Only HPAI activated National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratories such as the MSU VDL are authorized to perform HPAI testing.

For Michigan herds, veterinarians should contact the MSU VDL at 517-353-1683 with any questions about sample collection, handling, or submission.

Report suspected HPAI Infections in Michigan domestic animals to MDARD: 800-292-3939 (daytime) and 517-373-0440 or 412-847-2255 (after-hours).

Report suspected HPAI Infections in Michigan wildlife to MDNR: 517-336-5030 or Eyes in the Field: a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Online Form.

For more information about avian influenza in Michigan, please visit Michigan.gov/BirdFlu.

HPAI Submission Forms & Sample Drop-off

Please help us practice good biosecurity and protect animal health in Michigan. When dropping off HPAI-suspect samples, please follow the HPAI H5N1 Sample Drop-off Instructions on the second page of the submittal form.

MSU VDL Cattle Interstate Movement HPAI Submission Form - For Required Testing of Lactating Dairy Cattle for Interstate Movement

MSU VDL HPAI General Submission Form - For Testing of Apparently Healthy Cattle and Sick or Dead Cats, Other Companion Animals, or Wildlife Near Affected Premises

Premises ID is REQUIRED. If Prem ID is not provided on the form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.

Additional details are provided below.

Situational Overview

Detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in cattle have been confirmed in dairy herds in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina, South Dakota, Colorado, and Michigan.

Affected dairies report the following clinical signs:

  • Acute sudden drop in milk production, with some severely impacted cows experiencing thicker, concentrated, colostrum like milk,
  • Decrease in feed consumption,
  • Abnormal tacky or loose feces,
  • Low grade fever.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the commercial milk supply remains safe due to both federal animal health requirements and pasteurization. Pasteurization has continuously been proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current risk to the public remains low. To date, there is no evidence of changes to the virus that would make it more likely to cause disease in people.

This is a dynamic situation. The MSU VDL will update the information provided here as new guidance is issued by regulatory agencies.

Required Testing of Lactating Dairy Cattle for Interstate Movement

Federal Order Requiring Testing for and Reporting of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Livestock (effective Monday, April 29, 2024)

For detailed requirements, including sample collection for movement testing, see the USDA APHIS Requirements and Recommendations for HPAI H5NI Virus in Livestock for State Animal Health Officials, Accredited Veterinarians, and Producers.

Lactating Cows Only

(Nonclinical lactating dairy cattle moving interstate direct to slaughter are not required to have a premovement test.)

Testing costs are covered by APHIS; there is no cost to submitter.

Samples are to be collected by or under the supervision of an accredited veterinarian, or a state licensed veterinarian, or a sample collector approved by the appropriate state animal health official.

  • Collect milk/udder secretions from individual cows.
  • Sample each quarter and combine into one sample for submission to the laboratory.
  • Submissions must be between 3-10 ml of milk per animal.
  • Do not pool samples.

For groups/lots of 30 or fewer animals moving interstate, all animals being moved must be tested. If more than 30 animals are moving interstate, then only 30 animals total must be tested.

Sample collection and testing must take place no more than seven (7) days prior to interstate movement. Testing is performed at the MSU VDL Monday through Friday with a turnaround time of not more than three (3) days. We encourage submissions to arrive at the Laboratory at the beginning of the seven-day window.

Please complete the MSU VDL Cattle Interstate Movement HPAI Submission Form and follow the instructions for sample drop-off. Information for shipping samples to the Laboratory is below. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.

How to Ship Samples for Cattle Movement Testing:

  1. Ensure the screw tops of leakproof tubes are secure. Package samples in biohazard or zip-top bag.
  2. Place bagged samples inside a second biohazard or zip-top bag along with absorbent material.
  3. Make a copy of the submittal form. Place the original in a separate zip-top bag.
  4. Place double-bagged samples and bagged submittal form inside an insulated shipping container with ice packs.
  5. Seal the shipping container and include the copy of the submittal form in an envelope taped to the outside of the container.
  6. Mark each side of the outside of the package with a large “M” and circle it, preferably with a brightly colored marker if you have one. This is to help our receiving staff locate and prioritize your samples. Make the M as big and noticeable as possible! If you have fluorescent tape or labels, you can add those to the outside of the container as well.
  7. Ship overnight*: MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 4125 Beaumont Road Lansing, MI 48910-8104
  8. Pre-paid UPS and FedEx shipping labels are available through the MSU VDL. Call the Laboratory at 517-353-1683 to order and the label will be emailed to you.
  9. Email CVM.VDL_HPAI@cvm.msu.edu before 7:30 a.m. the day samples are scheduled to arrive. In the subject line, indicate Shipment of H5N1 Samples for Cattle Movement. In the body of the email, please provide the tracking number, carrier (UPS or FedEx), and the number of samples in the shipment.

*Please note that UPS and FedEx deliver overnight Monday through Friday. Samples shipped on a Friday will be delivered on Monday unless you pay for Saturday delivery. Testing is performed Monday through Friday. Samples received on Saturday will be opened and appropriately stored for testing on Monday morning.

Voluntary Testing of Cattle and Other Species

While interstate movement testing of lactating dairy cattle is required per the Federal Order, producers and veterinarians may choose to conduct additional testing to manage HPAI suspect or affected herds to better protect their herds.

