Necropsy Service

The Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory offer a comprehensive necropsy service for all animal species, including domestic and exotic animals, livestock, wildlife, laboratory animals, and marine mammals. Our goal is to provide you with our gross findings and a preliminary report the day the necropsy is performed. The final report may take up to two weeks or longer depending on the additional testing required.

Athens Necropsy Submission Form

Tifton Necropsy Submission Form

Lab Animal Necropsy Submission Form

Whole Animal Submissions

Whole animals submitted for necropsy should not be frozen, but should be shipped overnight on ice within an insulated container Frozen carcasses may take a long time to thaw and greatly increase turn-around time. Freezing also kills many bacteria, often preventing accurate bacterial culture, and creates serious tissue artifacts on histopathology. Athens clients have the option of utilizing our local courier service for carcasses under 25 pounds.

By submitting diagnostic specimens, clients understand that such specimens will not be returned to them unless prior arrangements are made with the lab. In the special case of carcasses submitted for necropsy: remains will only be released to registered pet cremation services, to prevent accidental transmission of any potential pathogens from the laboratory; animal remains designated as "hold for cremation service" will be held for a maximum of two (2) weeks, after which the Laboratory will dispose of them en masse with other carcasses.

After-hours or Emergency Submissions (Athens Only)

Normal hours for necropsy case drop-off are 8am-5pm M-F. After-hours drop-off hours are 9am-11am on Saturdays, and 1pm-3pm Sundays and holidays; please, call 706.207.3948 at those times.

Formalin Fixed and Fresh Tissue (Mail-in Necropsy)

Submission of a complete set of tissues is recommended. Both formalin-fixed and fresh tissues should be submitted. Alternatively, fresh tissues may be saved, refrigerated, or frozen, if microbial culture or toxicological testing is not needed. Definitive diagnosis of infectious diseases and toxins often requires ancillary testing (i.e., culture, virus isolation, fluorescent antibody testing, electron microscopy, etc.) that cannot be performed on formalin-fixed tissues.

The following is a list of suggested tissues to be collected during practitioner necropsies:

  • 1. Brain and/or spinal cord
  • 2. Heart
  • 3. Lungs
  • 4. Liver
  • 5. Spleen
  • 6. Kidney
  • 7. Stomach
  • 8. Small intestine
  • 9. Large intestine
  • 10. Lymph nodes
  • 11. Urinary bladder
  • 12. Thymus on young animals
  • 13. Bone marrow
  • 14. Skeletal muscle
  • 15. Adrenal glands
  • 16. Any affected tissues based on history, clinical signs, and/or gross findings not listed above such as thyroid gland, reproductive organs, etc.