Policy Number: 2002-021-v
Policy Title: Necropsies for Animals Used in Research, Teaching, and Outreach

Purpose: Necropsy is an integral part of providing excellent veterinary care to animals used in research and teaching. Information provided by necropsies is used in the evaluation and maintenance of the health of animal colonies, is used to manage protocol-related disease, protect the health and safety of personnel handling animals, and provide researchers with valuable information regarding their research. USDA-APHIS Policy 4 states that necropsies should be performed as part of the provision of adequate veterinary care; this requirement is consistent with current accepted veterinary practice as described in 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and in the position statement “Adequate Veterinary Care” from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). This policy is to provide guidance for determining when research or teaching animals must be necropsied.

POLICY: As part of providing adequate veterinary care, research animal veterinarians have the authority to require a necropsy on any animal used in research or teaching. Circumstances that will trigger this requirement include, but are not limited to, unexplained or high morbidity/mortality, suspected infectious disease (zoonotic or not), and adverse events during experiments. Every effort will be made to coordinate a necropsy with the researcher so that tissues and data collection, etc., are not compromised.


Author: A. Gendron, R. Lane, J. Welter
ePublication Date: 10/18/2002
History: Amended 6/2010; 9/2011; Reviewed, no changes 9/2017