Aseptically Collecting Bacterial Culture Samples at Necropsy

The surface of all necropsy tissues should be assumed to be contaminated.

  • Assemble appropriate bacterial/fungal transport medium/media, sterile scalpel blade(s), sterile swab(s)
  • Check expiration date on transport media
  • Light torch/burner
  • Heat spatula tip in flame until it glows cherry red
  • Apply heated tip flat against tissue to sear the surface and remove contaminants
  • Make a stab into the tissue, using a sterile scalpel blade
  • Insert sterile swab into stab incision and rotate swab to assure complete contact with tissue and accumulation of fluid from tissue
  • Withdraw swab and insert directly into selected transport medium
  • If necessary, break off swab shaft, and cap transport system
  • Label transport vial with animal name/number, owner name, date, and site swabbed
  • For additional culture sites, repeat, using new sterile scalpel blades and sterile swabs for each site/tissue.
  • Hold swab appropriately until transported to lab
    • Anaerobic transport media – Hold and ship at room temperature (20-25º C); Protect from temperature extremes, using insulation
    • Amies with and without charcoal – Hold and ship at refrigeration temperature; use cold packs
Anaerobic Transport Media
Anaerobic Transport Media
Example of Amies with Charcoal
Example of Amies with Charcoal
Example of Amies with No Charcoal
Example of Amies with No Charcoal

VSS-WEB-003-V01 9/23