Anthrax Sample Submission

Anthrax is a reportable disease under the federal Health of Animals Act and the Manitoba Animal Diseases Act and Regulations. Veterinarians who suspect a case of anthrax must contact the Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) at 204-945-7663. The CVO is responsible for reporting confirmed anthrax cases to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Manitoba Public Health and other stakeholders.
The following information can also be downloaded as a factsheet (PDF 355 KB).  

Carcass Containment 





  • Do not move the carcass or conduct a necropsy.
  • Take measures to keep scavengers away from the carcass. Covering it with a tarp weighed down by rocks should be sufficient.
  • See Useful Links on our website for more information.

Specimen Collection and Submission

The required sample is whole blood. Use a needle and syringe to collect blood from the jugular vein and place the blood in a standard serum tube (red-top tube). The tube does not need to be more than one-third to one-half full; it should not be filled to the stopper.

Use a Styrofoam tube box or adequate packing material to protect the tube during transit and place it in a secondary container such as a cardboard box. Ice packs should be used in hot weather.

Place the submission form in a plastic bag taped to the outside of the box. Paperwork should never be in close contact with the sample.
Required information on the submission form includes:
  • name of the referring veterinarian and clinic
  • owner's full name
  • owner's address (legal land location) and/or premises identification number
  • anthrax suspect should be clearly indicated on the submission form
Submission forms can be obtained from the Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS) website. If for any reason, a blood sample is not obtainable, alternative sampling should be discussed with VDS.

Do not submit anthrax-suspect carcasses to VDS under any circumstances.   

Anthrax Testing 

The blood sample is used to make a smear stained with polychrome methylene blue, and a subsample is used for PCR testing. If the blood is fresh enough, the smear may permit a presumptive positive diagnosis. The definitive test is the PCR assay that detects Bacillus anthracis DNA. The cost of anthrax testing will be covered by the CVO. VDS will report test results to the CVO and the referring veterinarian.

Positive Anthrax Cases

In the event that samples test positive for Bacillus anthracis, the CVO will oversee carcass disposal and will coordinate control measures with the referring veterinarian, owner and relevant government agencies. 


For more information, or if you suspect any animal health related concerns, please contact the Chief Veterinary Office or call 204-945-7663 in Winnipeg.