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viewing the dead (animals)
What are the different terms for examination of a body after death?
- post-mortem exam
- autopsy (people)
- necropsy (animal)
science and study of disease
Define gross pathology.
pathologic changes seen with the naked eye
pathologic changes in tissue seen only with the microscope
alterations of abnormalities in tissues
sequence of events that lead to or underlie a disease
Necropsy is a diagnostic tool along with what?
What are incidental findings?
irrelevant to the cause of death
What are the advantages to charging for a necropsy?
- professionalism: what we do is worth getting paid for
- good business practice: cover overhead expenses - time, space, materials
- owner perceptions: if we do not charge, the owner perceives that the service is not worth anything
What is the disadvantage to charging for a necropsy?
- owners is often unwilling to pay more after the pet's death
- we do not get to do as many necropsies if we charge for them
How do we overcome barriers to owners allowing us to do a necropsy?
- my be offered for free
- explain benefits to the owner - try to find out what happened
- explain benefits to DVM and LVT
What is the purpose of a necropsy?
to investigate and to determine the cause of death for individual basis, group basis, meat inspection, education, research, insurance, and legal reasons
Why do we do a necropsy for an individual basis?
- diagnosis - cause of death and peace of mind for owner
- determine results of a treatment - failure or success
Why do we do a necropsy for a group basis?
- group, herd, or flock
- also applies to kennels, catteries, multiple pet households, etc
- disease surveillance - management problems in herds or flocks
- diagnosis, treatment, prevention
Why do we do a necropsy for group treatment?
- once the cause of the illness is known
- correct disease trends before they become catastrophic
Why do we do a necropsy for meat inspection?
to be able to recognize lesions that would make meat unfit for human consumption because visual inspection is no longer considered adequate by itself
Why do we do a necropsy for education reasons?
- continues the learning process for DVM and LVT
- figure out better treatments, surgical methods
Why do we do a necropsy for research reasons?
- can use necropsy records for retrospective research
- valuable source of medical knowledge
Why do we do a necropsy for insurance?
may be required for pet insurance, homeowners insurance, and liability insurance
What are different reasons a necropsy can help in a lawsuit?
death caused by another party, veterinarian, died under veterinarian's care
Why do we do a necropsy for a stud fee?
- paid only for live birth of foal (live foal guarantee)
- foal may be born alive, die soon, owner may try to get a freebie
- did lungs inflate?
How can a necropsy help in criminal charges?
- willful destruction (did the neighbor poison the cat)
- hunting out of season (what type of gun was used)
What are the preliminaries to a necropsy?
- history from owner
- post-mortem changes
- discuss disposal of body
How do we get a history from an owner when we are getting ready to do a necropsy?
- was the animal being treated or not (by vet or by owner, neighbor, relatives)
- ask proper questions
- avoid closed questions
- avoid leading questions
- ask open questions
What do we need to get as a history from the owner before doing a necropsy?
- names of owner and animal
- use of animal
- clinical signs
- time of death
- feed, appetite
- are the other animals in the group okay?
- did you just recently get the animal?
What causes post-mortem changes before doing a necropsy?
- timing of the necropsy
- storage of the body
When is the timing of a necropsy critical?
doing the necropsy soon after death is important for large animals and in hot weather
If we can't do the necropsy right away, how should we store the body?
- refrigerator: okay for a few hours or days, the longer you wait the worse the results
- freezer: undesirable, can freeze if you must keep the body for a week or more
What kind of changes happen to the body when you freeze it?
- ice crystals disrupt cellular membranes
- difficult to culture organisms
Do we need to get permission from the owner before doing a necropsy? What kind of permission can we get?
yes, it is unethical and can lead to a lawsuit if we do not get permission
Are necropsy reports part of the medical record?
What should the necropsy report include?
- full history
- clinical signs
- permission form
- details of any insurance or legal interest
- hisopathological or other examinations
- opinion as to the cause of death
- gross post-mortem observations
- lesions - location, number, color, size, shape, distribution, consistency, odor
What is the role of the LVT in a necropsy procedure?
- discuss with and explain to owner
- may perform the necropsy
- its a good anatomy review
- good chance for LVT to do "surgery"
person performing the necropsy
assistant in necropsy
What is a cosmetic necropsy?
- is a modified necropsy that leaves the body in a fit state to be viewed by the owner
- sometimes pet owners will allow a necropsy only if they can look at the pet afterwards, take it home, and bury it
What are the differences between a cosmetic necropsy and a regular necropsy?
- shorter skin incision (just abdomen, not chin to pelvis)
- chest wall reflected and not removed
- organ examination - look at it in place or remove and replace with padding
- tie off any open intestinal ends in abdomen
- remove fluids from cavities
- suture skin using thread the same color as skin
Which samples from a necropsy are collected aseptically?
What affects decomposition?
humidity and temperature
What causes bacterial contamination?
mixing gut samples in with other organs
What does rumen bacteria do after death?
continues to multiply after death and accelerates liquefaction of tissue and increases gas production
What kind of fixative do we use for sample collection in a necropsy?
10% buffered formalin
How big can tissue samples be?
no wider than 1 centimeter
How much formalin do we need to pack with the sample?
- at least 10 times the specimen's volume
- include edge between normal and abnormal tissue