Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Post mortem examination

Synonym(s): Necropsy, Autopsy, PME

Contributor(s): Prof Donald Kelly, Prof Susan Rhind

Introduction

  • Reasons: investigation of disease, prevention of disease (flock/herd/stud health), to establish cause of death, rule-out disease processes that may affect animal or human health, eg meat inspection.
  • Importance: forensic investigations, insurance, litigation, quality control, CE and public expectation.
  • Competence is expected from all veterinary graduates; requires systematic approach and experience (and/or advice).
  • Purpose-built room with facilities ideal but often carried out in slaughterhouse, knackers yard, hunt kennels or in the open.
  • Essential to record findings (proforma/checklist). Photography an invaluable aid.
  • Common errors: incomplete examination, misinterpretation of agonal and PM changes, speculation and conflict of interest.
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Uses

  • Investigation of disease (naturally occurring and in experimentally induced disease).
  • Prevention of disease (flock, stud and herd health).
  • To establish cause of death.
  • Rule-out disease processes that may affect animal or human health, eg meat inspection, drug evaluation, toxic effect of chemicals, GM food effects.

Advantages

  • Many disease conditions only diagnosed post-mortem.

Requirements

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Kelly D F (1999)The approach to post mortem examination in practice - what are the pitfalls and what can we realistically expect from it?CPD in Clinical Pathology/Therapeutics Litigation & Insurance Problems. The University of Liverpool. pp 27-37.
  • Rooney J R & Robertson J L (1996)Equine Pathology.Iowa State University Press.
  • Strafuss A C (1988)Necropsy Procedures and Basic Diagnostic Methods for Practising Veterinarians.Thomas Springfield.
  • The post-mortem room and carcass disposal.In:Manual of Practice Improvement.2nd edn. BSAVA Publications.
  • Safe disposal of clinical waste.(1982) Health Services Advisory Committee.
  • Safe working and the prevention of infection in the mortuary and post-mortem room.(1991) Health Services Advisory Committee.
  • Categorisation of Pathogens according to Hazard and Categories of Containment.Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).


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