Basics of Field Necropsy in the Fetus, Foal or Young Horse

In 2014, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) hosted a Focus meeting on The First Year of Life. The following synopsis is from the PDF that is available free online from AAEP and was authored by Julie B. Engiles, VMD, DACVP, Murphy Laboratory, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

This article provides a basic “how-to” for the necropsy of a fetus, foal or young horse, including tools needed (and the equipment it would be nice to have).

“A field necropsy is an expedient diagnostic tool to obtain a definitive diagnosis, to rule out contagious epi- or enzootics, and to guide recommendations pertaining to quarantine, disease prevention, and treatment of other members within the herd. The necropsy of an aborted equine fetus, neonate, or juvenile is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed in a timely manner, providing not only cost-effective diagnostic answers to the client, but also important information pertaining to management of the farm or facility.”

For more information about the American Association of Equine Practitioners visit their website at

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