Biobest Laboratories Ltd

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions from vets and customers regarding rabies testing procedures and the movement of animals between countries.


How do I send my rabies sample to Biobest?

What courier will deliver my sample to Biobest?

There are a number of couriers that will deliver samples to Biobest. Please ensure that your package is clearly marked with the following information, this should ensure your package reaches Biobest without any problems.

  • Import Licence numbers: (Scottish airports: TARP(S) 2019/56, English airports: ITIMP19.1186)
  • Canine/feline serum samples, no commercial value.
  • Animal diagnostic specimens - not restricted.
  • Packed in compliance with IATA packing instructions 650.
  • Country of origin: (your country)

Below are a list of couriers that can be used - please note this list is for guidance purposes only.

  • UPS
  • DHL
  • TNT
  • Parcel Force

Based on our experience we would strongly recomend that you do not use FEDEX when sending samples. If you have to use FEDEX please ensure that the waybill is completed fully as described in our sample shipment advice in order to avoid any delays or additional charges.

Can pet owners submit samples directly to Biobest?

We do accept rabies samples direct from pet owners provided all paperwork is correctly filled in, including the signature of the vet who has taken the sample.  Please note that due to the extra administrative work associated with invoicing non-account customers the price is £81 (inc VAT) rather than £60 (ex VAT).

How long after my pet has been vaccinated can I have a sample taken?

We would recommend blood sampling 30 days after vaccination. For entry into the UK from non-listed countries there is a minimum period of 30 days between vaccination and blood sampling. Regulations for entry into other countries (e.g. Australia) vary and before arranging vaccination and blood testing it is best to confirm the current legislation with the relevant animal health authority.

How long can my pets sample be stored before I send it to Biobest?

We would recommend that the sample is sent to us immediately after collection. If this is not possible serum should be taken from the sample and samples can be stored at -20C for long periods. Antibodies are reasonably stable in a sterile sample and it may be possible to test a sample that has been stored for some time in a refrigerator. Please contact us for advice.

Are photocopies of my pets submission form/certificate acceptable?

NO - The original certificate with the vet's signature must be sent. A veterinary surgeon must collect the sample and sign the form in ink to confirm that all details are correct.

Do I need to send my credit card details with my sample?

Payment can be made by sterling cheque, postal order, BACS, cash or credit card. Please note that we no longer accept AMEX cards.

Can I bring the sample direct to Biobest?

Yes you can bring your sample direct to Biobest from within the UK along with your certificate signed by the vet.

Which test do you use?

Biobest use the FAVN test (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation test), the test is also sometimes called the RNATT (Rabie Neutralising Antibody Titre Test). Our test is recognised worldwide for the purposes of international movement of pets.

How much does the test cost?

UK customer prices: £60 (ex-VAT)

Overseas customer prices: £67.50 or US $80* per sample.

It is possible to pay by credit card (not AMEX), cash or Sterling cheque (made payable to Biobest). Payment in full must be received before results will be reported.
*Due to market fluctuations overseas prices may change without any prior warning.

When / how will I receive my results?

We aim to return results 5-7 working days after receipt of samples, however due to significantly increased demand we are experiencing as a result of uncertainty over Brexit, it can take up to 10 working days. Results will usually be sent directly to your vet.

My animal failed the blood test, what happens now?

A small percetage of animals do fail the first blood test.  In these cases we would recommend that the animal is given a booster vaccination and another blood sample is taken 14-28 days later as this is the time when the maximum antibody response will be present.  Customers should check the regulations for the country they are traveling to, as some countries specift the minimum period between vaccination and blood sampling.

My vet has heard that some laboratories reject samples which may cause problems on the test, what can I do to ensure that my sample is OK?

Biobest have been performing testing for the Pet Travel Scheme since 2000 and we have developed procedures for dealing with samples which can cause other laboratories problems. We are confident that we will be able to get results for over 99% of samples we receive.

My results are reported in IU/ml, what does this mean?

The term IU/ml means international units per millilitre. This is an internationally recognised unit to quantify rabies antibody levels in blood samples. A level of 0.5 IU/ml is indicative that an animal has protective immunity against rabies and this is the cut-off used for the purposes of international transport of pets.

Why is my result reported as >XX IU/ml rather than an exact number?

We test samples at four dilutions, this dilution series ensures that we can give precise titres for samples which are near to the cut off of 0.5 IU/ml. For international travel there is no need to titrate samples with high antibody levels to an end-point so samples are reported as being greater than the upper limit for the particular test. We can titrate strong positive samples to end-point in order to obtain a precise titre but there is an additional charge for this service.

I have submitted several samples and many have come back with exactly the same result, how can this be possible?

Each sample is tested at four dilutions in quadruplicate. This means that there are a total of 16 test wells per sample. Each of these wells is tested for the presence of rabies antibodies and is scored as being positive or negative. The titre reported is based on the number of wells which are positive for rabies antibodies and therefore there are only 16 possible results for any given sample. The majority of samples from animals in which rabies vaccination has been successful will have results which are towards the upper limit of our test and as such many of the samples on any given test will have identical results.

My animal has a titre of 0.48 IU/ml, should this be rounded up to 0.5, i.e. a pass?

Unfortunately it is not possible to round up results. As described above our test results are based on the number of test wells which contain rabies antibodies. A formula is then used to convert this figure into a result in IU/ml and this is always calculated to 2 significant figures as per OIE guidelines.

Why is my result reported as <XX IU/ml?

Some animals either fail to respond correctly to vaccination or have not been vaccinated prior to testing. In these instances there may be no detectable antibodies to rabies in the sample. In this case every test well will be negative and results will be reported as less than the lowest detectable level of antibody for a given test.

Why do the precise values reported vary between tests?

As described above there are only 16 possible results for a sample on any given test. Each test also includes an OIE approved control, a standard canine serum known to have a titre of 0.5IU/ml. As this control is run on every test we can obtain a rolling average result for this serum. This average is then used in a formula which translates the number of positive wells for a given sample to a result in IU/ml. As the rolling average will vary slightly from test to test so the actual numerical results reported for a sample will also vary slightly between tests.

If you can not find the answer to your question, please contact the office for further information.