APHIS will cover the testing costs for the following groups:

  • Suspect (sick) cattle (must obtain a foreign animal disease investigation (FADI) number)
  • Apparently healthy cattle
  • Sick or dead domestic animals near the affected premise
  • Wildlife (reason for submission must indicate emerging event)
Testing Suspect (Sick) Cattle

View the complete USDA Case Definition here.

New Suspect Cases:

Dairy farms and other cattle herds with an active event: cows exhibiting clinical signs or exposed cattle showing no clinical signs; there may be dead/sick birds, cats, or other mammals.

  • APHIS will fund NAHLN laboratory influenza PCR testing for foreign animal disease investigations of suspect herds, including testing for other affected mammals and birds.
  • Accredited veterinarians may submit samples from suspect premises for reimbursement providing they obtain authorization from their State Animal Health Official and/or APHIS Area Veterinarian In Charge (AVIC) and obtain a foreign animal disease investigation or emergency programs (FAD/ED) number.
  • If testing a lactating animal, one sample must be milk or mammary tissue (if the animal has died). It is very important for each quarter to be sampled, as there have been reports of only one quarter having virus. Pool the milk from each quarter into one sample for submission to the laboratory. Submit between 3-10 ml of milk per animal.
  • If cows are not lactating, deep nasal swabs are the best sample type. Use a single sterile swab to sample both nostrils. Brush nasal muscosa firmly with the swab. After both nasal passages have been sampled, place swab in PrimeStore MTM, BHI broth, or sterile saline. Vigorously swirl the swab in the media and remove the swab. Do not submit dry swabs. Do not pool swabs.
  • Please complete the MSU VDL HPAI General Submission Form and follow the instructions for sample drop-off. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.

For Dead Animals:

While mortality is rare in these cases, necropsies should be performed on dead animals. Deceased animals can be submitted to the MSU VDL for full necropsies. When performing a field necropsy, collect milk (10-15 mls per cow) and a full set of tissues both fresh and fixed in 10% buffered formalin: lung to include bronchial tissue and associated lymph nodes, trachea, heart, liver, spleen, rumen content, GI tract at all levels with associated lymph nodes, kidney, mammary gland with associated lymph nodes, bladder and urine, and skeletal muscle.

Testing Apparently Healthy Cattle
  • If testing a lactating animal, one sample must be milk. It is very important for each quarter to be sampled, as there have been reports of only one quarter having virus. Pool the milk from each quarter into one sample for submission to the laboratory. Submit between 3-10 ml of milk per animal.
  • If cows are not lactating, deep nasal swabs are the best sample type. Use a single sterile swab to sample both nostrils. Brush nasal muscosa firmly with the swab. After both nasal passages have been sampled, place swab in PrimeStore MTM, BHI broth, or sterile saline. Vigorously swirl the swab in the media and remove the swab. Do not submit dry swabs. Do not pool swabs.
  • Because the sensitivity of nasal swabs is not known, animals introduced into the herd within 6 months of lactation should be sampled upon freshening.
  • Please complete the MSU VDL HPAI General Submission Form and follow the instructions for sample drop-off. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.
Testing Sick or Dead Cats or Other Companion Animals Near Affected Premises

Cats are particularly susceptible to H5N1 2.3.4.4b viruses; cats with neurologic disease and dead cats on affected dairies are widely reported.

  • Brain swabs from affected cats (or whole carcasses) can be submited.
  • Other domestic animals associated with affected farms showing illness should be tested. Contact the MSU VDL at 517-353-1683 for consultation.
  • Please complete the MSU VDL HPAI General Submission Form and follow the instructions for sample drop-off. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.
Testing Wildlife

Sampling dead and dying birds as well as mammals particularly around affected premises is encouraged. Contact the local wildlife agency or call USDA Wildlife Services at 1-866-4USDA-WS (or 1-866-487-3297). They can assist with identification and sampling. Birds are sampled by collecting oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs.

  • Submit whole carcass to the MSU VDL.
  • Wild bird mortality events in and around affected premises should be reported to the State Wildlife Agency or APHIS Wildlife Services at 1-866-4USDA-WS.
  • Apparently healthy wildlife should not be euthanized solely for sampling.
  • Please complete the MSU VDL HPAI General Submission Form and follow the instructions for sample drop-off. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID.
Once HPAI is Ruled Out

If sick cattle test negative for HPAI, the MSU VDL has a general diagnostic plan, including viral, bacterial, parasitic, and nutritional causes of disease, and can discuss specific plan with referring veterinarians. This testing may be funded through the USDA Unusual Morbidity and Mortality (UME) event program. Please include the following samples for subsequent testing from 10 healthy and 10 affected animals per herd:

  • EDTA whole blood (5ml)
  • Serum (5ml)
  • Feces (5g)
  • Urine (5ml)
  • Nasal swabs in viral transport media, BHI, or sterile saline
  • Rumen contents

Important Note:

Only HPAI activated National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratories such as the MSU VDL are authorized to perform HPAI testing.

Please contact the MSU VDL at 517-353-1683 with any questions about sample collection, handling, or submission.

HPAI Resources and Updates:

Page last updated: May 17, 2024.

Page published: March 27, 2024