Autopsy Service

Autopsy Request Form

What is an autopsy

Type of autopsy performed

When are autopsies performed

How quickly after death does an autopsy need to be performed

Cost of an autopsy

When are autopsy results available

Suspicion of poisoning concerns


Can a pet be shipped


What is an autopsy

An autopsy (also known as necropsy) is an animal equivalent to a human autopsy to learn more about the animal's disease and/or possibly cause of death. Conducting an autopsy does not guarantee that we will find all the answers the owner may seek.

Type of autopsy performed

Complete Autopsy: a systematic search of the body, looking at all major organs, looking for lesions and obstructions and microscopically viewing tissue and organ samples.

Cosmetic autopsy is not an option.

When are autopsies performed

Monday through Saturday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. If an animal is dropped off before 10:30 am Monday through Saturday, it will usually undergo the autopsy procedure the same day.

Drop off times:

Monday-Friday:  8am-4pm

Saturday:  8am-12 Noon

No Sundays or holidays

For companion animals only, if a drop off occurs outside the above stated times, a $150 after-hour fee will be applied in addition to the autopsy fee, stated below. Large animal drop off is not an option after the hours state above.

How quickly after death does an autopsy need to be performed

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.  A maximum hold for a companion animal prior to an autopsy is 3 days, with the condition that the animal is kept cold. For any animal that has not been refrigerated immediately post death, contians fly larvae, has been exhumed or frozen for an extended amount of time, performing the autopsy will be a tthe discretion of the pathologist on service.

What is the cost of an autopsy

If the animal has been seen at the Veterinary Medical Center within the past 90 days, there is no charge for the autopsy.

The Veterinary Medical Center requires payment at the time the animal is dropped off. No billing option is available.

Autopsy Fees


Fee (per animal)



Canine/Feline and Other <125lbs

(includes histopathology only)




Farm Animal >125lbs


Bovine, Camelid, Caprine, Ovine, Porcine

(includes histopathology only)




Equine >125lbs

(includes histopathology only)





(includes histopathology only)

Wildlife species can be applied to any of the above categories based on weight and similar comparable species




Additional Fees

Small Animal After Hour Drop-Offs*

for any drop-offs outside the following hours:

M-F 8am-4pm, Saturday 8am-12pm

(No Sundays or holidays)

Animals over 125 lbs CANNOT be accepted after hours due to facility and staffing limitations


Forensic/Insurance Cases



Included 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 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 ($25 for small animal communal cremation; $50 for large animal disposal).

When are autopsy results available

Preliminary results are available approximately 48 hours (2 business days) after the procedure and, because of complex medical terminology, results are provided to the submitting veterinarian. The final report is sent 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 clinician who treated the animal. The owner will be contacted with detials of final reporting only.

Additional Diagnostic Testing

Additional ancillary diagnostic testing can be performed from tissues obtained during an autopsy. 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 consultaiton with the attending pathologist and resident assigned to the case occurs. Please request that we retain tissue samples if you wish to pursue toxicology testing. 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 incure costs outside of the autopsy pricing.


  • Picking up pets remains after an autopsy has been performed is not an option.
  • There are 2 types of cremation services available:  private individual cremation and private partitioned cremation (Note: autopsy price is $225 when choosing cremation aftercare).  
  • Owners may use a cremation service of their choice as long as the service provider picks up the remains with appropriate paperwork. The owner is responsible for contacting the cremation provider for pickup of their pet's remains.
  • Cost of cremation is directly paid to the provider and is not included in the price of the autopsy.
  • If you wish for us to dispose of your pet's remains, we do so through communal cremation at an additional cost as stated in the pricing above. Ashes will not be returned to you.

A step-by-step resource guide for arranging your animal’s cremation is available upon request at The Veterinary Medical Center Hospital for Companion Animal front desk.  

Can a pet be shipped

A pet can be shipped overnight Monday-Thursday only.

Pet must be in a plastic 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:  Jenny Bolon/Bryan Kessler
    1925 Coffey Road
    Goss Lab, Room 213
    Columbus, OH 43210

For questions (M-F 8am-4:30pm) contact:

Jenny Bolon, RVT 

Anatomical Pathology Lab Coordinator

(614) 247-4795

       - or -

Bryan Kessler, BS

Anatomical Pathology Instructional Lab Supervisor

(614) 688-4091