Shipping Necropsy Specimens

Shipping instructions for post-mortem (necropsy) examination specimens

Necropsy Shipping Cooler
Necropsy shipping cooler
  • Chill carcass to refrigeration temperatures before packaging.
  • Wrap with inner plastic bag, preferably large zipper lock bags available in grocery stores, or leak-proof bags securely sealed with plastic packing tape.
  • Place inside second leak-proof plastic bag, with sufficient absorbent material (disposable diapers ideal, 2 per small carcass or more if larger carcasses, turned absorbent side out) and freezer packs.
  • Place inside third bag and tape shut. Package must not leak. Leaking packages can be confiscated and destroyed and fines to the shipper could apply. Common causes of leakage include not using leak-proof bags or containers, including ice cubes or other forms of ice rather than freezer packs, and failure to use sufficient absorbent material.
  • Place paperwork in gallon zip-lock bag and seal.
  • Place all in a shipping cooler. Outer container should be insulated and crush-proof. Large plastic picnic coolers are ideal and do not need to be placed inside a cardboard box for shipping. Cardboard boxes without rigid coolers are not appropriate as condensation causes them to fall apart in shipping.
  • Label outside with UN3373 label, Biological Substance Category B (this may be printed, cut out, and taped on package with clear packing tape).
  • If asked by shipping attendant (UPS, Postal service, or FedEx) what is in the box, reply "Animal Diagnostic Specimens." If attendant persists in questioning contents, say "They are animal specimens. The contents are defined as Biological Substance Category B, UN3373." Do not say "whole dead animal bodies" or "whole dead chickens" or "a dead lamb/puppy/kitten," because the attendants panic and refuse the packages, even though federal and international law clearly has provisions for these diagnostic specimens to be legally shipped.

It is strictly prohibited to ship live, sick animals via commercial couriers or the US postal service.

US Post Office address:
Animal Health Diagnostic Center PO Box 5786
Ithaca, NY 14852-5786

FedEx or UPS Address:
Animal Health Diagnostic Center 240 Farrier Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853