IDEXX Reference Laboratories

IDEXX histopathology services

IDEXX histopathology services provide you with the most accurate and timely biopsy results to allow you to make a confident diagnosis and treatment plan.


  • Let our highly specialized IDEXX histopathology technicians provide you with expert specimen processing—decalcification when needed, trimming, dissection, and quality slide preparation.
  • Access the largest network of anatomic pathologists worldwide who provide quality interpretations, evaluation of surgical margins, and special stains, as well as include comments regarding biological behaviour and etiology.
  • Consult directly by phone or email with the pathologist working on your case.
  • View or share high-resolution images in VetConnect PLUS.
  • Access comprehensive histopathology educational resources.
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What's new.

Liver biopsy cells.

Reference laboratory submissions—Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel services

  • All liver sites will be processed under the new HISTOLIV1 test code.
  • Additional non-liver sites/lesions can be ordered using the HISTOLIV additional site/lesion codes (HISTOLIV2, HISTOLIV3, and HISTOLIV4).
  • HISTOLIV codes include the following special stains that are processed concurrently with your liver biopsy submission:
    • Rhodanine or rubeanic acid for copper
    • Trichrome for fibrosis
    • Prussian blue for iron
    • Reticulin for hepatic architecture
  • Turnaround time: 3–5 days (Monday–Friday)

Read the full update

Comprehensive testing services to cover even your most time‑sensitive cases.

Results in 2–3 days (Monday–Friday)

  • Faster turnaround for your critical cases
  • Personalized guidance from our team of expert pathologists

Test codes for Delta, Calgary, Edmonton laboratories
WBMD1: 1 site/lesion
WBMD2: 2 sites/lesions

Test codes for Markham, Montreal, Quebec City laboratories
EBMD1: 1 site/lesion
EBMD2: 2 sites/lesions
See the online Directory of Services at for test codes for additional sites/lesions.

Results in 5–14 days (Monday–Friday); results typically final within 7 days unless extended processing is required (particularly for specimens involving bone)

  • A thorough evaluation of organs (with or without bone) or large and complex biopsies (e.g., spleen, liver, and lung lobe; mammary chain; eye; bone biopsies [amputated limbs/digits/tails/jaws (whole or partial)])
  • Personalized guidance from our team of expert pathologists
  • Streamlined submission process, with one test code to cover all sites

Test codes for Delta, Calgary, Edmonton laboratories

Test codes for Markham, Montreal, Quebec City laboratories

A new Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel (HISTOLIV) has been created by IDEXX Reference Laboratories to optimize interpretation of liver biopsy submissions. This test code combines histopathologic interpretation of the hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained section(s) with a panel of histochemical special stains (not including immunohistochemical stains) to evaluate and grade (if applicable) any hepatic changes. Evaluating the H&E stained section(s) concurrently with the panel of special stains will streamline the biopsy interpretation and reporting process. Additional non-liver sites/lesions can be ordered using the HISTOLIV additional site/lesion codes.

Test codes
HISTOLIV1: Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel
HISTOLIV2: Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel and 1 Site/Lesion
HISTOLIV3: Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel and 2 Sites/Lesions
HISTOLIV4: Liver Biopsy with Staining Panel and 3 Sites/Lesions

The Dermatopathology with Microscopic Description service was created to support customers with the capability to provide a more thorough clinical history, automatically assign to the dermatopathology team of pathologists, reduce extended turnaround time due to additional rework, and allow submission of multiple biopsies from the same dermatologic process for a single fee.

The service provides the ability to submit skin specimens that will be assigned to the dermatopathology team of pathologists.
Qualifying skin specimen types include the following:

  • Lesions that are chronic/recurring that fail to respond to therapy
  • Clinically unusual lesions
  • Acute onset skin conditions that are progressing rapidly
  • Clinically severe lesions (e.g., accompanied by systemic signs, sudden hair loss, multifocal nodules)

Test code DERMBX

Immunohistochemistry Panel

The immunohistochemistry report includes the following: antibodies utilized, the type of antigen or tissue marker detected, the results of the procedure(s) on the patient's tissues, and an interpretative summary.

This service uses specialized immunohistochemical testing to demonstrate the presence of various antigens, etiologic agents, or tissue markers in histologic specimens. Must have ordered a prior biopsy. If immunohistochemical studies would be helpful in a particular case, the pathologist will include a recommendation on the biopsy report to add on this test.
Call us at 1-800-667-3411 if you would like to initiate the studies.

Test codes
IHC1: Immunohistochemistry Panel (1 Antibody)
IHC2: Immunohistochemistry Panel (2 Antibodies)
See the online Directory of Services at for test codes for additional sites/lesions.

Featured case

The whole spleen or subsampling?

Dale, a 10-year-old, neutered male bulldog, presented with an enlarged spleen. A splenectomy was performed, and his entire spleen was submitted to IDEXX Reference Laboratories as a Complex Biopsy. Upon receipt at the lab, the IDEXX histopathology technician performed a gross examination of the spleen and determined from which areas to obtain sample sections with the goal to obtain representative samples of the entire organ. Dale’s pathology report returned a hematoma and atypical lymphocyte proliferation. Dale's owner chose to monitor without treatment, and the dog remains well after 9 months. The case highlights the importance of submitting whole organs for pathology evaluation and utilizing ancillary tests, like flow cytometry and PARR, for comprehensive diagnoses.

Learn more about Dale's story

An english bulldog smiling.

IDEXX Learning Center education

Getting the Most Out of Your Biopsy Pathology Submissions

Getting the Most Out of Your Cytology Pathology Submissions

The Differences Between Histology and Cytology

Important Considerations in Histology Sample Collection and Submission


  • The required concentration for optimal biopsy preservation is a 10% buffered solution.
  • The formalin to specimen ratio should be 10:1, 10 parts 10% buffered formalin to 1 part tissue.
  • The amount of formalin used should completely cover the specimen, but it should not exceed 50% of the overall volume of the jar.

To help prevent/slow down freezing of biopsy specimens, 1 part (70% isopropyl) alcohol can be added to 9 parts 10% buffered formalin.

  • Due to FAA transport regulations, and for safety with handling formalin, a concentration of 10% buffered formalin must be used unless submitting fresh tissues wrapped in saline-wetting gauze.
  • The jars must be clearly labeled with the 10% buffered formalin concentration.
  • Jars/large specimen kits/bags must be labeled with the liquid solution used to preserve the specimen—even if submitting saline.
  • IDEXX is not able to ship unlabeled jars until we can confirm the concentration or type of formalin/liquid solution.
  • If confirmed that the biopsy specimen was submitted in formalin concentrations >10%, or if the specimen is not labeled with the needed information, this may cause delays with processing and turnaround time.
  • For more information on how to prepare and package biopsy specimens to send to IDEXX, please visit


Forms and other resources

Access IDEXX Reference Laboratories specimen guidelines, IDEXX Online Ordering, and educational resources.

Directory of Services in
VetConnect PLUS

Browse the online Directory of Services in VetConnect PLUS to see a comprehensive list of offerings from IDEXX Reference Laboratories. Save them by clicking the star so you can easily access them anytime.

IDEXX Reference Laboratories Support

We support your practice with our customer support, technical support, and medical consulting services team, including our diagnostic support veterinarians and board-certified veterinary specialists.
Call us at 1-800-667-3411.

Learn more about a specific product or service.
A representative will help you every step of the way.

Note: There may be times where weather or operational considerations cause delays in providing test results. When this happens, we will inform you as quickly as possible with the most complete information available.