Basic Field Necropsy

The following procedure is an example of how to properly perform a field necropsy on an adult cow or bull. You may find it beneficial to take photographs of your findings for your veterinarian to view with you later. One hint to keep in mind throughout the necropsy is that if it has a lumen (hollow organ), open it and if it is solid, cut through it.

Begin with the animal placed on it's left side; this places the rumen down making it much easier to visualize the abdominal organs.

Carefully inspect the animal, look for any signs of trauma and note any other obvious abnormalities (lesions). Look for blood from the nose, mouth, rectum, or vulva. (This may or may not be significant. If the animal died suddenly or unexpectedly, and there is blood from the nose, rectum and/or vulva, contact your veterinarian. Do NOT perform a necropsy) It is also important to examine all the feet, joints and mammary glands. If you are performing a necropsy on a bull, be sure to examine the external genitalia.


First Incision
Make the first incision under the animals lower jaw. Place the tip of your knife under the skin and make a smooth cut along the neck.


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