NB. Examination is not undertaken on specimens likely to involve criminal prosecutions (e.g. in cases of suspected malicious poisoning). In such cases, the police or other relevant regulatory authority should be consulted before any action is taken. (Refer Conditions for acceptance of specimens).
Most chemical analyses are specific for at best a narrow group of chemicals eg organophosphates. As the analyses tend to be expensive, clients should carefully consider history, clinical findings and pathological findings so that only the most likely chemical is nominated when completing a request for chemical analysis. Where NSW Department of Primary Industries Laboratories are not capable of conducting the requested analysis, samples will be referred at cost to an outside provider selected on the basis of NATA accreditation and value.
History, clinical signs and in some cases, laboratory examination. Confirmation of chemical poisoning depends upon the demonstration of the poison in body tissues and organs.
- Irritant poisons will cause a gastroenteritis.
- When specific drugs (e.g. drenches, dips, feeds, additives) are suspected, then material should be submitted as recommended by the manufacturer.
- A limited range of analyses are available on a routine basis.
- At least 100 g of stomach content, submitted chilled for toxicology.
NB The Specimen Advice Form should request a particular analysis.
- Approximately 500 g of suspect material eg feed, soil for chemical analysis.
NB Analysis of this material is usually only requested after poisoning is confirmed and submitters wish to identify the source of the poison.
- Sections of liver, kidney and other organs showing lesions, submitted in buffered formalin for histopathology.
- Specimens as required to allow a differential diagnosis.