The necropsy protocol includes several points, such as:
The collection of prior data to the death of the animal that can help guide the final diagnosis once the necropsy has been completed.
Findings that we must collect:
- Specie: It will help guide us if it is a pathology which affects individually as in the case of pets or horses, or a pathology which affects groups of animals (flocks, herds, etc.), as in the case of animals for slaughter.
- Breed: Certain diseases may be more common in some breeds than others, such as hip dysplasia in German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever dogs or even aplasia / hypoplasia pituitary in bovine breeds of the Channel Islands such as Jersey or Guernsey.
- Sex: It is important, for instance, in the case of mastitis in cattle, or tumours associated with the mammary gland in non-sterilized bitches and cats or a greater predisposition to develop diabetes mellitus type 2 in feline females.
- Age: Both in young animals the presence of persistent aortic arch and degenerative diseases in animals of advanced age.
Measurements: weight, length of different body parts, etc.
Manner of death of the animal: This information can be obtained from the clinical veterinarian or the owner, and can be natural or through intracardiac euthanasia, intravenous euthanasia, etc.
Preservation method of the animal: Refrigeration, freezing, etc., since they can produce non-pathological alterations in the corpse.
Background: Depending on whether the pathology affects a collective or a single animal, we will gather different information:
- In collectivities: Livestock exploitation (intensive / extensive), feeding (type-concentrate, forage), clinical history of the animal husbandry (veterinary treatments, vaccination and deworming guidelines), entry and exit of animals, etc.
- Individual: eating habits, behavioural changes, clinical history (treatments, operations, family history, etc.).
Clinical symptoms: Previous to the death of the animal such as diarrhoea, vomiting, nervous alterations, respiratory signs of a cough or dyspnea, nervous symptomatology, etc., as well as all the data available from the clinical history (analytical, radiographic/ echographic studies, endoscopies, biopsies, etc.).
Clinical diagnosis: If the animal has been referred by a clinical veterinarian, and has issued a presumptive diagnosis or differential diagnoses, it is recommended above all to consider possible biosecurity measures in case of diseases transmitted to man (zoonotic disease).
Description of macroscopic alterations
It refers to the necropsy itself. In this section all the macroscopic alterations observed during the course of the necropsy will be recorded in a complete, orderly and systematic way (necropsy technique).
Sample collection. In certain cases, it is necessary to complement the information collected through complementary analyses (histopathology, microbiology and/or toxicology). All the samples that are collected must be correctly drawn so as not to lose the reference with respect to the animal (sample collection).
Presumptive macroscopic diagnosis. From all the data obtained together with the previous history and possible clinical diagnoses, a macroscopic diagnosis will be issued, and possible differential diagnoses. From all the data obtained together with the previous history and possible clinical diagnoses, a macroscopic diagnosis will be issued, and possible differential diagnoses.