Poulpharm has the necessary facilities for carrying out post-mortem examinations. In consultation with experienced veterinarians, the appropriate samples are taken for pathological diagnosis. Within our pathology department we use three services: necropsy, histology and cytology. 

Anne-Laure Devolder

Contact Pathology

Poulpharm has three well-equipped necropsy rooms at different locations for performing post-mortem examinations in various animal species with a focus on poultry and pigs. We strive to arrive at a pathological diagnosis through a thorough external and subsequently internal assessment. To this end, while performing the necropsy, we will proceed to targeted sampling for further investigation or preservation. For the performance of necropsies, the lab is assisted by an experienced team of veterinarians specializing in pigs and poultry. Necropsy results are provided through a complete descriptive report with an indication of which samples were taken during the necropsy and, if desired, photographs. Such a report is provided within three working days. If additional investigations are requested, the turnaround time depends on the type of investigation.

Requirements when applying for necropsy

Each delivered animal or group of animals must be accompanied by a laboratory research request form. These forms can be found here.
For optimal interpretation, it is recommended to be as complete as possible when filling out these request forms.

Where can I bring an animal in for necropsy?

If you wish to bring in an animal or group of animals yourself, this is possible at the Poulpharm steel frigate: Prins Albertlaan 112, 8870 Izegem. Please inform the logistics department before bringing in any animals.

Interpretation of histological images with full descriptive report.

Through histological analysis, we study the structure and possible abnormalities of a specific tissue type. After resection of a fresh piece of tissue during a necropsy, this tissue undergoes a technical processing resulting in a histological section, which is then viewed under a microscope. During this microscopic analysis, our team of experienced veterinarians will study the tissue structure and report the main histopathological findings. Routine histological examination is done on hematoxylin and eosin (HE) stained microscopic sections. Special staining such as a Periodic Acid Shiff (PAS) stain can be requested as well as immunohistochemical staining.

Histological analysis can be performed after sampling during a necropsy when the performing veterinarian deems it necessary, but you can also send fixed tissue or leave it at our sample storage facility (Prins Albertlaan 112, 8870 Izegem) when sampling in the field.

Requirements when depositing fixed tissue for further histological analysis:

  • Please notify us prior to bringing in the sample.
  • A submitted tissue sample must always be accompanied by a completed laboratory research request form.
  • Respect a tissue:fixative ratio of 1:10 each time.
  • Do not send excessively large pieces of tissue. The tissue piece must be small enough for the fixative to penetrate sufficiently.
  • Try to avoid leakage at all times while packing your sample. Ideally, the container of formaldehyde should be transported in a secondary container.
  • Properly label the submitted tissue each time with date of sample collection, tissue type and animal or group identification.

Would you like to request pre-filled containers of formaldehyde?
Contact us.

Special colorings:

By special stains we mean any staining that is not immunohistochemical staining but is different from routine HE staining. For example, this could be a Periodic-Acid Shiff (PAS) stain or a Giesma or Ziehl-Neelsen stain.
Looking for a specific special staining? Please contact us.

Immunohistochemical staining:

Immunohistochemical techniques are used to detect antigens in cells or tissue by using specific antigens. This antigen-antibody binding can then be visualized and in this way specific cells or cellular components can be imaged. Such techniques are used, among others, for tumor characterization, identification of infectious microorganisms or identification of proliferation markers.
Looking for a specific IHC staining? Contact us.

Other services:

Morphometric measurements

Morphometry allows us to determine various quantitative parameters on histological sections. These parameters are particularly interesting in study design to indicate significant differences between groups. These include measurements of villus height, crypt depth and thickness of the tunica muscularis on sections of intestinal tissue, but also other things such as measuring the thickness of the aortic wall, which can give an idea about cardiovascular problems. 

Whole slide imaging.

Whole slide imaging involves scanning the regular histological sections that are normally viewed under a microscope, allowing them to be viewed online as whole slide images. Digital histological images can be made available for a certain period of time so that you can view them from home.

Through a cytological examination we microscopically study cells in body fluids or on tissue imprints. This is a rapid diagnostic method that can be useful in specific cases such as brachyspira detection in laying hens or detection of viral inclusion bodies in case of smallpox or adenovirus infections. Cytological examination is performed when, during a necropsy, it appears that this is an appropriate examination method to reach a diagnosis. 

To further expand our portfolio, Poulpharm’s pathology department now offers haematological evaluation of poultry blood. This is an excellent tool to evaluate general health condition of birds, as well as monitoring of disease status and treatment progress, and can be used both in diagnostics and trial context. 

Converse to mammals, avian species have nucleated red blood cells which complicates haematology in poultry. To differentiate leukocytes, a thin blood smear is created from each blood sample. This is microscopically evaluated by experienced personnel. Together with an automated blood assessment we can thus offer a full haematological profile, including: 

  • Total leukocyte count (cells/µl blood) 
  • Leukocyte differential count (%) 
    • Lymphocytes 
    • Heterophils  
    • Monocytes 
    • Eosinophils 
    • Basophils 
  • Evaluation of morphological abnormalities in leukocytes 
  • Thrombocyte count (cells/µl blood)  
  • Total red blood cell count (cells/µl blood) 
  • Packed cell volume or haematocrit (%) 
  • Polychromatophilic index (regenerative shift) 
  • Haemoglobin (g/dL) 

All analyses can be performed according to European guidelines (EFSA 2017;15(10):5021) for Target Animal Safety trials to support your registration dossier or according to your requirements. 

Anne-Laure Devolder

Contact Pathology