Necropsy Services Group

1046 Olive Dr. Suite 3
Davis, CA 95616


Frequently Asked Questions 


What is the difference between an AUTOPSY and a NECROPSY?

Both terms indicate a postmortem examination or dissection of a dead patient in an attempt to determine what might have caused or contributed to the death. Necropsy (pronounced “knee-crop-see”) is the term that has traditionally been used for a postmortem examination in veterinary medicine, while autopsy is used when the procedure is done in human medicine. We use both terms interchangeably. To say pet autopsy is perfectly acceptable. 

What should I do if my pet has died and I want to find out why?

The first thing to do is to put the body of the pet in a plastic bag and begin cooling the core body temperature as rapidly as possible. If the body cannot be kept in a refrigerator, you may keep it in an insulated cooler containing ice or ice bags, or you can sandwich the body between ice bags. A freezer can be used to cool the body temperature but freezing the body should be avoided if possible.

Can my pet be frozen before the autopsy?

Yes. Freezing the tissue causes some changes to occur but if there will be a significant delay between death and the postmortem examination (24 hrs or more at room temp.) and the body cannot be maintained in the refrigerated state, freezing is better than the decomposition which will occur in an unrefrigerated body.

How do I get my pet to NSG in Davis CA?

If you are within an approximately 200 mile radius of Davis CA, we employ a courier service that will pick up the animal and deliver it to us. There is a weight limit on this service of 100 lbs, and there is an additional charge for the service. You can also make arrangements directly with the pathologists at NSG if you can transport your pet to the Davis facility. There is no additional charge for this. Biological specimens can be shipped by commercial carriers if they are properly packed and sealed.

What if I don't live in California but I want an autopsy on my pet?

Most states have a veterinary diagnostic laboratory somewhere within them, and they often do necropsies on pet animals. These facilities can be located and contacted in much the same way you have arrived here.