Samples for Immunology

The sample requirements are test-dependent as outlined below. Note, that with the exception of crossmatches, none of the immunology tests are performed STAT.

These guidelines should be followed for submission of urine tests:

Antinuclear antibody, Rheumatoid factor, Immunoglobulins, Electrophoresis, LE preparation

Serum is the preferred sample. Body fluids (e.g. peritoneal fluid) and urine should be submitted in red top tubes for electrophoresis. CSF can be submitted as EDTA or in red top tubes for ELP. We need a minimum of 10 ml in a red top tube for an LE prep. Please contact the Clinical pathologist on duty if you wish to run CSF electrophoresis.

Please note that electrophoresis is only performed once weekly on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Therefore, to expedite processing, ensure the sample is in the laboratory by Tuesday afternoon.

Our immunoglobulin reference intervals are only valid for adult animals. Therefore, if testing dogs under 1 year of age (growing animals usually have lower immunoglobulins), several age-matched control animals should be submitted concurrently.


EDTA blood (lavender top tube) is the required sample. Samples should be run promptly to prevent false negatives. For this reason, we run Coombs tests on the same day we receive the sample (and the request for this test), whenever possible.


The most important component of the crossmatch is the major crossmatch. For this we need EDTA, citrate or citrate-phosphate-dextrose (CPD, e.g. packed red cells) from the donor (or foal or stallion for a mare-foal or mare-stallion incompatibility test) and serum from the recipient (or mare). The minor crossmatch is less important, but we will perform this concurrently if the samples are submitted. For this, we need serum from the donor (foal or stallion) and red cells from the recipient (mare).

So to summarize, collect 2 tubes from both donor and recipient; i.e. 1 red top and 1 EDTA (lavender top).

Always inform the laboratory when a crossmatch is going to be performed. Ensure that the samples from donor (there may be more than one) and recipient are labeled clearly! Note that the crossmatch often takes up to 2 hours to perform, so results will never be available immediately. Therefore, plan ahead and get the samples to the laboratory ASAP!!