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Old World Monkey Necropsy Protocol

Old World Monkey Necropsy Protocol  (Draft - June 2006) 
Old World Monkey Taxon Advisory Group

The following are a recommended necropsy protocol and report form for old world monkeys. Please send copies of necropsy reports to the appropriate veterinary advisor (see below) and the Old World Monkey TAG Pathology Advisor (see below).  Necropsy reports should include a thorough description of all lesions and a complete clinical history. If a second opinion is needed, please send duplicate histopathology slides to the TAG Pathology Advisor. If a complete set or tissues could not be processed for histologic evaluation, to preserve valuable information please send a complete set of duplicate tissues to the pathology advisor if possible. CAUTION: Histopathology blocks (paraffin embedded tissues) are an extremely valuable resource. Some laboratories may discard the blocks after a few years. If your lab does not save these blocks, please ask for the blocks and save them at your facility. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or comments.  

Old World Monkey TAG Veterinary Advisor 

                  Jan Ramer, DVM

                  Baboon SSP Veterinary Advisor 

Hayley Weston Murphy, DVM

Colobus SSP Veterinary Advisor

Connie Ketz-Riley, DVM 

Guenon SSP Veterinary Advisor

Natalie Mylniczenko, DVM

Langur SSP Veterinary Advisor

Donna Ialeggio, DVM 

Macaque SSP Veterinary Advisor 

Mike Cranfield, DVM 

Mangabey SSP Veterinary Advisor



Pathology Advisor:

Mary Duncan 

A necropsy is an excellent source of information about normal anatomy and disease conditions. This protocol may seem very involved for many of you who are severely short on time. However, the examination of organs not directly involved in the death of an animal provides control samples and gives a better understanding of other disease states that may occur in a given species or group of species. Diseases often affect more than one organ and sampling only one or a few organs limits the amount of information available and our understanding of diseases. A necropsy can be very time consuming, but the more time you can devote to a necropsy and the more samples you take (including formalin-fixed and frozen), the more likely it is that a pathologist can give a complete answer. The better our understanding of disease, the better we will be able to identify, treat and prevent disease.




Histopathology: Tissue sections should be no thicker than 1 cm. Exceptions are: healthy lung, which may be slightly thicker; eyes, which should be fixed whole and intact (i.e., not punctured); and brain, which should be fixed whole. Ideally, flat tissues such as intestine, skin and sciatic nerve should be placed on cardboard during fixation to prevent curling of tissues. Tissues should be placed in 10% neutral buffered formalin with FORMALIN AT 10 TIMES THE VOLUME OF TISSUES. Otherwise, inadequate fixation will occur. Once tissues are completely fixed they can be mailed or saved in a smaller volume of formalin.


For toxicological studies: Tissues should be saved wrapped in aluminum foil or saved in glass. If stored in plastic, leaching of plastic compounds can occur that may interfere with toxicological analysis. Tissues for toxicology can be saved in a regular freezer (-20C). Some tissues to save for toxicological studies are liver, kidney, fat and stomach contents, but if toxicity is suspected, a toxicologist should be consulted for proper tissue collection and preservation.


Infectious disease studies: Tissues should be saved at -70C (organisms tend to survive better at this temperature).


Biomaterial Banking:  Several sections (2-5 cm cubes) of heart, skeletal muscle, and liver should be collected and saved at –70C.  
Instructions for gross evaluation of specific tissues:


3 longitudinal sections to include: left and right free walls such that atrium, ventricle and A-V valve are included in the section (include papillary muscle in this section); and a similarly oriented section of septum such that atrium, septal leaflet of right A-V valve and aortic outflow tract are included.  

Lymph nodes:  
If lymph nodes are grossly abnormal or if lymph node disease is suspected, lymph nodes should be labeled as to location (e.g., in bags, laundry tags or separate containers) since they all look the same under the microscope.  

Endocrine organs:  
Submit the entire organ from both left and right sides. Adrenal glands should be cut transversely to assess the ratio of cortex to medulla.


Gastrointestinal tract:  
Open along long axis. If intestine is abnormal or GI disease is suspected clinically, label each section as to location.  


