WARNING: Some sections of this part of the website contain images taken during post mortem examination that owners could find distressing
Although a detailed post-mortem examination is ideal, in many cases it is impractical to look at all parts of the body closely. Owners often want the body back to bury so it is only possible to make an midline incision long enough examine the viscera, trachea and mouth before stitching it up so the body is presentable to the owner. Examination of other structures, including the brain requires more dismemberment.
It is important to perform a post-mortem examination as soon as possible after death. Intestinal autolysis is rapid in rabbits so any gut pathology becomes more difficult to diagnose with time.
Histopathology is worthwhile so it is sensible to collect a range of tissue samples during the post-mortem examination and fix them in formal saline. Heart, lung, liver, kidney and spleen are easy to harvest. Other organs, such as representative samples of gut, uterus, adrenal glands may also be useful.