How to Draw Blood – Instructions

Check here for Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory’s (WADDL) current fee schedule, prices are subject to change.

We needed to draw blood to test our does for CAE. I have never drawn blood but had studied one webpage with photos and read about how to do it, plus asked for advice from goat email lists that I’m on. And my mother is a trained phlebotomist who says her instructor told her she was a “natural” so maybe I inherited the talent. 🙂

I asked my son to take pictures so I could create a tutorial for others who need to draw blood for testing. Today we are drawing blood from Brooklyn to test for CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephilitis). There are several other tests that require blood for testing. For CAE, you will need 3cc’s of blood.

We shipped our samples to WADDL (Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory). For CAE testing: If you live out of state (in other words, if you do not live in the state of Washington) the charge is $10 accession fee to accept the samples and $6.00 for each tube (animal) being tested.

PART ONE: Items needed
First, let’s run through the list of items you will need on hand for drawing blood; gather these all together ahead of time:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper towels or cotton balls
  • Needle syringe that will hold at least 3cc’s
  • Needle tip measuring 3/4″ x 20A way to tie your goat in place or someone to hold him/her still
  • Vacutainer Blood Tubes ( “red-top” clot tube or serum separator tube)
  • Sharpie Marker to label the tubes

Needles and syringes can usually be purchased from your local feedstore, or they can be purchased online from sites that cater to livestock owners. Jeffers, Valley Vet, etc.

The Vacutainer Blood Tubes were a little harder for me to locate. When I was looking for them online I was unable to find them, but when I did a search just now actually using the correct term for the tubes “Vacutainer” there were lots of hits. Some folks get theirs from their veterinarian, if you are close to a dairy they may sell you some. To give you an idea of price range, I was able to purchase mine (100 tubes) for $14.99 plus shipping/handling.

A woman in my state found hers locally for $24.99. A friend of mine found his through PBS Animal Health. Go to and search for Monoject Blood Collection Tubes. His cost was $17.49 for 100 tubes plus shipping.

Label the tubes with the name of each goat, as well as corresponding numbers for the Animal Identification Sheet.

PART TWO: When you have all your supplies together, you are ready to draw the blood, see photo tutorial page.

PART THREE: Shipping your samples to the laboratory.


  • Paperwork for Laboratory (Assession Form)
  • Animal Identification Sheet from WADDL for multiple animals (this is the sheet which you identify the tubes and state which tests you want done). On this sheet you will match the numbered tubes to the corresponding lines.
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels, newspaper, “peanuts” or bubble wrap
  • Cardboard Box
  • Clear packaging tape


  • Write the number of each tube to correspond with the Animal Identification Sheet. For example, I wrote Brooke on Line 1 of the form, and wrote a 1 on the tube with her blood in it.   Or perhaps you choose to list your animals with a number as shown.

Labeling the Tubes

Labeling the Tubes

Whichever way you do it, be sure to keep your own records of whose sample is in which tube. We also sent milk in to be tested for mastitis and I forgot which tube had milk from which side of the udder. So I had to call the laboratory and ask — they were very nice but it was a little embarrassing that I didn’t keep better records.

  • FedEx may want to examine the way in which you have packaged your samples so do not fully seal the box.
  • It is not necessary to individually wrap the tubes.  WADDL recommends using padded pouches designed for shipping test tubes (which I could not locate online).  Otherwise they recommend that you bundle groups of 7-10 tubes with a large rubber band, alternating the direction of the tubes so that they nestle together tightly.  Wrap the tubes in bubble wrap, and place in a Ziploc bag.
  • Be sure to cushion the tubes very well in the box, WADDL recommends packing the box so that it will be safe if dropped from a height of four feet.
  • Use an ice pack if you are shipping in warm weather and if it will take several days to ship. If you ship overnight, your samples should be there in less than one day.
  • Go to WADDL’s website and get the assession form to include in the box with the Animal ID Sheet.


  • Write your return address on the box in the left hand top corner.
  • Address the box to WADDL: WSU-WADDL, 155N Bustad Hall, Pullman, WA 99164-7034
  • Include a check for payment in the correct amount. Refer to WADDL’s website for current prices.

At the time this post was written, WADDL did its CAE testing Thursday morning. We drew the blood on Friday morning and drove into town to have it shipped by FedEx only to find they don’t do overnight shipping on Friday, they do a Saturday shipping which costs twice as much. I called a friend who told me the samples should be okay if the FedEx place could refrigerate them over the weekend and ship on Monday morning. She said that when the lab receives samples before the testing day they just refrigerate the samples. So you want to plan your drawing of blood and shipping accordingly. It takes up to one week to get back your test results.

OUR TEST RESULTS: We are happy to report that Brooke tested negative for CAE. I understand that we should test again in six months and then test yearly thereafter.

Links to CAE articles:

WADDL CAE Information

Cornerstone Farm

Fiasco Farm

Blood Drawing Information Sites:

How to Draw Blood and Blood Test Your Goats

Drawing Blood is Child’s Play

If you would like to have the How to Draw Blood Instructions and Photo Tutorial together in one convenient PDF, please remember we now have it available for the low price of only $5.95.

U-Say Ranch Blood Drawing Tutorial

Click here to go to the Photo Tutorial on Drawing Blood.

Originally written October 2008; Updated November 21, 2010

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