Skip to main content

Detailed Necropsy Submission Information

Bodies being submitted for necropsy should be delivered to the necropsy receiving dock on the north side of the Diagnostic Pathology Center. Submissions are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Bodies that cannot be promptly delivered during business hours should NOT be frozen. Keep them refrigerated (~3-5°C) and submit within 24 hours. Contact us at the above number if the postmortem interval is expected to be longer than 24 hours. Small animals will be sent for cremation through PALS, Inc., and the ashes will be returned to the submitting veterinary clinic. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or with any questions you might have.

Pricing/Invoicing

  • In all cases, the referring veterinarian is charged by the Diagnostic Pathology Center for the service and any associated fees. It is the referring veterinarian’s responsibility to collect payment and convey these charges to the animal owner.
  • Referring veterinarians can call (623) 806-7540 for a pricing list, quote, or further information regarding necropsy submissions.
  • Invoices are sent to the referring veterinarian after the final report has been issued.

Animal Submission Guidelines

    • Requests for necropsy will only be accepted when made by a referring veterinarian for a patient under their care. This must be the veterinarian who was treating the animal at or near the time of death.
    • Necropsies cannot be started until a completed submission form has been received.
    • We have two options for necropsy submission:
      • Electronic (preferred) OR
      • Paper
      • The paper necropsy submission form must be completed and either:
        • Emailed to vetpath@midwestern.edu
        • Faxed to (623) 806-7562
        • Submitted with the animal

Body Cooling

  • Submission of animals AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after death is critical for diagnostic success. Changes in tissues occur as soon as 20 minutes after death and accumulate over time. This is particularly true if the weather is hot, the animal was febrile (had a fever), or when disease symptoms suggest involvement of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • Animals should be refrigerated (NOT frozen) as soon as possible after death. Whole animals submitted for necropsy should not be frozen, but should be shipped delivered or shipped overnight on ice within an insulated container. When possible all remains should be refrigerated prior to shipping and should be shipped in appropriate leak proof containers with ice packs.
    Note: If circumstances prevent immediate shipping and refrigeration is unavailable, animal remains can be frozen. Frozen remains may take a long time to thaw, and greatly increase reporting time. Freezing also kills microorganisms, limiting identification, and creates serious tissue artifacts on histopathology.

Clinical History & Medical Records

The following should be included:

  • Copies of pertinent and recent medical records should be emailed, faxed or delivered with the remains.
  • A complete history providing a detailed description of the animal and documenting the duration and of signs of illness, other animals affected, other animals in the same environment, type of management, vaccinations, etc. will go far in helping us decide on the best tests to run and answer pertinent questions.
    • Note:  Lack of complete historical information does not prevent our investigation – we perform complete necropsies on all cases.
  • Notation of cases that have potential legal ramifications or insurance claims.  This does not change our investigation, but it may alter our handling of the case – we may retain samples longer, take additional photographs, etc.
  • Notation of specific questions, whether or not related to death (e.g., animal had a history of chronic lameness in the right hind leg).

Body Transport to DPC

  • Deliveries are accepted Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM).
  • Pet owners and veterinary staff are welcome to deliver the body directly to the Diagnostic Pathology Center.
  • Courier service to the Diagnostic Pathology Center can be arranged by calling (623) 806-7540. Courier service is limited to animals under 150 lbs. Scroll down to Courier Service section for detailed information.
  • Larger animals can be delivered to the Diagnostic Pathology Center by Trails End Large Animal Removal and Disposal. Referring veterinarians or owners can contact them directly for pickup and delivery to the Diagnostic Pathology Center.

Courier Service

  • Contact the Diagnostic Pathology Center to arrange for a courier to pick up animal remains or biopsy sample.
  • Animal Remains Packaging
    • Animal cannot weight more than 150 lbs.
    • Animal must be in at least one bag that is not leaking fluids.
    • Animal must then be put in a rigid outer container or cardboard box.
      • Note: Cardboard home burial boxes work well for the outer container.
    • If outside the Phoenix Metro area, the rigid outer container will need to contain ice packs around the animal remains.
      • Note: The rigid container should be plastic, waterproof, or not leak as the ice melts. Please use best judgment on selection of packaging.
      • At least one identifier should be on the animal, bag, or outer container.

Body Disposition

  • Disposition of the body should be discussed with the client by the referring veterinarian. The ONLY option available for animals following the necropsy is private or group cremation. Ashes from private cremations will be returned by courier (FedEx or other) to the referring veterinarian or agency.
  • Cremation options are limited for larger animals (>300 lbs). If cremated remains are desired for a larger animal we offer representative cremation. Please contact us with questions about this service.
  • Remains will only be released to registered pet cremation service.
  • We use PALS, Inc. for our cremation services. Visit their website or contact PALS, Inc. if you have any questions regarding the cremation process.
    • Pals, Inc.
      Phone: (602) 455-6677
      Website: www.ourpals.com
    • Pets sent for group cremation are scattered at Sunland Pet Memorial, located inside the Human Cemetery there. PALS is the only service in the state offering dedicated and deeded scatterings inside a manicured and maintained cemetery.

After Hour Submissions

  • Necropsies on Saturday and Sunday are performed on an emergency only basis with prior approval of the Pathologist-on-Call. A fully completed Necropsy Submission Form must be submitted with the animal remains.
  • Referring veterinarians ONLY may call the Pathologist-on-Call at (602) 510-5049. Please leave a voicemail.
  • Delivery of animal remains after hours and on the week-ends must be arranged in advance with the Pathologist-on-Call.

Ancillary Testing

  • Samples for toxicology and microbiology may be collected at the discretion of the Pathologist-on-Call in consultation with the referring veterinarian. Additional charges for ancillary tests will be discussed with the referring veterinarian prior to testing.

Reporting

  • All results and communication (verbal and written) of necropsy or biopsy findings will only be provided to the referring veterinarian. Owners must contact a referring veterinarian for test results.
  • In most cases the Pathologist-on-Call will call or e-mail the referring veterinarian with a report of the gross examination within 1-2 working days of the necropsy.
  • We will make every effort to have a final report summarizing the gross and histological findings to the referring veterinarian within 15 business days (3 weeks) of the necropsy.
    • Additional testing may delay when the final report is issued.
    • Final report turnaround time can fluctuate depending on caseload and teaching schedule of the faculty. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will be patient with us as we educate our future veterinarians.
Midwestern University Animal Health Institute Logo