Veterinary Laboratory Services


An extensive renovation project is planned for the buildings of the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory towards the latter part of 2022. Herewith please find a letter from the Head of Department of Agriculture, Dr. Mogale Sebopetsa, with provisional information regarding this project.

The Provincial Veterinary Laboratory at Helderfontein, Stellenbosch renders an extensive diagnostic service to the livestock, poultry, ostrich and aquaculture industries and also delivers a supporting service to other provincial and national departments.

A wide spectrum of tests is conducted in the diagnostic bacteriology, serology, virology, parasitology, histology, PCR and biochemistry sections of the laboratory. The laboratory also receives samples such as meat, water, animal feed and swabs for hygiene monitoring for veterinary public health and food safety testing. The laboratory has a laboratory information management system (LIMS) that greatly enhances the capturing and availability of data on all functions performed.

The Provincial laboratory has obtained ISO 17025 accreditation for several test methods including controlled disease testing for Brucellosis, Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease, African Horse Sickness and Salmonella spp. detection. The food safety section is accredited for several methods testing food, animal feed, meat and water samples. Accreditation facilitates international recognition and the maintenance of a high standard of service delivery. Please visit the SANAS website for the latest schedule of accredited tested methods for our laboratory (V0029).

Sample submission

Samples sent to the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory for testing must be accompanied by a submission form, which can be obtained at the laboratory, or downloaded from the Forms tab.

A completed sample submission form (PDF/ MS Word) for disease testing or for veterinary public health/food safety testing (PDF/MS Word)  must accompany each submission. Please complete the form in detail including all information with each submission. Samples will not be released for testing until full client (owner and sender) information is provided. To avoid unnecessary delays in testing, please ensure that submission forms are completed in full. The published turnaround time will only commence once the samples have been released for testing.

Please make use of specific forms for disease testing for:

  • Bovine Brucellosis for milk ring test (MRT) (PDF/MS Word)
  • Bovine Brucellosis testing on serum (RBT; CFT): a Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: Department of Animal Health (DALRRD: DAH) approved Brucellosis testing form (BR5 PDF/BR5 MS Word), should accompany Bovine Brucellosis samples (forms are also available from your local State Veterinarian).
  • Caprine & Ovine Brucellosis CFT testing (PDF/MS Word)

Accurate diagnosis and testing depends on the correct submission of quality specimens; please refer to the tabulated testing services for sample submission details.  Where applicable, please include animal history (purpose of testing, age, vaccinations, medication, date of sampling, number of animal deaths, etc.).

Please consult this specimen submission guideline for more information on sample requirements and turnaround times for the various tests.

Sample packaging

Please ensure that samples transported by road or air are packaged according to OIE regulations. The principle of a three-layer system should be followed. All biological material should be packaged and transported to:

  • Minimise the risk of exposure for those in transportation and should protect the environment and susceptible animal populations from potential exposure.
  • Protect the integrity of the specimens and avoid cross-contaminating other specimens and the environment. 

A three-layer system comprises of the following elements:

  • First layer: a leak-proof receptacle (avoid glass containers). The primary receptacle must be packaged within enough absorbent material to absorb all fluid in case of breakage and sealed in a clear plastic bag.
  • Second layer: The secondary packaging must be durable, watertight, and leak-proof to enclose and protect the primary receptacle e.g. plastic container or water-tight plastic bag.
  • Third layer: a rigid outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use e.g. plastic or cardboard box. The delivery address, name and telephone number of the laboratory and senders details should be indicated. The Proper shipping name and UN Number should be indicated on the third layer and the overpack (e.g. cooler box). Routine diagnostic specimens will be packaged as “Biological substance, Category B, UN3373”. Refer to the OIE website for more information. 

A courier service should be used where possible or samples may be hand delivered to the following address:

Western Cape Provincial Veterinary Laboratory

Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch, 7600

Tel: 021 808 5710

GPS Coordinates: 33.91992 S, 18.86915 E

 Latest specimen submission guideline

Food safety, zoonotic, controlled and notifiable disease testing and reporting

Please note that it is compulsory for all laboratories performing tests for food safety, zoonotic, controlled and notifiable disease conditions to report an incidence of a positive or suspected case to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) as per amendments to Regulation 12, Section 31, of the Animal Diseases Act, Act 35, 1984 and the Meat Safety Act, Act No. 40 of 2000. In some instances, both positive and negative test results may be reported at the request of state veterinarians(s) and/or DAFF.

Client information and results will be disclosed to the provincial state veterinarian, the submitter (private veterinarian or laboratory), the Director (Animal Health) and/or the National Executive Officer of DALLRD.

In addition, client information and results will also be disclosed to external auditors subject to the requirements of external auditing or assessment bodies performing auditing activities. Client information is also disclosed to sub-contractor or referral testing laboratories and institutions that perform additional testing.

Protection of customer information

At the WC PVL we are committed to protecting your privacy and to ensure that your personal information is collected and used properly, lawfully and transparently. Please refer to our Customer privacy notice for more information.

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