Guidelines for Test Barn Collection of Samples for Broad Spectrum Drug Screening

Provided by the Drug Testing Services Department of The Industrial Laboratories Co., Wheat Ridge, Colorado

1. Sample type

Urine is the preferred sample for drug-testing purposes. Most drugs clear the bloodstream fairly rapidly and may thus not be present in detectable amounts in the blood sample by the time the animal is sampled. Testing blood is further complicated by the fact that the volume available is extremely limited, and the sample amount may not be sufficient to conduct our broad-spectrum screen test, and do additional confirmatory testing if a suspect is found during screening.

2. Sample collection, volume, and Chain of Custody

Collect urine in a clean cup and immediately tag the cup with sample information. For blood collection, please collect at least 2 tubes for submission to the laboratory. Tag the samples. Our sample identification tags have sticky labels that may be used to attach the tag to the sample cup. If you collect a urine and a blood from the same animal, tag the blood tube(s) with a sticky label. Please avoid sending us any information about the animal or trainer/owner. The sample card is perforated in 3 sections; please maintain the portion containing animal and trainer information for your reference and only send us the portion giving the sample number. Record all sample numbers on the Chain of Custody (COC) sheet. Please indicate on the COC sheet what testing to perform on any blood samples (screening or Bute quantitation) that were collected from an animal that also had urine collected. Blood samples without an accompanying urine sample will be automatically submitted for screening testing.

Note: Please also record the number on the metal strip seal that will be used to secure the shipping container. We will verify at the laboratory that the seal on the cooler is indeed the seal identified on the COC sheet. This is done as additional security against tampering.

The minimum amount we need for screening and possible confirmatory testing is as follows: urine – 50 mL; plasma / serum – 4 mL


Sample Tag: Sample Tag

Portion 1 (upper-left, not shown) fill in the requested information and attach to the sample bad or cup using one or two of the self-adhesive numbered barcode labels.

Portion 2 (lower left) use this portion of the tag for labeling the split sample (i.e. "B-sample" or "referee sample").

Portion 3 (center portion) keep this for your records! The laboratory report will only identify the sample number, so this tag portion allows you to track the sample number to the animal from which the sample was collected. For an uncompromised chain of custody obtain signatures of witnesses, ect. In the event of a contested laboratory result the paperwork associated with the sample will become part of the "evidence" and thus subject to scrutiny. If a mistake is made, draw a single pen-strike through the erroneous information and initial the strike out. Do Not use "white out" or pencil or water soluble ink.

Portion 4 (far right) Self-adhesive barcode labels, eight total. Use for identifying all samples coming from one particular animal, i.e. if one urine sample and 4 blood tubes are collected from one animal, label all 5 containers with the same sample number.

Packing a urine sample in a heat-sealed bag:
Ensure that a leak-proof seal has been made prior to placing the heat-sealed, tagged sample bag in to the seal able outer bag.

Urine Sample - heat-sealed bag

Please attach the self-adhesive label lengthwise on the cup to ensure that the sample number can be barcode-scanned into the laboratory's system of records.

Urine Sample - cup

Please attach the self-adhesive label lengthwise on the tube to ensure that the sample number can be barcode-scanned into the laboratory's system of records.

Blood Sample - tube


3. Sample storage and shipping

Urine should be refrigerated as soon as possible after the sample has been sealed and tagged. Refrigeration is sufficient if the sample will be shipped to the lab within the next 3-5 days. If the sample needs to be stored longer, frozen storage is advisable to prevent sample degradation, which can decrease the chances of drug detection due to a) interference with drug detection due to degradation products, and b) actual drug breakdown itself.

Blood tubes are trickier for storage and shipping. You must first collect a sufficient volume for testing, and then submit the sample as an adequately separated serum or plasma sample containing no hemolysis. Hemolysis releases cell enzymes into the sample, which can degrade certain drugs. If the serum or plasma will not be separated for submission to the lab due to concerns about contamination etc, then the tube must be handled carefully to achieve the best quality sample. If you are using a Serum Separator tube or any tube containing anti-coagulants, you must gently invert the tube several times immediately after collection. After inversion, let the tube sit until the cells have settled and a clear separation between liquid and solid blood components is visible. In the Serum Separator tube, the silicone plug should be situated in between the liquid and solid layers. Plasma tubes (i.e. tubes containing anticoagulant) MUST be centrifuged prior to shipping. Freezing blood samples can cause cell lysis and cause shrinkage of the silicone plug in Serum Separator tubes causing blood cell contamination of the serum layer. Blood samples should only be frozen if they have been centrifuged and the serum or plasma layer poured off into a suitable, properly identified, separate tube. To avoid compromising the Chain of Custody of individual samples we recommend employing witnesses to verify that the transfer process is as error-free as possible.
Try shipping the blood tubes in an upright position and wrapped in a protective layer of something, like newspaper etc.

The shipping container / cooler should contain all samples, COC sheet, contact information, ice packs, and any buffering materials necessary for protection of blood tubes. Lock the cooler and apply a metal strip seal in such a way that it must be cut off to be removed.

Attach the shipping slip to the cooler in a secure way. Always use overnight courier shipping services. The shipping address is:

Industrial Laboratories Co., Inc.
4046 Youngfield Street
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

4. Sample quality and quantity as related to testing

If the sample does not meet the minimum volume requirements for testing, we will adjust the test menu accordingly. Our reports (Certificates of Analysis) identify the testing methods used on the submitted samples.
If the sample quality is lacking, i.e. hemolysis is present, we will conduct the testing, but note the sample condition on the report.
If the blood sample is clotted, we will attempt to achieve separation through centrifugation. If we are unable to get sufficient sample, we will report the sample as “Unable to conduct analysis due to clotting….”, or whatever the condition may be.

Please note that you will still be charged the normal per sample price.

5. Recording know therapeutic medication or diuretics

If we detect phenylbutazone (PBZ), furosemide (Salix), flunixin, or any other commonly used therapeutic medication, we must assume that the presence of the drug constitutes a violation, UNLESS we are told otherwise. If the sample is not marked as the animal having been entered on PBZ or Salix, or that Salix was used to facilitate voiding of a urine sample, we will hold the sample to initiate further testing. Holding a sample can mean delays in purse pay-outs or prize money, which can easily be avoided by marking the tag according to official program information. We will not conduct actual confirmatory testing until we have been notified for certain that the medication is not supposed to be there, as more than 95% of samples we hold for this reason turn out to be on legitimate medication.

We hope this information helps you with your very important job. Quality drug-testing starts with sample collection . Please feel free to contact us any time with questions or concerns. You may reach us at 303-287-9691 or 303-287-0964 (fax), or e-mail petra@industriallabs.net.