Pathobiology service – histology, necropsy and pathology support

The pathobiology group is part of the Tāwharau Ora - School of Veterinary Science and includes a histology laboratory, necropsy (postmortem examination) service, and boarded veterinary pathologists that can provide pathology support for research projects.

We provide histology services for internal and external research projects, histopathology support and interpretation, and can develop methods to quantify disease severity and study design for industry research.

Histology Services

We have a purpose-built laboratory and staff with wide ranging expertise to enable us to provide a variety of histological techniques used in diagnostics and research.

Services and techniques

We can provide advice and assistance on:

  • collection, fixation, and storage of samples
  • processing of samples.

Routine histology including:

  • sample trimming
  • processing and embedding
  • microtomy for histology and PCR
  • routine staining with haematoxylin and eosin
  • special staining – we routinely perform over 30 different special stains, and we are happy to test and validate new stains
  • decalcification of hard tissues such as bone.

Specialist services include:

  • undecalcified bone processing and sectioning
  • immunohistochemistry
  • frozen sections.

For more information on the services the laboratory can provide contact the histology laboratory manager Petru Daniels

Necropsy Service

Necropsy (postmortem examination) service

We do thorough postmortem examinations of domestic animal species to investigate the cause of illness or death. During teaching time (approximately end February to mid June & mid July to mid-October) postmortem examinations are done by 5th year veterinary students under close supervision by the duty pathologist and pathology resident.

Postmortem examinations during this time are free. During non-teaching time (approximately mid June to mid July & mid-October to end February) there is a small charge for postmortem examinations, contact the Postmortem facility manager Bryce Ilton for details.

1, Submit an animal for postmortem examination

Post-mortem examination should be performed as soon as possible after death.

If this isn’t possible:

  • put the animal in a refrigerator as soon after death as possible
  • send it to us as soon as possible (not on Friday or the weekend)
  • freeze if unable to send quickly, however freezing can interfere with results.

Mark any package with urgent OR perishable OR keep cool.

Contact the Postmortem facility manager Bryce Ilton before sending any parcel.

2, Fill in the submission form

3, Address the package

Attn Bryce Ilton
Postmortem Room
Farm services reception
School of Veterinary Science
Massey University
70 Tennent Drive
Palmerston North 4410

4, More information

For more information about how to submit animals, email

Pathology support for research projects

The pathobiology group has four veterinary pathologists who are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). As a team we have a wide range of experience with both large and small animal models for a variety of animal and human diseases. Due to our extensive previous experience, we are well placed to be able to provide pathology support for research projects. Contact the team manager Pathobiology to enquire about how we can help:


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