Post Mortem


NSW DPI Laboratory Services  offers a post mortem service on a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic animals to support gross examination of lesions and collection of samples.

Investigations are conducted in support of disease diagnosis, and exclusion of notifiable and Emergency Animal Diseases. In some instances, where zoonotic agents are suspected, post mortem evaluation is performed in a controlled environment (e.g. ABLV exclusion in bats).

Tests available


Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Post mortem - swab collection

Whole animal

Monday – Friday

1 - 2 days

Post mortem - short investigation

Whole animal

Monday – Friday

1 - 2 days

Post mortem - long investigation

Whole animal

Monday - Friday

1 - 2 days

Waste disposal


Monday – Friday

Up to 2 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.

Types of post mortem investigation

Swab collections (approximately 10 minutes)

  • Basic sample collection only, e.g. for exclusion of exotic and notifiable diseases
    • Collection of cloacal and tracheal swabs for exclusion of Avian Influenza or Newcastle Disease
    • Post mortem of bats for exclusion of Australian Bat Lyssavirus
  • Oyster health check (per 5 oysters)

Short investigation (approximately 20 minutes)

  • Investigations where sample collection is routine, for example:
    • Post mortem of an aborted foetus (cattle, sheep, or pigs)
    • Some  avian post mortem investigations

Long investigation (approximately 30 minutes)

  • Most diagnostic post mortem investigations
    • Includes gross post mortem and collection of a range of fresh and fixed tissues

Specimen requirements

Whole animal

  • Animals must be recently euthanased or freshly dead
  • Submit chilled in an insulated container
  • Freezing animals for post mortem is not recommended, as it interferes with diagnostic testing (e.g. bacterial culture and histology). Animals may be frozen if the interval between euthanasia and post mortem will be greater than 24 hours, however further diagnostic testings will be limited


  • Final selection of the appropriate post mortem type is at the discretion of the pathologist performing the necropsy
  • Post mortem charges are applied per animal
  • Post mortem charges do not include additional diagnostic testing (e.g. bacterial culture, or histopathology)
  • Contact the laboratory to ensure the correct samples are collected, and further testing is performed as requested. Please contact Customer Service to discuss a diagnostic plan
  • Animals for post mortem examination must be packaged and labelled appropriately, and accompanied by a completed submission form