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VDS Policies


VDS is open 7:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Holiday schedules are noted below, in the footer of the website.  A pathologist is available outside of business hours for emergency postmortem examinations only.


  • Human samples will not be tested at VDS
  • VDS will not perform necropsies on primates.  Call lab prior to submission of any other primate samples.
  • Submitting a sample with the submission form or other appropriate documents constitutes a contract between VDS and its client. Then they perform the work requested/indicated by the client.
  • Every effort will be made to perform the work requested on the submission form or other document(s).
    • Some submitted samples are not suitable or appropriate for the test(s) requested by the client. VDS will make every effort to contact the client to ensure that the client’s needs are met.
    • If no specific tests are requested VDS will do the testing. This is also true if the client in the above situation cannot be reached.
  • Laboratory fees are subject to change without notice.  VDS will, however, attempt to notify of price changes before they take effect.
  • When any specimen is submitted to VDS, VDS will immediately assume authority over such specimen. This is to include requested testing, choice of subcontracting laboratory if needed, and method/source of disposal.  If private cremation or disposal has been requested, this will be permitted. That’s only if prearranged and noted on submission form, with signed authorization (if applicable). That is assuming there is no potential public health threat.  Cost of cremation or private disposal is the responsibility of the client.
  • VDS will no longer return carcasses to the submitters due to potential disease spread and industry standards.  Either VDS will dispose of the carcass or it can be released to one of the local crematoriums.
  • Turn-around time for test(s) varies depending on type requested, the use of subcontracting laboratories, and availability of reagents.  Call VDS for time estimate if needed.
  • If foreign animal or reportable disease is suspected, when/as/where appropriate notify the following entities immediately:
    • VDS at (505) 383-9299
    • USDA/APHIS at (505) 761-3160
    • NM State Veterinarian at (505) 841-6161
    • NM State Epidemiologist at (505) 827-0006

During diagnostics, if VDS encounters or suspects a reportable disease then the above notification will be initialized. This will be to include the submitting veterinarian.

Subcontracting of tests

  • Specimens routinely sent for testing to subcontracting laboratories, including NVSL, are marked with an asterisk (*) in the Fee Schedule.
  • Shipping charges maybe added for overnight and two-day shipping to subcontracting laboratories.
  • For unlisted tests in the Fee Schedule, you will be billed for the amount charged by the subcontracted laboratory.  You will also be charged shipping/handling cost.
  • Test fees at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, will be the charge assessed by NVSL. VDS shipping/handling costs are also added.  Please call the lab for an estimate of total cost.


DMC is a fee-for-service courier that will pick up and deliver samples to VDS.  For more information about their services and shipping requirements, please contact them at:  (505) 344-9898 or (800) 825-7274.  DMC bills VDS for this service. These individual charges are then applied to the corresponding account and will appear on monthly billing statements.


  • Test results and billing for laboratory services are reported to the client.
  • Monthly statements are sent to account holders.  Payment is due within 30 days.  A 2% late fee is applied on those accounts overdue by 90 days.
  • VDS accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.  An area is provided at the top of the clinic monthly billing statement. This is for entry of the credit card number, expiration date, and authorized signature.
  • Remit payments to:

New Mexico Department of Agriculture
Business   Support Services
MSC 3189, Box 30005
Las Cruces, New Mexico  88003  (505) 646-5344 payments only

  • Legal/Insurance Fees:  Insurance and legal cases (consultations, depositions, court appearances) may incur additional charges.  Contact VDS in advance for an estimate of charges.
  • There is a $1.00 per sample charge for centrifuging and separating serum or plasma from whole blood samples.
  • STAT Charges:
    • A $50.00 fee will be added for “rush” or “stat” requests performed during normal business hours, including supplies shipments.
    • A $100.00 fee will be added for “rush” or “stat” requests performed outside of normal business hours.

Proper specimen packaging

  • The couriers will refuse improperly packaged specimens.  Proper packaging is required to reduce exposure to handlers. It’s also to protect the integrity of the specimen(s).
  • To protect the submission form(s), please place the forms in a separate plastic bag.
  • Liquid samples (serum, fluid, etc.) must be placed into sealable bags. Provide sufficient absorbent material to contain any liquid that may leak from the primary container.
  • Samples should be double-bagged and placed in a shock-absorbing container (cardboard or Styrofoam box).
  • Submission forms should be placed in a sealed separate bag for protection.
  • Specimens for histopathological examination should be:
    • Submitted in 10% buffered formalin (1 part tissue to 10 parts formalin)
    • No thicker than 1/4 inch except when necessary to maintain gross anatomic integrity.
    • Double-bagged with absorbent material.
    • Placed in plastic wide mouth containers — tissues harden in formalin making removal from narrow mouth containers difficult.
    • DO NOT freeze
    • DO NOT submit in alcohol
    • DO NOT submit in saline
    • DO NOT submit in glass containers.
  • Small carcasses (e.g., dog, cat, ect.) sent for necropsy must be double bagged with adequate absorbent material and ice packs.  There is no refrigeration of samples en route to the lab.  Do not freeze prior to submission.
  • Packages containing carcasses weighing up to 60 lbs. (including packaging) can be sent to the lab by courier. However, the carcass must be double bagged and sent in an insulated container. This requires sufficient absorbent material and ice packs (NO WET ICE).  There is no refrigeration en route to the lab.

Notify courier regarding the size of the package when scheduling pickup.


Dr. John Ragsdale, VDS Division Director
800-432-9110 (In state only)