Emergency Pet Protocols – International Clients

Genetic Preservation Biopsy Instructions
Deceased Pets- International

(You can find a PDF version of these instructions here.)

***WATCH OUR INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO to ensure your emergency samples are packaged properly. For International shipments, add 4 ice packs rather than 2.

General Information
Time and temperature are the most important factors in a post-mortem situation. Refrigerate (DO NOT FREEZE) the body as soon as possible after death, have biopsy samples taken and shipped to ViaGen Pets as soon as possible. The biopsy samples should be kept approximately 4ºC and received by ViaGen Pets within 5 days of death. Storage at higher temperatures will decrease the chance of successful preservation and should be avoided. Keep in mind that each day the animal has been deceased minimizes the chance of a successful preservation. Please be aware the best way to assure a successful preservation is to have your animal biopsied while it is alive. These instructions are to be used for obtaining tissue for genetic preservation of cells from deceased animals. Tissue samples received will be used to establish cell cultures, and the resulting cells will be harvested and stored in liquid nitrogen. Biopsy samples should be taken by a veterinarian.

In order to facilitate correct identification of the shipment and to ensure timely delivery the following documentation (Statement of Health) needs to accompany each shipment.
A Statement of Health including the following statements:
• Identifying the material and naming the animal species
• Confirming that the material does not contain any other animal derived material (i.e., does not contain any livestock or poultry origin material).
• Confirming that the material was not derived from feline or canine species which were inoculated with or exposed to any infectious agents of USDA agricultural concern.

Click the link for an example Statement of Health – canine, or example Statement of Health – feline

Items Required
Sterilizing Agent (chlorhexidine/alcohol)
Sterile Gauze
Scalpel Blade or 8 mm biopsy punch
Sterile Blood Tubes (without anticoagulant) or Sterile Container with lid, such as a urine specimen container, filled with Sterile Saline
Ice Packs – we recommend 4 fully frozen, 24-ounce gel ice packs
Styrofoam Box or Cooler for Shipment
Newspaper or Bubble Wrap
Biopsy Form
Storage Agreement – International – signed
Statement of Health (3 copies)
Commercial Invoice (3 copies) – to be provided by your courier

Sample Types

Recommended tissue types for Genetic Preservation are skin and ear tip.  Take four total samples from at least 2 different areas (example: 3 samples from ventral abdomen and/or inner thigh and 1 sample from ear pinna) .  AT LEAST 1 EAR SAMPLE IS REQUIRED. Each sample should be approximately 2 cm x 2 cm in size.

Aseptic Preparation of Biopsy Site
The biopsy area must be shaved and cleansed with a series of chlorhexidine and alcohol scrubs.

Tools and Technique
A sterile scalpel and forceps are required. Cut through all the layers including the epidermis, dermis, and the most superficial parts of the subcutis. Remove (2.0 cm X 2.0 cm) tissue samples with sterile forceps. Alternatively, a sterile 8 mm biopsy punch may be used to take the samples. Place samples in vials filled will sterile saline. Store vials in the refrigerator until ready to package and send out.

Labeling Instructions

1. Using a marker, clearly label one container/tube for each sample with the following:

  • Tissue type
  • Collection date
  • Date of death
  • Species
  • Animal Name
  • Sex of the animal

2. Complete a Biopsy Form and place it in a Ziploc bag and include in the shipment.

Shipment Procedure for Tissue Samples

  1. Place 2 ice packs in the bottom of a Styrofoam box or cooler.
  2. Wrap the samples in newspaper or bubble wrap, so they will not come in direct contact with the ice.
  3. Place the wrapped samples on top of the ice packs.
  4. Place 2 additional ice packs on top of the wrapped samples.
  5. Place a signed cell storage agreement in a Ziploc bag and include it in the box,.
  6. Seal the box, and immediately send samples to ViaGen Pets via FedEx (or similar courier) for overnight delivery or delivery as soon as possible. Provide the tracking number to ViaGen Pets.

Ship samples to:

Attn: Lab Processing ViaGen Pets
715 Discovery Blvd, Suite 410
Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Phone: 512-986-7212