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Emergency Equine Sample Taking Instructions

At Gemini Genetics, we work in association with US based cloning company, ViaGen Pets & Equine.

At Gemini, we perform the genetic preservation and cell culture stages of cloning – where genetics are preserved, and genetic material replicated respectively. To complete the cloning process, the samples are sent to ViaGen Pets & Equine. The below information relates to the genetic preservation and cell culture processes we perform at Gemini Genetics.

Please note that if the body has been frozen prior to submission, the viability of the tissue sample for cloning is likely to be reduced. The sample may be non-viable. In submitting a frozen sample, the animal owner is accepting responsibility of the likelihood for reduced viability or non-viability of the sample versus a non-frozen specimen.

Items Required

Sample Types

Required tissue type for genetic preservation for cloning is skin. For post mortem cases, skin from the body plus an ear sample is required.

Samples need to be kept chilled and received within 5 days of the animal passing/ sample taking.

Post mortem sample taking

These are postmortem instructions ONLY.

When taking a sample from the ear, the whole ear can be sent. Alternatively, a minimum area of 2cm x 2cm can be submitted. The ear must be shaved and sterilized prior to sampling with a chlorhexidine-based wash (e.g. hibiscrub) followed by an alcohol wash.

Please also submit a minimum of 4 biopsy samples from the crest of the neck under the mane.

  1. After the sample area has been shaved & sterilized, stretch the skin.
  2. Insert in the biopsy punch through the layers of the skin whilst holding it perpendicular to the skin.
  3. Lift the biopsy cylinder with a pair of forceps and cut at the base.

Please consult video here for demonstration of skin biopsy taking from crest of neck –

If a biopsy punch is not available, a sterile scalpel and forceps can be used. Cut through all the layers including the epidermis, dermis, and the most superficial parts of the subcutis. Remove (2cm X 2cm) tissue samples with sterile forceps.

Store each tissue sample in a separate sterile bag and refrigerate at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch the samples

DO NOT FREEZE at any point.

Live sample taking

Live sample taken to be completed only upon approval by a certified veterinarian that live sample taking is permitted in the country of residence and the sample taking will be of no detriment to the health and welfare of the animal.

Samples must only be taken by a fully qualified veterinarian, following aseptic techniques and with the horse under standing sedation, with local anaesthetic treatment to the sample sites. Samples to be taken from the crest of the neck under the mane. 4 x 6mm skin biopsy punches to be taken. Area should be shaved prior to sample taking and cleaned thoroughly with a chlorhexidine-based wash, and wipe with surgical alcohol prior to sample taking. I.e. full surgical preparation of the area to ensure aseptic techniques.

Once samples are taken, they should be placed in a clean pot with standard veterinary saline and packaged as detailed below. The horse will require post sample taking sutures and your standard veterinary after care following the sample taking, to ensure healing of the area and prevention of any post sample taking complications e.g. infection of the sample site. Please see here a video which demonstrates the skin sample taking process.

Please ensure you follow your standard veterinary practice in treatment and after care of the horse. Gemini Genetics can advise on the sample taking process, but the animal veterinarian must ensure the process meets veterinary standards and ensures the health, welfare and safety of the animal involved.

Store each tissue sample in a separate sterile bag and refrigerate at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch the samples

DO NOT FREEZE at any point

Equine Health Testing

  • A thorough clinical examination of the animal should be performed by a veterinarian at the time of tissue sampling and a declaration of health must be asserted-please consult the Gemini Genetics Equine Health Certificate and Animal Owner Declaration.
  • A blood sample must also be taken and tested for EIA (Coggins test only), EVA (unvaccinated horses only), Glanders within 180 days (before or after) taking of the tissue sample and Dourine (CFT @ 1/5 dilution) within 30 days prior to tissue collection.
  • Swabs must be taken and tested for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) within 180 days (before or after) taking of the tissue sample.
  • Samples must be sent to export approved laboratories, please consult the Gemini Genetics Equine Health Certificate for full instructions.
  • Please also submit a blood sample with the skin sample. This is required for storage in case future health testing of the animal is required.

Hair sample:

  • For independent DNA profile establishment, we also ask for 30-40 mane and/or tail hairs from the horse.
  • It is important to wear gloves and pull the hair, ensuring that the root of the hair is attached.
  • Please include these hair samples in a labelled, dry, sealed plastic bag.
  • If your horse already has an established DNA profile analysis, this service is not needed but you will need to have the results of the existing analysis safely saved for future reference.
  • If your horse does not have an existing profile analysis, it is strongly recommended you request this service and establish at this stage for future reference.
  • The cost for this service is £150 + VAT including postage to the external testing company, admin and result handling.

Labelling Instructions

Using a permanent marker, clearly label one sterile bag for each sample with the following:

  • Tissue type
  • Collection date
  • Date of death
  • Species
  • Animal & Client Name
  • Sex of the Animal
  • Microchip Number

Refrigerate at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch – DO NOT FREEZE at any point

Items Required For Sample Shipping

Sample Packing For Shipping

1) Place one/ two frozen ice packs in the bottom of a Styrofoam box

2) Wrap the samples pots in cotton wool / bubble wrap

3) Place a layer of cotton wool / bubble wrap above the ice packs

4) Place the wrapped pots on the layer of bubble wrap above the ice packs in the box.

5) Enclose any paperwork in an envelope/Ziploc bag

6) Replace the Styrofoam lid and seal.

7) Dispatch to Gemini Genetics as soon as possible. Please contact us if carriage is required on 01948 668 057 / 07710 778 016

Important Note: Samples should be sent to us as soon as possible and no later than 5 days after the animal has passed away. A private courier is available for UK clients upon request. Please contact Gemini Genetics in advance of the sample taking to discuss and arrange transport for the samples.

Do not allow the sample bags to sit directly on the ice packs.

DO NOT freeze the samples at any point.

Please follow this link for our video guide on sample packing:

Shipping Address

Gemini Genetics

Chapel Field Stud

Ash Lane




SY13 4BP

Emergency Contact Number

Tel: 01948 668 057 (Mon-Sun 8am-5pm)

Tel: 07710 778 016 (out of hours contact)

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