Additional necropsy procedures for neonates:  
1. Fix umbilical stump and surrounding tissues.  
2. Examine fetus or neonate for malformations, incl. cleft palate and deformed limbs/spine. 3. Assess level of hydration and evidence of nursing  
4. Determine if breathing occurred (do lungs float in formalin?).  
5. Include placenta.

Reproductive tracts of females have been requested by:

Dr. Linda Munson at the University of California.



Tissues to sample (check list included below):

heart (left and right free walls and septum)  
lung (sections from several lobes, and including a major bronchus)  
thyroid (leave intact)  
parathyroid (leave intact)  
lymph nodes (cervical, anterior mediastinal, bronchial, mesenteric, lumbar, prescapular - at least one internal and one external lymph node should be collected)  
spleen (2 cross sections including capsule)  
liver (3-5 sections from different areas - include capsule)  
pancreas (sections from 2 areas - can leave attached to duodenum)  
tongue (cross section)  
stomach - cardia, fundus, antrum for monogastric monkeys

        - saccus, tubus gastricus, pars pylorica for tripartite (Colobus, Trachypithecus, Presbytis, Semnopithecus)

        - presaccus for quadripartite colobine stomach (Procolobus, Rhinopithecus, Pygathrix, Nasalis)

small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum)  
large intestine (cecum, colon)  
kidney (transverse section to includecortex, medulla, papilla)  
urinary bladder  
uterus (body and horn), ovary (section of each), placenta  
testis, epididymis (transverse section of each)  
prostate, accessory sex glands  
brain (At least 1/2 of the brain (right or left) should be submitted intact. In some cases of neurological disease it may be advisable to formalin fix the entire brain.)  
spinal cord (remove entire cord, if possible, and submit whole. Because this is a somewhat labor intensive procedure, this is probably only necessary for animals with neurological disease.)  
eye (fix intact - do not puncture) Bouin’s or 10% formalin

skin (1-2 cm square section of ventral and dorsal skin)  
skeletal muscle (1x1x0.5 cm piece from thigh - longitudinal section in direction of muscle fibers)  
bone and marrow (submit 1/2 femur in longitudinal section (include growth plate). For large animals, submit costochondral junction of a rib (to include growth plate) and bone marrow from the proximal femur).

Sciatic nerve 


Species  Studbook No.: 
Institution:  Prosector: 
Birth Date/Age:  Sex:  Proven Breeder?:  Yes   No 
Date and time of death:  Contraceptive History: might need more room here unless we are looking for yes/no response only.
Body weight:  Date and time of necropsy: 
Parent or hand reared?: Enclosure ID (indoor/outdoor?): at death or throughout life?
Weather conditions of enclosure when found dead:
Changes in enclosure/routine?

In addition to completing the checklist on the next page please include a detailed description of gross lesions and indicate if pictures were taken and of which organs.

Diet:(list ingredients, brand names):  

Clinical History (Presentation, circumstances of death, attach copy of lab results, use additional sheets if necessary):  




Gross Description of lesions: 
Tissue checklist.  

Organ Status Micro Cy -20/70 Organ Status Micro Cy -20/70
Skin,             Bone marrow            
Subcutis             Kidney            
Mammary gland             Ureters            
Umbilicus             Urinary bladder            
Body orifices             Urethra            
Thoracic cavity             Ovaries            
Abdom cavity             Uterus            
Heart/ sac             Vagina            
Aorta/ vessels             Vulva            
Nasal cavity             Testes            
Trachea/bronchi             Access. glands            
Lungs             Penis/prepuce            
Oral cavity/teeth             Muscles            
Esophagus             Bones/joints            
Stomach             Brain            
Small intestine             Leptomeninges            
Cecum             Peripheral nerve            
Colon             Spinal cord            
Liver             Thyroid            
Gallbladder             Parathyroid            
Pancreas             Pituitary            
Tonsil             Adrenal            
Spleen             Eyes/cornea/lens            
Thymus             Ears            
GALT*             Lymph Nodes            

Status - WNL = within normal limits, AB = abnormal, NE = not examined, NP = not present, NF = not found. Micro - AE=aerobic, AN=anaerobic, P=parasite, F=fungus Cy=cytology, -20,-70 = freezing temp

*GALT = gut-assoc lymphatic tissue a few organs limits


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