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Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory


While genetic testing for PSSM1 and MH will remain at the University of Minnesota, the Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory's muscle biopsy service will be moving to Michigan State University in late November/December.  A transition process is currently in place.  Please continue to submit samples to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory as usual and watch this space for the date that the service will be transferred.  Current contact email for the Minnesota lab is vdl@umn.edu, (612) 625 8787 or 1-800-605-8787.

Genetic Testing
The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory performs genetic testing for PSSM type 1 and malignant hyperthermia (MH) on hair or purple toped EDTA tubes.


Sometimes genetic testing does not provide a "yes" or "no" answer. The test may reveal a gene change, but cannot always predict with certainty whether a horse will develop a disease, how severe the condition will be, or when symptoms will appear. In other words, the significance or meaning of a certain test result may not be completely clear. This is not specific to PSSM but is true of genetic testing in general in many species.

Please click here for information on genetic testing.

Click here for an article on considerations for genetic testing previously published in Modern Equine Vet.  www.modernequinevet.com

Muscle Biopsy Testing
The Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory offers a specialized muscle biopsy diagnostic service for horses. Samples are processed through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
For forms and shipping information click here Biopsy Submission.

Information on this site is intended for information purposes for veterinarians to guide in the diagnostic work up of muscle diseases. Owner-diagnosis and owner-treatment of horses is not recommended, and may indeed be dangerous. Owners must consult their veterinarian before implementing any of the treatment recommendation described.

  • Results are available by fax or email within 7-10 days.
  • For forms, invoices and information regarding selection of a muscle for biopsy and shipment information please click on this link; Biopsy Submission.
  • Samples submitted to our laboratory are usually fresh samples that are frozen upon arrival at our laboratory using specialized techniques.
  • Please schedule muscle biopsies from Monday to Wednesday so that when  fresh specimens are shipped by priority overnight they arrive before the weekend
  • If absolutely necessary, biopsy samples taken Friday-Sunday can be divided with half placed in formalin and half placed in a refrigerator until shipped on Monday on icepacks. This will considerably decrease the quality of the sample.
  • We do accept unstained paraffin embedded formalin fixed slides for evaluation.
  • To submit samples from outside the US please contact us 1 800 605 8787 for appropriate forms.
  • Sample will be evaluated as frozen sections for muscle fiber sizes, shapes, storage products such as lipids and glycogen and potentially metabolic and contractile properties. These techniques will screen for Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy, Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency, Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis, Equine Motor Neuron Disease, neurogenic atrophy, Immune-mediated myopathy, Pasture Myopathy, and many other diseases.
Samples submitted to our laboratory are frozen using specialized methods and evaluated with a variety of stains.  Evaluation of frozen sections provides the best information regarding muscle fiber sizes, shapes, metabolic and contractile properties as well as storage properties such as lipids and glycogen.  Please call 1 800 605 8787 to obtain appropriate forms submission from outside of the US.  Results are usually faxed or emailed within 7 – 10 days.  


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