174This lab introduces the student to the role of the veterinary technician during a necropsy; also known as the “animal autopsy”. Although the veterinarian performs the actual necropsy, the veterinary technician performs important tasks which contribute to the diagnostic success of the procedure and the outcome (i.e. results). This is especially true when collecting and preserving specimens for later analysis.

Proper sample collection and storage and data recording should be emphasized. Sometimes definitive answers cannot be found on initial sample collection. With these inconclusive cases, saved tissues may need to be submitted for additional testing including electron microscopy, infectious disease identification, toxin diagnostics, etc. The field of veterinary forensic pathology is growing. Just like with human crime scene investigation, effective animal CSI is only as good as the information collected. Some cases turn into medical legal issues. Necropsies may go beyond simply identifying the cause of death and the procedure should be handled professionally. It should be noted that any samples that are to be tested utilzing PCR technologies, should not be preserved in formalin. These samples should be stored in plastic bag or jar and shipped with ice packs to keep cool using overnight shipping if at all possible.

This lab addresses the following Veterinary Technology Student Essential and Recommended Skills list as set forth by the AVMA – CVTEA in Appendix I, Section 6: Laboratory Procedures.

Perform necropsy procedures

Perform postmortem examination/dissection on non-preserved animals

Collect samples, store and ship according to lab protocols

Explain how to handle rabies suspects and samples safely

Handle disposal of dead animals appropriately