Investigating Necropsies Using Telemedicine 

Project Title

Assessing the Viability of Real-Time Pathologist Assisted Field Necropsies to Improve Diagnostic Outcomes of Beef Cattle Cases Submitted to UCVM's Diagnostics Services Unit (DSU)


Jennifer Davies

Lindsay Rogers, Erin Zachar, Sylvia Checkley, Dayna Goldsmith, Eugene Janzen, Carolyn Legge (all UCVM)

Status Project Code
In progress. Results expected in December, 2022 POC.08.21


Post-mortems or necropsies are the most effective tool to determine cause of death and prevent future problems on farm. When samples are sent to the lab pathologists are better able to diagnose a problem when they receive the full body of the animal rather than tissue samples, but this is often impractical.


  • Determine if real-time pathologist assisted field necropsies improve the success of coming to an etiologic diagnosis as compared to non-assisted field necropsies, 
  • determine if pathologist assistance decreases the amount of time and money it takes to come to an etiologic diagnosis from a field necropsy,
  • determine if real-time pathologist assisted field necropsies are a useful and viable service option to be offered to food animal veterinary practitioners by the Diagnostic Services Unit (DSU) at UCVM.

What they will do

This team wants to develop a process to use video and photography to allow for better diagnosis without submitting a full animal body. They will work with 5-10 vets who already submit samples and collect a total of 80 necropsies, 40 will be collected and submitted normally. For the other 40 the veterinarians will use video to contact the pathology lab and the pathologist will assist over video with the collection of samples. Time and money spent, along with the ability to determine a diagnosis will be submitted for each.


If this works, providing video assisted pathology support to veterinarians will help improve diagnostic accuracy and ability to get a diagnosis without the cost and impracticalities of sending a whole animal into the lab.