Anatomic Pathology

The Anatomic Pathology Service provides autopsies (also known as necropsies) and specialized surgical pathology services to all Veterinary Hospitals within the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical System and the public via their referring veterinarian.

For Animal Owners: Please note, animals cannot be accepted without prior request submission from a referring veterinarian.

Service Highlights

Autopsy Service

Animal autopsy requests can be ordered through the Core One TraceFirst portal for those veterinary clinics who have already logged in with the password received from the Veterinary Medical Center. These requests will go directly through the Core One TraceFirst lab portal and are billed to the referring veterinarian's account who submitted the request. Owners should be billed accordingly by the referring veterinarian.

Access to autopsy request through the Core One portal is only available after initial log in.  For instructions on how to log into the Core One laboratory information systems portal, please click here.


Surgical Biopsy Service

The Anatomic Pathology Service offers specialized biopsy services noted below for veterinary practitioners. Biopsy submissions are otherwise limited to in-house submissions for patients of the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical System Veterinary Hospitals.

Comparative Theriogenology & Reproductive Pathology Service



Autopsy FAQ’s

An animal autopsy, also known as necropsy, is a thorough examination performed on a deceased animal to determine the cause of death, identify any underlying diseases or conditions, and gather information for research or investigative purposes. Just like autopsies performed on humans, animal autopsies involve a systematic examination of the body, including external and internal organs, tissues, and bodily fluids. An animal autopsy, while thorough, does not always provide definitive answers about the cause of death. Just like with human autopsies, there can be cases where the cause remains unclear due to various factors such as advanced decomposition, limited information, or complex underlyng conditions. 

Complete autopsy: A complete autopsy involves a systematic examination of the body, including major organs, to identify any abnormalities such as lesions or obstructions. Additionally, tissue and organ samples are examined under a microscope for further analysis. 

Forensic autopsy: A forensic autopsy is a detailed examination performed on a deceased animal for legal or investigative purposes. It involves carefully documenting and analyzing evidence related to the cause and circumstances of the animal's death. This examination includes thorough external and internal inspections, collection of samples for forensic analysis, and documentation of findings to aid in legal proceedings or criminal investigations. 

Cosmetic (limited) autopsies are not offered. 

Animals submitted before 10:30 a.m. will usually undergo autopsy procedure that day.

Drop off times:
Weekdays: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (animals ≤ 125 lbs.) and 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. (animals ≥ 125 lbs.)
Saturday: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

For after-hour companion animal submissions, a $180 fee will be applied in addition to the general autopsy fee.

Forensic/legal cases submitted after 10:30 a.m. on Friday will be performed the following Monday.

The sooner the better since the decomposition process begins as soon as death occurs. The animal must be kept as cool as possible without freezing, which can produce artifacts and compromise interpretation.  The maximum acceptable post-mortem interval prior to autopsy is three days. For any animal that has not been refrigerated immediately post death, contains fly larvae, has been exhumed or frozen for an extended amount of time, performing the autopsy will be at the discretion of the pathologist on service.

Preliminary results will be provided approximately two business days after the procedure to the submitting veterinarian only through the Core One TraceFirst portal. The final report is issued 4 to 5 weeks after the procedure. The final report for animals that were treated at the Veterinary Medical Center within 90 days of death, will automatically go to the OSUVMC in-house clinician who treated the animal. The owner will be contacted with details of the final report only.

Yes. Packages are only able to be received Monday through Friday. University receiving services are closed on weekends and holidays. 
Pets must be placed and shipped in a sealed bag. 

Prior to shipment, rDVMs must submit an autopsy request through the Core One TraceFirst portal. Any animal that arrives without a prior submission will not be accepted for autopsy per autopsy service submission guidelines stated.

Pets must be in a sealed bag, placed in a Styrofoam cooler box with frozen cold packs and the lid taped closed. The Styrofoam box should then be put into a cardboard box labeled PERISHABLE and sent to:
    The Ohio State University Veterinary Biosciences
    Attn:  Jillian DeKiel/Bryan Kessler
    1925 Coffey Road
    Goss Lab, Room 213
    Columbus, OH 43210

Additional Diagnostic Testing of Tissue

Additional ancillary diagnostic testing can be performed from tissues obtained during an autopsy. rDVMs should request that we retain tissue samples if additional testing is to be pursued. These tests include assays to detect the presence of viruses, bacteria and certain toxins. Pursuing additional testing may be an option only after the final report is issued and consultation with the attending pathologist and resident assigned to the case occurs. Toxicology testing is not performed at the OSU Veterinary Medical Center as part of an autopsy but is outsourced to facilities that specialize in this type of diagnostics.  

*Additional testing will incur costs outside of the autopsy pricing and requested only by the rDVM through the TraceFirst Core One portal.


  1. Remains cannot be retrieved by the submitting party after an autopsy. All submissions are required to involve a cremation provider if remains are returned.
  2. Please communicate your wishes for aftercare to your veterinarian to include in the online autopsy submission. Three options are available: private cremation, communal cremation (no ashes returned) and partial private cremation (large animal only). Note: If the aftercare selection is not indicated by the veterinarian submitting the online autopsy request, the animal will be sent for communal cremation.
  3. If you wish to have remembrance items (i.e. pawprint, fur clipping), these must be obtained from your veterinarian prior to submission of your pet's body to the Veterinary Medical Center. No remembrance items are available once the autopsy has been performed. 
  4. The cost of private cremation is directly paid to the cremation provider by the owner and is not included in the price of the autopsy.
  5. Schoedinger Pets Memorial & Cremation Services is the only private cremation provider for small animals permitted to pick up from OSU.
  6. A cremation form will be provided by the front desk staff for you to fill out for the private cremation option when the animal is brought to OSU. This form ensures the collection of the animal, and communication from the private cremation service provider to the owner for payment and any additional services.
  7. If you wish for us to dispose of your pet's remains (small animal cases), we do so through communal cremation service. Ashes will not be returned to you.
  8. For farm animals and equine, partial private cremation is available through Pet Cremation Services & Equine. This service is charged directly to the owner. Full body cremation for large animals after an autopsy is performed.

Animal Autopsy (Necropsy) Fees

TypeFee (per animal)

Canine / Feline

*Or other species <125 lbs

+ $35 (communal cremation)
*Private cremation (fee by weight)
Farm Animal > 125 lbs
Bovine, Cameld, Caprine, Ovine, Porcine
Equine > 125 lbs $655
+ private partial cremation (if desired)
WildlifePlease use weight and comparable species from above to determine price


Additional Fees

Small Animal After Hour Drop-Offs*

Additional fees apply for any drop-offs outside the following hours: 
M-F 8am-4pm, Saturday 8am-12pm
(No drop-offs accepted on Sundays or holidays)



Animals over 125 lbs CANNOT be accepted after hours due to facility and staffing limitations. Drop off hours for these animals are M-F 8am-3pm.

Insurance Cases$240
Forensic Cases $750
DisposalIncluded in autopsy price. Disposal only submissions will not be accepted.
Ancillary Diagnostic Testing
(Toxicology, Virology, Microbiology)
Ancillary diagnostic testing is not included in the autopsy and will incur additional cost


* Please note that if a dog or cat owner prefers private cremation, Schoedinger will bill the owner directly for that service. Those costs are not reflected in our fees.

Please note that while there is no charge for the autopsy of an animal that has been a patient at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center within the last 90 days, fees will be incurred for aftercare of the remains ($35.00 for small animal communal cremation; $59.50 for large animal disposal).

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