Requesting a postmortem examination (PME)
Please note, the following information is for the general government part-subsidised postmortem examination (PME). Free carcase collection may also be available to those in eligible postcode areas*.
Prior to requesting a postmortem (PME) it is important to ensure this is the most appropriate method of investigation in the particular case. Your veterinary practice must speak to the duty Veterinary Investigation Officer (VIO) to discuss the PME before submission. In some cases it may be more suitable to submit samples to a testing laboratory before opting for a PME (check out the APHA sample submission handbook for guidance). In order for us to decide whether we can accept a carcase or not please be prepared to be able to answer these simple questions. Farm details, when was the animal last seen alive, vaccinations or treatments given, age of animal, how many animals have died. A fully completed submission form should be submitted prior to the animal arriving for PME.
Our Farm Animal PMEs may only be accepted if the following criteria apply:
- Animals dead for more than 48 hours will NOT be accepted.
- Animals dead for more than 24 hours may not be accepted, autolysis reduces the likelihood of diagnosis.
- If frozen it is unlikely to be accepted.
- A maximum of three mammals and five bird carcases can be submitted together from a single disease incident on each farm.
- Predated carcases may not be accepted.
- Animals shot may not be accepted if neurological disease is suspected.
- Clinical history may suggest submission of samples is more suitable (e.g. faecal samples to investigate diarrhoea).
- Ovine abortion where placenta is not available.
The standard fallen stock disposal fee will be charged for all carcasses, including any received without prior agreement between the veterinary surgeon and the duty VIO. Postal submissions should be sent to your preferred testing laboratory.
If submitting live animals for PME the decision must take into account the Welfare in Transport Legislation.
Submissions will generally be investigated as part of a contract for surveillance of livestock diseases with the Animal & Plant Health Agency (for more information see the APHA Vet Gateway website).
Farmed livestock that may be suitable for subsidised PME for surveillance include alpacas, cattle, deer, game birds, goats, llamas, pigs, poultry, rabbits, sheep and water buffalo.
The area covered by the Wales Veterinary Science Centre Ltd is detailed within the leaflets produced by APHA below. APHA has published a postcode finder to help show the surveillance coverage area and transport eligibility*. Submissions within the coverage area of special interest to APHA may be subject to additional laboratory testing at no extra cost to the submitter.
*Free (government funded) carcase collection is available in parts of Wales that are far from the WVSC and other Centres offering surveillance PMEs (APHA Carmarthen, APHA Shrewsbury and Liverpool University). Please go to the APHA postcode finder to check if you are in an eligible area for transport.
Update on the APHA’s scanning surveillance network (07/05/21)
In this focus article, Fin Twomey, head of the APHA’s Surveillance Intelligence Unit, describes how the APHA delivers veterinary scanning surveillance in England and Wales and provides an update on recent changes to the network. Read more in the dedicated focus article in the Veterinary Record which is available here: https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/vetr.477