General Information

  1. Please complete an appropriate Submission Form, available on the forms page, and submit with the sample.
  2. The Avian Section of the ADDL accepts specimens from all species of birds, including poultry, game birds, caged birds, wild birds, and zoo birds.
  3. The Avian Section performs a number of procedures for avian submissions, but also utilizes the services of other sections to avoid duplication of procedures whenever possible.
  4. If help is needed in determining the best type of specimen to submit, contact the ADDL Avian Section 765-494-7454. In southern Indiana, call Heeke ADDL at 812-678-3401.


  1. For suspected flock problems, submit six (6) clinically affected adult birds, or up to 20 affected chicks. Cull birds are inappropriate specimens. Place birds in a suitable container that provides adequate space and ventilation.
  2. For problems involving excessive mortality, submit six (6) fresh dead adult birds or up to 20 fresh dead chicks. Do not submit decomposed birds.
  3. For individual bird submissions, wet the carcass with soapy water, wrap in wet paper, and place in plastic bag. Keep the sample refrigerated until submitted. Avoid freezing when possible.
  4. Only those dead birds that cannot be submitted to ADDL within 48 hours of death should be frozen.


  1. Samples of tissues, not more than 0.5 cm thick, should be submitted in widemouth jars containing 10% neutral-buffered formalin. The volume of tissue specimens to that of 10% formalin in the container should be in 1:10 ratio. Suggested tissues include brain, lung, trachea, liver, kidney, spleen, intestines (including duodenum, jejunum and ileum), bursa, and heart, as well as specific lesions in any organ observed at gross necropsy.
  2. Skin biopsies submitted for examination for Beak and Feather disease should contain at least 2-3 feather follicles and/or newly emerged dystrophic feathers.


  1. A portion of the following tissues should be refrigerated for bacteriology examination. Suggested samples include brain, trachea, sinus/choanal swab, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, small intestine, cecum, and cloacal swab.


  1. A portion of the following tissues should be refrigerated for virology examination: brain, lung, trachea, sinus/choanal swab, liver, spleen, and cecal tonsil.
  2. Egg inoculation will be performed for avian specimens submitted for virology examination.


  1. A variety of serological procedures for detection of antibodies against the most common avian pathogens are available through the Avian Section of ADDL.
  2. Serum samples submitted for testing should be in properly labeled tubes.
  3. Blood samples should be taken in red top tubes and the tube immediately placed on its side to allow blood to clot. Serum should be separated from clotted blood prior to submission for testing. Do not allow whole blood to freeze or be exposed to direct sunlight or high temperature prior to decanting serum.
  4. Approximately 0.5-1.0 ml of serum is required for testing purposes.
  5. Flock serology should be based on a sample size of 20-30 serum samples. Regulatory or NPIP testing may require larger numbers of samples. Check with the Avian Section prior to submission.
  6. Serological diagnosis of disease is only possible when a comparison of antibody levels is made between those measured at the time of clinical disease (acute samples) and those measured approximately 4 weeks later (convalescent samples). Both acute and convalescent serum samples should be submitted in order to derive the most meaningful diagnosis from serologic testing.
  7. Other serological procedures may be arranged by special request by contacting the Avian Section at 765-494-7454.


  1. Suggested tissues or specimens include brain, liver, crop/proventriculus/gizzard content, feed, and/or water.
  2. Tissues or specimens submitted for toxicologic examination will be processed by the ADDL Toxicology Section.

Molecular Diagnostics

  1. PCR or RT-PCR procedures are available for swabs, exudates, or tissue specimens from sinus, choana, trachea, lung, liver, spleen, intestine, or cloaca for the detection of Chlamydophila psittaciMycoplasma gallisepticumMycoplasma synoviae, Turkey Corona Virus, Newcastle Disease Virus, and Avian Influenza Virus. For more information, please check individual test pages or contact the Molecular Diagnostics Section.

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