Emergency Pets Protocol – U.S. Clients

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

To access our Vet Network, click here.

***WATCH OUR INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO to ensure your emergency samples are packaged properly


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 post-mortem situation. If the animal/tissue has been kept under optimal conditions post-mortem — cool (approximately 4ºC), not frozen, then the maximum length of time we can accept the biopsy samples is 5 days post-mortem. 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.


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

Death or Euthanasia

If the pet dies or is euthanized, refrigerate but DO NOT FREEZE the animal until you perform the biopsy procedure.  Complete the biopsy procedure and store each biopsy sample in a separate sterile tube containing sterile saline. Blood tubes without anticoagulant are appropriate vials. Store vials in the refrigerator but DO NOT FREEZE until ready to package and send out.

Items Required

  • Razor
  • Sterilizing Agent (chlorhexidine/alcohol)
  • Sterile Gauze
  • Scalpel Blade
  • Tweezers
  • Marker
  • Sterile Blood Tubes (without anticoagulant) or Sterile Container with lid, such as a urine specimen container.
  • Sterile Saline
  • Ice Packs – we recommend two fully frozen 24-ounce gel ice packs 
  • Styrofoam Box or Cooler for Shipment
  • Newspaper or Bubble Wrap
  • Storage Agreement
  • Biopsy Form


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

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 cm x 2 cm) tissue samples with sterile forceps. 

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 an ice pack 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 pack.
  4. Place an additional ice pack on top of the wrapped samples.
  5. Place a signed cell storage agreement in a Ziploc bag and include in the box.
  6. Seal the box and immediately send samples to ViaGen Pets via FedEX® PRIORITY OVERNIGHT.

Ship Samples to the address below and provide the tracking information to ViaGen Pets:

Attn: Lab Processing ViaGen Pets
715 Discovery Blvd, Suite 410
Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Phone: 888-876-6104