Field Necropsy of the Horse

CHAPTER 13 Field Necropsy of the Horse

For many veterinarians, especially those working in equine and food-animal medicine, the prospect of performing a necropsy in the field, where carcass handling equipment and support personnel are not available, can be a daunting prospect. Although it is common for individuals to undertake a “cosmetic” postmortem examination (i.e., opening the carcass enough to extract the organ system(s) of interest to the case), it is less common for veterinarians to perform a complete necropsy on the animal. In contrast to cosmetic postmortem examinations, a complete necropsy is performed in an effort to systematically examine the entire carcass. This process, though more time consuming and laborious, will greatly enhance the chances of arriving at a diagnosis and provides a more complete understanding of the case.

Whereas there are numerous techniques and means of performing a necropsy, it is very important that the individual performing the procedure develop and use a standard method. As a method is adopted and used, the time required to perform a complete examination will decrease such that it can, and should, become a regular part of the clinical workup of cases. As the practitioner becomes more familiar with the anatomy and appearance of the various body systems after death (and thus able to discern and ignore nonlesions), the process will be expedited.

The necropsy technique that I use and that is outlined herein is based on a technique that is more thoroughly described in The Necropsy Book, published by the C.L. Davis Foundation. In addition to describing and illustrating the necropsy technique, the authors of this book also provide an overview of the most common nonlesions and patterns of a variety of lesions within major organ systems.


May 28, 2016 | Posted by in EQUINE MEDICINE | Comments Off on Field Necropsy of the Horse

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