the samples and the completed submission form by courier to:

LIC Diagnostics 
140 Riverlea Road
Hillcrest
Hamilton 3216

Please call the GeneMark team on 0800 436 362 or email testyourcows@lic.co.nz to book for this test.
Once booked LIC will send out a sampling pack with the below contents:

  • Submission form
  • Four pottles labelled A,B,C,D

Sampling locations

Johne’s bacteria can survive in the environment for over 12 months. It is therefore advisable to sample from locations that have been cleared out since the previous season. Samples should contain faecal matter representative of the entire adult herd present on farm at the time of sampling.

Ideal sampling locations depend on your effluent system, but some examples are listed below. Sampling from multiple locations is preferable. If you only have one location to sample from, then please select four separate sites within this location.

Examples of locations include:

  • Sand trap
  • Weeping wall
  • Sump Separator

Important notes for sampling

Only solid samples will be accepted for analysis.

  • If taking a sample from a particular location is going to put you or somebody else in a high-risk situation, do not proceed. Please only choose safe locations.
  • Collect solid samples from the moist under layers of effluent, and not the top dry crust layer.
  • Sloppy, gritty, or grassy samples are acceptable. Very watery or thin samples are not. A sample can be runny as long as it is not watery. A quick way to check this is to flip the sample upside down. If the whole sample flows easily and immediately hits the lid without leaving a layer of residue on the sides of the container, this sample is a liquid. If the majority of the sample stays at the bottom of the container, or a layer of residue is smeared on the walls of the container, this is an acceptable solid.

Sampling Procedure

Note: Only LIC supplied pottles will be accepted for testing.

  • Collect four solid samples
  • Please do not completely fill the sampling container. Please only fill container with 1 scoop (approx half way on container). ¼ to ¾ full is plenty (minimum 5g or approximately one scoop).
  • If collection is difficult with the small containers, please collect in a suitable vessel and then transfer to the sampling containers.
  • Ensure all lids are tightly closed.

Storage and shipping

  • Seal samples in the snap lock bag provided
  • Refrigerate samples if there is to be a delay before sending to LIC

Return the samples to:

Animal Health Lab
140 Riverlea Road
Hillcrest
Hamilton.

Sampling instructions are also on the Johne’s disease effluent submission form.