Performing a necropsy

Necropsies are high-risk procedures because of potential contact with infectious body fluids, aerosols, and contaminated sharps. Nonessential persons should not be present.

  • Personnel involved in or present at necropsies should wear:
    • Protective outerwear (e.g., designated lab coat, designated scrubs)
    • Disposable gloves
    • Protective eye glasses/goggles or a full-face shield
    • Cut-proof gloves (machine washable) when opening the body cavities of larger animals, for heavy cutting, and when working on cases of high occupational risk (e.g., rabies suspect)
    • Additional precautions for respiratory protection (including environmental controls and face masks) should be employed if power equipment is used
  • In-hospital necropsies should not be conducted on any animal suspected of being infected with a pathogen requiring biosafety precautions above level 2 (e.g. Chlamydophila psittaciCoxiella burnetiiFrancisella tularensis, rabies virus). Instead, the entire body (or head for rabies testing as required by the testing facility) should be submitted to an approved diagnostic laboratory.
  • Ensure all requirements for shipment of biological samples are met (available from the laboratory in question).
These guidelines are supported by a generous educational grant from Virox Animal Health™.