Necropsy Services

Antech’s Necropsy Services provide our veterinary clients highly detailed, full body necropsies done by an experienced anatomic pathologist. Full body necropsies are available for both dogs and cats. The necropsy includes a full, detailed, gross examination of all of the tissues, as well as full histopathology on all relevant organs and lesions.

Under no circumstances can the pathologist have any direct communication (phone calls, email, letters) with the pet owners. The pathologist cannot and will not respond to an owner. All communication and questions must be through the submitting hospital.

How long will it take to receive the report?

The final report will be emailed to your hospital within 15 working days (three full weeks) of performing the necropsy. The necropsy is generally performed with 2-3 days of receiving the body. A frozen carcass may result in further delays. NO PRELIMINARY REPORTING IS PROVIDED.

Do you guarantee the necropsy will determine the cause of death?

NO. Even though a highly experienced veterinary pathologist performs the necropsy, we cannot guarantee that the necropsy will reveal any specific lesions or diagnosis, or even that a definitive diagnosis or a cause of death can be determined. This should be made clear to the client before they authorize the necropsy.


Full Body Necropsy Calculator


Cost FAQs

How is the cost of the necropsy determined?

The total cost of the necropsy depends on the weight of the body, the type of disposal you request, and whether or not you are eligible and choose to use the local ambulance pickup service. The necropsy calculator below will give you an exact price quote for your particular case. Note: The body will be weighed upon arrival and the cost will be adjusted if it varies from the weight in the quote. 

What is included in the cost of a whole-body necropsy?

All necropsies are performed by our Antech Necropsy Coordinator pathologist, Dr. Richard Moreland, at our Fountain Valley facility in California. He has over 40 years of experience in anatomic pathology, specializing in gross necropsy. The necropsy includes a full, detailed, gross examination of all of the tissues, including removal and examination of the brain. Full color digital photographs of important lesions and organs supplement the gross exam and are present in the final report. The exam price includes full histopathology on all of the important tissues. The final report is in full color and is delivered via email. You may see an example necropsy report in the last option below. 

Are there any other costs?

Histopathology is included in the quoted price of the necropsy. Any ancillary tests and non-standard procedures that are requested will incur additional costs. These include tests like toxicology, immunohistochemistry, special stains, and certain special necropsy procedures. These ancillary tests will only be done if they are expressly requested and you have approved the additional costs. One example of a special procedure not covered in the necropsy quote is spinal cord removal. If spinal cord removal is requested, you will be quoted a price for your approval prior to the necropsy.

How does billing work?

Antech will bill your hospital for the necropsy and any of the ancillary charges (like the ambulance service and the private cremation) on your regular monthly Antech bill. Under no circumstances can we bill or accept payment directly from a pet owner or another third party.

Body & Transport FAQs

How do we get you the body?

Our regular Antech couriers cannot accept full body necropsy submissions under any circumstances. There are two delivery options:

  1. Antech contracts with a private animal ambulance service for body pickup, however the ambulance service only covers a limited area in and around the Los Angeles and San Diego area. The pickup fee is based on the local area code. If you are not within one of these local area codes, the animal ambulance pickup is not available to you.
  2. We accept shipped bodies that are properly packaged and labeled. See the supplied shipping information and guidelines on the proper packaging and labeling of a body for delivery by the major carriers (USPS, UPS, or FedX). – there was a double period here.  All shipping fees are between your hospital and the carrier (ANTECH DOES NOT PAY FOR SHIPPING). Please do not attempt to deliver, have delivered, or ship an animal to us without communicating with us in advance. You can view detailed shipping instructions at this link 

Post-Necropsy Body Disposal (Important-Please Read!)

There are ONLY TWO options available for disposal of the body after the necropsy is complete. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THESE OPTIONS. ***Please explain these options to the owners so they can carefully consider them before deciding whether or not to proceed with the necropsy.

  1. We can dispose of the body remains by mass cremation at no additional charge
  2. You may request a private cremation with return of ashes in a stylish cedar chest urn for an additional fee based on the weight of the animal. The cost of this cremation will be included in your necropsy quote. This cremation is ONLY available with the company with which we have a contract agreement. An example of the cedar chest urn can be viewed at the following link NO PAW PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE AFTER WE RECEIVE THE BODY. Any paw prints must be made BEFORE you send the body to us.


How do we preserve the body?

The body should be cooled as quickly as possible after death. Delays in cooling leads to autolysis (especially in larger dogs) which can greatly complicate the necropsy, or even render it non-diagnostic in some cases. Ideally bodies should be kept refrigerated but not frozen. If the body is adequately refrigerated soon after death, the necropsy can be diagnostic for up to 10-14 days. Freezing, while it can slightly complicate the histopath process, is not prohibitive diagnostically. Bodies that have been frozen are usually still diagnostic, as long as they were frozen shortly after death. A frozen body can be diagnostic for several months. If you have already frozen the body, keep it frozen for delivery so we can do a special controlled thaw. Depending on the size of the body, our controlled thawing process can take several days, adding to the turnaround time.  

Special Note About Poisoning:

There are several misconceptions about animal poisoning and necropsy. One misconception is that lesions are commonly found at necropsy in cases of poisoning. With few exceptions, most poisons do not produce recognizable lesions at necropsy. Another popular misconception is that the technology exists to screen necropsy samples for a broad spectrum of different substances. These broad-spectrum “tox screens” which can check for hundreds of possible poisonous substances (as seen on forensic TV shows) are not widely available in veterinary medicine. In veterinary medicine, toxicology is generally limited to the running of individual tests for individual poisons. Since the cost of running individual tests can mount rapidly, it is generally very important to have some idea of the possible poisoning, usually based more on the history and the clinical findings than on the necropsy findings. 

Antech does provide two different toxicology “panels” which test for a few of the more common malicious poisons used on animals. One panel checks for strychnine, heavy metals, and metaldehyde, and the other for the common anticoagulant rat poisons. Beyond this limited set of poisons, diagnosis of specific poisoning is limited. Note: These limitations and facts should be made very clear to the client in advance. 


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