Post Mortem Services

Identifying cause of death is vital if preventative measures are to be implemented to protect the herd.

Post Mortem Services

In the unfortunate event of an unexplained death in the herd, we offer a post mortem service.  Identifying cause of death is vital if preventative measures are to be implemented to protect the herd.


We work closely with Grayshill and SRUC laboratories to provide a valuable post mortem service. Simply notify us that you require a PM and inform Grayshill at pick up that the animal is to be put aside for us and we will arrange the rest.  Appropriate samples are collected for further diagnostics if required and interventions can be put in place if deemed necessary.



How Post-Mortems Can Help You In Your Farming Business

Whilst no farmer wants to see a death in his herd or flock, the sad fact of farming life is that livestock mortalities do occur. These losses affect the farming community in both an emotional and a financial way.


A mortality can present a silver lining however, as the information we may gain from a post-mortem investigation can yield information that can prevent further losses for the herd or flock and save other animals’ lives. 


A mortality can present a silver lining however, as the information we may gain from a post-mortem investigation can yield information that can prevent further losses for the herd or flock and save other animals’ lives. 


Early diagnosis of a disease results in timely interventions in the health of the remaining animals diagnosis depends on sample quality. To this end, we would like to provide you with a few pointers on providing as good a carcass or samples:


  • Identify the Carcass. This is the most important part. 

  • Fresh is Best! The longer the time interval between death and performing a PM the greater the degree of decomposition of the carcass by bacteria from the gut. Decomposition can occur within a few hours and proceeds much quicker on a warm day. 

  • Make Sure It’s Identifiable in a Suitable Fashion. For example, by having orange cables ties tied to its limbs. 

  • Provide Us With a Good History Where Possible. This includes prior or current health issues on the property, vaccination status of affected and nonaffected animals, and nutrition.

  • Be Organised. If you’re sending the carcass to Grayshill please let the clinic know it’s going there and when



Abortion Investigations

With the lambing and calving season coming up (or in some cases having already started), the possibility of abortions will unfortunately rear its ugly head. It is generally accepted that an abortion rate of <2% in a flock/herd is normal. Anything above that warrants investigation and it’s important that as many of the aborted foeti as possible are sampled to ensure a diagnosis. Remember that cattle abortions may need to be sampled for Brucella, speak to one of our vets to find out.



What samples do we need from sheep abortions?

• The most convenient and effective for most farmers is to submit an entire aborted foetus with placenta in preferably two leak-proof plastic bags, one inside the other.

• If dropping at the practice please attach a plastic tag or sticker to the top of the outside bag with the ewe’s ID written on it with a permanent marker. 

• Keep the sample(s) cool if possible. 

• Samples/foetuses can be brought to our practice at Lanark or Stirling 

• Again, the fresher the better- don’t wait for a day before submitting samples. 

• Keep a record of the ewe(s) that aborted for possible future blood testing.



Safety Note: As some of the diseases causing abortion can also cause disease/abortion in humans, it is imperative that you wear appropriate PPE (gloves being the minimum). Pregnant women should not come in contact with any aborted material, aborting/lambing ewes nor with anything else that has come in contact with these (such as clothing worn by persons working with the ewes).