A well-executed necropsy can help you identify the diseases present in your herd and what caused them. Because of this, a necropsy should be part of your herd-health plan.

Getting your veterinarian to the farm at or near the time of death is not always easy. However, that’s the best time to do a necropsy and collect tissue samples. On-farm personnel can be trained to perform a necropsy and collect the necessary tissues when the veterinarian is not available.

To help with that training process, the Integrated Livestock Management team at Colorado State University has developed a dairy cow necropsy manual. It contains step-by-step instructions with photos, and even some video clips. You can access it on the Internet at www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/ilm/necropsy/_notes/index.html

Since some of the files are large, it works best with newer computers that have at least a 56 K modem and can run QuickTime software.

In addition to the Web site, the ILM team is developing a necropsy manual on CD. However, it is not available yet.