“The elapsed time between death and the necropsy is often the difference between a laboratory diagnosis and an inconclusive one,” according to Jerry Bertoldo, senior extension associate and dairy specialist with the North West New York dairy, livestock and field crops team.

It is important that producers are able to perform necropsies so they can submit quality samples as quickly as possible to the diagnostic lab. It is imperative that producers know how to position the calf, where to dissect, what to use, what to examine, what is normal and abnormal, what tissues might be good to sample and what to expect from different diseases.

“A tip I have given to clients is to keep a fully stocked diagnostic tool kit on hand for potential emergencies,” said Bob Patrick of Eatonton Dairy Farms and Shamrock Animal Health Services. “The kit consolidates necropsy equipment, sample containers, preservatives and submission forms in one mobile container so materials are always available and ready to use.”

Typically, kits could include syringes, needles, blood tubes, large sample containers, sterile sample tubes, Ziploc bags, sterile swabs, microscope slides, shipping materials, a permanent marker, a box cutter, carpet knife, loppers, scalpel blades and handle, scissors, OB sleeve, gloves, formalin, forceps and a submission form for the diagnostic laboratory.

For more Calf & Heifer Tips from DCHA, follow this link.

Read an article from the May issue of Dairy Herd Management on how necropsies can help cut your death losses: