Sample retention policy

Diagnostic sample ownership policy

Biological samples (“Samples”) submitted to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (“VDL”) become the sole property of the VDL.  VDL will have the sole authority regarding disposition of Samples including, but not limited to, the rights to collect, study, store, transfer, and/or dispose of Samples and associated data.  VDL and its transferees will retain intellectual property rights in any discoveries or inventions made using Samples.  Any intention to retain any rights in or assert any proprietary restrictions on the Samples, must be communicated in writing prior to or at the time of submission of the Samples to VDL.  VDL will honor reasonable requests from Sample providers to transfer aliquots/portions of Samples to third parties for production of autogenous (farm specific) vaccines.

Euthanasia policies

Euthanasia by the VDL is performed only for production animals (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats) intended for necropsy. The VDL will also perform euthansia on wildlife species. The VDL does NOT euthanize companion animals including dogs, cats, camelids, or horses. In general, euthanasia of animals should be performed by the submitting veterinarian to ensure a proper clinical evaluation and appropriate history.  No animal will be euthanized during non-business hours.

Handling of animal remains

At present, the release of any animal remains to owners is prohibited. Our reasons for this policy include the possibility of disease transmission from the laboratory to either the owner or the owner's other animals, and misunderstandings by the owner about the condition of the returned remains. Cosmetic necropsies are not performed.

Animal remains will be disposed of by mass chemical cremation unless the animal owner or the animal owner's personal veterinarian makes arrangements for individual cremation. The VDL does not provide individual cremation services, but may release the remains to a private cremation service. Animals greater than 300 pounds will incur an additional handling fee for whole body individual cremation.

Animals testing negative for rabies may be released to a private cremation service once all testing results are known. Animals testing positive for rabies or where the status cannot be determined may be released to a private cremation service after VDL decontamination procedures if they weigh 22 pounds or less.  Animals testing positive for rabies or where the status cannot be determined and are larger than 22 pounds will be group cremated at no cost to the client, but cannot be released for individual cremation due to the limitations of the VDL decontamination procedures. 

Depending on the policies of the private cremation service, the following types of animals may be acceptable: small companion animals, horses (entire animal or just the head, heart and hooves) and small ruminants or camelids. If a decision regarding individual/mass cremation has not been made at the time of submission, the VDL will hold small animal remains (dog, cat and other small species) for 5 business days. Large companion animal remains will not be held unless specific arrangements are made with VDL personnel. If specific instructions for individual cremation are not provided within 5 business days, the animal remains will be disposed of using mass cremation, and ashes will not be returned to the owner/agent.

Donation of Remains policy 

The VDL does not accept donation of remains for teaching or research purposes.