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Emergency Pets Protocol – U.S. Clients

If you are outside of the U.S. click here for our International Emergency Instructions.

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***WATCH OUR INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO to insure your emergency samples are packaged properly: click here.

We recognize that the loss of a pet (or the consideration of euthanasia) is an emotional time and many thoughts are on your mind. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-888-876-6104.

If you wish to have a Genetic Preservation (GP) of your pet, it is important to collect the necessary tissue samples promptly.  Below you will find instructions for collecting those samples. While Genetic Preservation (GP) does not require you to clone your pet, if you would like to clone your pet Genetic Preservation (GP) is necessary.

General Information

Time is of the essence in a postmortem situation. If the pet/tissue has been kept under optimal conditions postmortem — cool (approximately 4ºC), not frozen — then the maximum length of time we can accept the biopsy samples is 5 days postmortem. Storage at higher temperatures will decrease the chance of successful preservation and should be avoided. Keep in mind that each day the pet 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 pet biopsied while it is alive. These instructions are to be used for obtaining tissue for genetic preservation of cells from deceased pets. Tissue samples received will be used to establish cell cultures, and the resulting cells will be harvested and stored frozen.


DO NOT ship samples on Friday as our lab does not receive shipments on the weekends. If samples are from a deceased pet and need to be received in lab as soon as possible, contact ViaGen Pets for alternate instructions.  Do not ship samples on or close to holidays.

Sudden Death or Euthanasia

If the pet dies suddenly or if you must euthanize the pet, refrigerate but DO NOT FREEZE the pet until you perform the biopsy procedure. If euthanizing the pet, collect biopsy samples prior to euthanasia. Complete the biopsy procedure and store each biopsy sample in a separate sterile tube containing sterile saline. Blood tubes without anticoagulant are appropriate. Store tubes in the refrigerator until ready to package and send out.  DO NOT FREEZE.

Items Required

  • Razor
  • Sterilizing Agent
  • Sterile Gauze
  • Scalpel Blade
  • Tweezers
  • Marker
  • Sterile Blood Tubes (without anticoagulant)
  • Sterile Saline
  • Ice Packs – we recommend two 24-ounce gel ice packs that are fully frozen
  • Insulated Foam Cooler for Shipment
  • Newspaper or Bubble Wrap
  • Storage Agreement
  • Biopsy Form


Sample Types

Recommended tissue types for Genetic Preservation include skin and ear.  We prefer to receive three to four independent samples from more than one tissue type.  AT LEAST 1 EAR SAMPLE IS REQUIRED FROM DECEASED PETS.

Aseptic Preparation of Biopsy Site

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

Tools and Technique

Sterile scalpel and forceps are required. Cut through all the layers including the epidermis, dermis, and the most superficial parts of the subcutis. Remove a total of 4 (2.0 cm X 2.0 cm) tissue samples. Using sterile forceps, place 4 tissue samples in tubes containing sterile saline (one sample per tube). Refrigerate samples until just prior to shipping.

Labeling Instructions

Using a marker, clearly label one tube for each sample with the following:

  1. Tissue Type
  2. Collection Date
  3. Date of Death
  4. Species
  5. Pet’s Name
  6. Sex of the Pet

Shipment Procedure for Tissue Samples

  1. Place the ice packs in the bottom of an insulated foam cooler.
  2. Wrap each sample container in newspaper or bubble wrap, so they will not come in direct contact with the ice packs.
  3. Place the samples on top of the ice packs.
  4. Place any contracts and completed biopsy form in a bag and include in the box.
  5. Seal the box and immediately send samples to ViaGen Pets via FedEX® PRIORITY OVERNIGHT.