The process of postmortem tissue decomposition is also called AUTOLYSIS ("auto"= self and "lysis"=breakdown). It is caused by a number of factors including ENZYME LEAKAGE, INSECT ACTIVITY and BACTERIAL ACTION.

How do you tell a lesion or injury from damage done by scavenging? Even before an animal hits the beach scavenging by everything from sharks to birds to the neighborhood dog may cause damage to the carcass. While this is nature’s best recycling program, it can be difficult at times to tell normal scavenging from pre-mortem injury or pathological lesions.

How fresh is that carcass? The answer to this question will determine how much information you can potentially get from the animal and what kind of follow up exam you should potentially do. Fresh animals will be candidates for a full necropsy while code 3 or 4 animals may be better suited for a beach necropsy or simple exam.  After reviewing the condition codes be sure to test your knowledge by taking the condition code QUIZ!