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Turkey Laboratory 

Post Mortem

Between 3 and 5 birds are required for a post mortem. Birds for post mortem must be securely packaged in accordance with the clients own local or national mail regulations.

  1. Wrap the birds in newspaper or similar material.
  2. Place in a bin liner or carrier bag and fasten.
  3. Enclose securely in a sturdy cardboard box.
  4. Please ensure they are completely concealed and that paperwork is enclosed.

Please include the following information on the submission form provided

  • Full Name
  • Farm Address
  • Brief History of birds – age/species/recent medication etc
  • Reason for PM
  • Whether the birds have been picked up or culled for the PM
  • Contact Numbers for the vet to contact you on with results


All turkey flocks of 250 birds or more, breeding turkeys and all fattening turkeys are required by law to be tested for Salmonella within three weeks of slaughter. However there are a number of exemptions: the birds produced for private domestic consumption, or where there is direct supply of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the primary products to the final consumer.

PCR Testing 

When turkeys are challenged with any disease, we often use blood samples to make a diagnosis. This requires us to wait a few weeks after the disease challenge, for the birds’ antibody levels to rise. Increasingly the veterinary profession is turning to PCR testing which looks for the DNA of the bacteria or virus. PCR samples are taken whilst the birds are showing clinical signs of illness, thus yielding faster results than blood testing.


  • All swabs used need to be plain, sterile swabs. Swabs in the orange tube are suitable for trachea, kidney or caecal tonsil sampling.
  • The plain swabs in the blue tube are best for cloacal sampling as they are larger.
  • Do not use charcoal swabs.
  • Tracheal swabs require the operative to be trained before attempting to sample, otherwise the swabs may be unproductive. Good eyesight helps and also it is useful for someone to assist by holding the bird.
  • When swabbing any tissues it is important that the technique is carried out as aseptically as possible, so wear disposable gloves and keep the swabs in the tube until you need to swab.
  • Air-dry the swabs before replacing in the tube; the purpose of this is to lower the growth of bacteria and moulds in transit to the laboratory.
  • Clearly label each swab and place them in a plastic bag marked with the site name, house number and date so it is clear which submission form they are with.
  • PCR sampling kits are now available at the practice.

Faecal Sampling: Coccidiosis and Worms 

Unlike in chickens, Coccidiosis in turkeys can be rather inconspicuous in turkeys, with non-specific signs such as dullness and diarrhoea. Faecal oocyst counts allow us to look for coccidiosis oocysts (eggs) and to monitor their numbers so that we can predict problems before they arise.

Worms, whilst reasonably harmless to your turkeys, can carry Blackhead, which is devastating in turkey flocks. Faecal testing allows us to detect and treat worm burdens so as to indirectly reduce the risk of a Blackhead outbreak in your flock.


When taking your blood samples, they should ideally be at least 2ml (i.e 3/4 full) to enable adequate separation of serum back at the laboratory. Allow samples to clot at room temperature. Ensure that the lids are fitted securely. For more information on correct packaging of samples, go to

Water Samples

For full potable (drinking quality water) i.e. Borehole you are required to take a 500ml sample. If taking from a tap or stopcock, remember, if it has not been opened for some time there will be a build up of bacteria present that can affect your results. Therefore, clean around the tap or stopcock, heat if possible or wipe with alcohol wipe. Allow the water to run for 1-2 minutes. Fill a 500ml sample pot to within 1cm of top. Label container and send to the laboratory immediately for testing, packaged correctly to avoid any leakages.

For In-farm or Shed Samples you will need to take a 30ml sample. Clean around the end drinker line or nipple with an alcohol wipe. Remove bung from end of line, pipe or nipple. Run water into a bucket for 1-2 minutes and discard.