Veterinary Laboratory Services

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 Provincial laboratory has previously obtained SANAS ISO 17025 accreditation for test methods including controlled disease testing and microbiology testing in food, feed, and water samples. Please visit the SANAS website for any updates on the accreditation status of test 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 below.

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 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) 
  • Dourine CFT (PDF / MS Word) 

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. 

Accurate diagnosis and testing depend on the correct submission of quality specimens. Where applicable, please include animal history (purpose of testing, age, vaccinations, medication, date of sampling, number of animal deaths, etc.). 


All fees are VAT exempt. If samples are referred or sub-contracted for testing at another laboratory, an additional fee may be applicable. In these instances, the client who submitted the sample will be requested to pay the additional fee directly to the referral or sub-contracted lab oratory. Please contact the laboratory for further information. 

Sample packaging 

Please ensure that samples transported by road or air are packaged according to WOAH 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 the following elements: 

  • First layer: a leak-proof receptacle (avoid glass containers). The primary receptacle must be packaged with 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 the sender’s 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 WOAH website for more information. 
  • Where necessary, place frozen ice pack inside the cooler box to keep samples cool during transport. 

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 
Tel: 021 808 7510 
GPS Coordinates: 33.91992 S, 18.86915 E 

Please consult the latestspecimen submission guidelines for more information on tests offered, fees, sample and transport requirements and turnaround times for each test. 

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 DALRRD. 

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 ensuring 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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