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The three important points to consider when submitting an animal for post mortem are:
To be of most benefit, post mortem examination should be performed as close to the time of death as possible. If this isn’t possible, place the animal in a refrigerator (approx 4 degrees C) as soon after death as possible, and then send as soon as possible (please don’t send over the weekend). Freezing the body interferes with results and should be a last resort. Fixing a body whole in formalin or 70 percent alcohol, or field dissection and submission of fixed tissues for histopathology, are alternatives that can be used in some circumstances.
If you are collecting material into fixatives, remember skin contact and inhalation of formalin is hazardous. The volume of fixative needed is 10 times the amount of tissue you are fixing; for example, 100 g of tissue needs 1 L of formalin. The smaller the piece of tissue the better the fixation; ideally, pieces of tissue should be no thicker than 1 cm to allow for rapid fixation. It is surprising how much information can be gleaned even from fairly decomposed specimens, so do not let a rotten carcass discourage you from submitting it for post mortem.
Proper documentation is essential to get the most benefit from the post mortem. The Huia database submission form (PDF file) should be sent with the body or faxed to 06 350 5636. If this isn’t possible, please include the following information:
To prevent contamination of people and equipment with potentially infectious or hazardous substances, a suitably sized polystyrene foam chilly bin is best. Alternatives can include a cardboard box with newspaper and bubble-wrap protecting the well-wrapped and bagged body. Freezer blocks can be improvised using 500 mL plastic PET drink-bottles—don't quite fill them and put them in your freezer. To contain the body and prevent any leakage, use multiple tear- and puncture-resistant sealed plastic bags, or plastic containers with firmly screwed down tight-fitting lids; don’t use glass. Place the submission form in a separate plastic bag.
Send to:Wildlife Post Mortem Service
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Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016