Post mortems are conducted on animals to determine their cause of death. Complete post mortems include histology, bacteriology and any other disciplines that may be required.
Services are free for farm animals and poultry but fees are charged for companion animals (dogs, cats), horses, exotic animals and birds. Please see the VSL Fees List and VSL Fees and Services 2008 booklet for the comprehensive list of services offered, as well as detailed information about specimen storage, handling, etc.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to arrange transportation of the animal(s) to the Veterinary Services Laboratory for post mortem or cremation. In the case of large animals (e.g. horses, cows), please contact the laboratory prior to submission.
- Notify your veterinarian of the death of the animal(s) and your intention to submit the body to the laboratory for a post mortem. This is recommended since the results will be issued only to the attending veterinarian. However, certain cases may be discussed with one of the government veterinarians before the remains are submitted.
- Under no circumstances should carcasses containing sharps be submitted for post mortem (i.e. IV catheters, needles, scalpel blades).
- The animal must be as fresh as possible, preferably within hours of death.
- Farm animals less than 20lbs (40kg) each: a maximum of 3 from a litter or 3 animals of similar age, with a similar disease problem, submitted on the same day, from the same owner and location. It is preferred that samples submitted to the lab be referred by a veterinarian.
- Poultry - cases may be discussed with the Veterinary Pathologist before specimens are submitted. Submit 6-10 chickens (or other birds or 3 ratites) of similar age, with a similar disease problem, from the same owner and location.
- Bring the body/live animal to the laboratory where a case history will be taken and a submission number issued. This number should be given to the attending veterinarian.
- Payment of fees for post mortem or cremation may be made at the Veterinary Services office at the time of submission.
Test results are issued to the attending veterinarian only and not to the owner of the animal. The veterinarian is the best person to determine the significance of the laboratory results and implement the appropriate treatment for the surviving animals if necessary.