December 10, 2013

Is it fowl play? Free necropsies for birds

If you keep animals and they die, state animal health experts will examine the remains and report on the cause of death. For a cow, pig or rabbit, the state laboratory charge is about $120. For small pets, the fee is higher, nearly $195 for rodents such as hamsters and gerbils and $495 for cats and dogs. But for a chicken or duck, the autopsy is free.

The little-known program is increasingly popular, the California Animal Health and Food Safety lab reports in the current October-December issue of California Agriculture, a University of California journal. One or two birds may be submitted for a free necropsy (the term for a nonhuman autopsy) by owners of backyard poultry: chickens, turkeys, waterfowl or other birds raised for food. Read More

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