Moderator: roger dickey
Below are our instructions for carcass packaging and postage; please let us know if you intend to send a carcass and please phone us on 02074496685 with any queries prior to submitting a specimen.
How to package a specimen
Naturally, there are strict rules that govern how specimens must be packaged for postage. It is important that these simple instructions are followed in every case to prevent specimens being destroyed or to avoid any public health hazards that may arise following handling of improperly packaged specimens. The Post Office only permits members of the public to submit specimens through the post under the direction of a veterinary surgeon or registered laboratory (such as ourselves).
If you find a dead bird in the garden, it is essential that you call us and make arrangements for the submission before the specimen is packaged or sent. In this way, we can check whether the specimen is suitable for examination and be certain that details of the following packaging instructions are followed.
· Only freshly dead carcasses are suitable for post mortem examination. If you are unsure whether the garden bird is in a suitable condition, please discuss this with us during your call. Specimens may deteriorate rapidly and so it is important to make arrangements as soon as possible after finding a specimen.
· Ideally, carcasses should be stored refrigerated but only if you have the facilities to do this (e.g. at a wildlife centre or veterinary surgery). Frozen carcasses are less useful to us than refrigerated ones, but we can still make a diagnosis from them. Do not use your domestic refrigerator or freezer – carcasses may carry dangerous infectious agents.
· Any direct contact with the bird should be avoided, i.e. place your hand within a plastic bag, pick up the carcass with the covered hand and then invert the bag over the carcass and seal the bag securely. Please use a separate bag for each carcass. Please wash your hands thoroughly after packaging the bird.
· This bag must then be wrapped in an absorbent material such as cotton wool, absorbent paper or cellulose wadding. Sufficient absorbent material must be used to absorb all possible leakage in the event of damage. This must then be placed within another plastic bag (e.g. freezer zip-loc bag) and sealed to produce a leak-proof package.
· The package should then be placed within a rigid, crush proof container (e.g. sturdy plastic tub & clip-down lid / tupperware or strong cardboard box with full depth lid) with the lid firmly fixed using self-adhesive tape. This does not have to be done separately for each bird, as long as each specimen is properly bagged.
· This container should then be packaged, along with an accompanying note, within a ‘jiffy-type’ padded post-bag. The note should, where possible, give details of:
When the bird was found (date and time)
Where it was found and details of local habitat and surroundings
Whether the bird has been stored, if so at what temperature and for how long
If the bird has been observed before death – their behaviour, appearance etc.
Any supplementary feeding by members of the public – if so what and where (if this information has not already been given by telephone)
Any other information which may be deemed as relevant
· The package should be clearly and legibly addressed:
Katie Colvile MRCVS
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
· The sender’s name and address must be clearly written on the back of the package so that they can be contacted in the event of damage or leakage
· The package MUST be labelled in BOLD CAPITALS with the following:
PATHOLOGICAL SPECIMEN - FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE
· Packages must be sent by guaranteed next day delivery or first class post. Parcel post or second class post must NOT be used.
Please find attached some background information from the Garden Bird Health initiative. Post mortem examination is required to confirm the cause of death but the information in the attached sheets includes advice on best feeding practice useful for general disease prevention and control. Further information on best feeding practice for garden birds, and other aspects of our work, is available at our website: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/gbhi.php.
I will send the attachment to Andy Harrison for inclusion in the body of the web site.
Hope this helps
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