ACS Diagnostic & Research Histology Laboratory

Photo: Ingrid Barta & Jana Hodasova, UBC Animal Care Services

The ACS Diagnostic & Research Histology Laboratory provides a broad range of services for diagnostic and research samples collected from various animal species.

Our diagnostic services include but are not limited to bacteriology and parasitology for sentinel and research animals. In cases of unexpected mortality or morbidity and for research purposes, we offer necropsy and histopathology. We also accept samples for hematology, clinical chemistry, and molecular diagnostics for individual assays, routine and customized profiles.

Our research histology services include a broad range of histological techniques to support your research. We accept samples for standard paraffin processing, embedding, sectioning, and staining. In addition to routine Hematoxylin & Eosin, we offer numerous special stains to demonstrate various tissue components. We are also pleased to offer brightfield whole slide imaging.

Tests and services are available in the following areas:

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Sentinel Comprehensive Examination

We offer services for health surveillance of laboratory animals. We carry out a complete examination of animals to determine the presence of pathogens and evaluate health status. The examination consists of necropsy with gross evaluation of tissues, parasitology (ecto- and endoparasites), bacterial cultures of respiratory and intestinal tracts and histopathology. Blood collection is included (live animals only) if serology testing is requested.

Clinical Pathology and Molecular Diagnostic Services

We offer hematology, clinical chemistry, coagulation, serology and molecular diagnostic services through selected external veterinary laboratories. We are familiar with a wide range of individual assays, routine or customized profiles and can help with preparation and shipping of diagnostic and research samples to the testing laboratory.

These services may help researchers who seek precise analyses of various specimens such as blood, serum, plasma, urine, and feces.

Contact us for additional information on assays available, blood collection tube selection, sample collection and storage, and more.


We offer a broad range of bacteriology services including aerobic, anaerobic and fungal cultures with organism identification from sentinel, diagnostic and research specimens and from samples of environmental origin. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing is performed when warranted using Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method, following the CLSI performance standards.


We offer the following services:

  • Ectoparasites: Direct microscopic examination of pelt (laboratory rodents), skin scraping test.
  • Endoparasites: Cellophane tape test (pinworms), direct smear (wet mount), centrifugation fecal flotation, fecal egg quantitation.

If required, we can arrange for PCR testing for pinworms, fur mites or protozoa.


We perform necropsies on various animal species, ranging from small laboratory animals to swine and sheep. The service includes post-mortem macroscopic examination of organs and tissues and any additional tests as requested. Histopathology is often necessary to determine cause of death or disease.

Contact us if brain histopathology is required (animal is displaying neurological signs, neurological disease or disorder is suspected, animal was involved in neurological experiment, brain histopathology is requested by the investigator).

Special Diagnostic Procedures

Additional tests and procedures may be available. Please contact us to inquire about performing services not listed here.

Paraffin Processing, Embedding, and Sectioning

We offer a full suite of paraffin histology services including processing, embedding and sectioning; any or all of which you can request. Fixed tissues are paraffin processed using an automated tissue processor. Different programs allow us to optimize processing for a variety of tissue types and sizes. Paraffin-infiltrated tissues are then embedded into paraffin blocks in the orientation you desire. We then section the tissue blocks between 2-5µm using a microtome and mount these sections on microscope slides.

View our Service Rate List for details.

Routine and Special Stains

Tissue sections (paraffin or frozen) on slides may be stained to highlight cell types and/or different tissue components. We offer the following stains and many more (please contact us for a complete list):

  • H&E and Giemsa for general oversight
  • Masson’s Trichrome and Picrosirius Red for collagen
  • Alcian Blue (AB) pH2.5 and Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS) for carbohydrates
  • Gram stain and Grocott Methenamine Silver for microorganisms
Whole Slide Imaging

We offer digital brightfield whole slide scanning at 10x-100x magnifications. Images are accessible in web-based UI. Contact us for information regarding image delivery and viewing image files.


Laboratory Sample Submissions

Refer to the Laboratory Sample Submission Guidelines before submitting your samples. For assistance with sample collection and shipping to the lab or additional tests including off-site testing, contact our laboratory staff for details.

Billing Services

All clients will receive a detailed monthly statement through Mosaic Vivarium for services rendered. Grant deductions based on PG are performed automatically through standing accounts. Contact ACS Finance for any billing inquires. For clients without a standing account, please provide a PO.

Meet Our Lab Team

UBC's Diagnostic & Research Histology Laboratory comprises a team of specially trained professionals to address the needs of the research community.


If UBC Diagnostic & Research Histology Laboratory personnel have made a significant contribution to the experimental design or analysis of the results or have participated in preparing the results for publication, they may be included in authorship with their approval and agreement. In all cases, the lab requests the following statement be placed in an acknowledgements section of any published work that utilized core facilities: This work was supported by the University of British Columbia Animal Care Services Diagnostic & Research Histology Laboratory.