Difference between Autopsy and Necropsy

Death marks the end point of our life cycle, but when it comes to our pets or the rest of the animals ; this fact is no different. They too get hurt, get sick, and die.

Veterinary medicine can often go no further in its quest to extend the life of our beloved animals. In certain cases, animals may die from a problem not diagnosed by the vet, or they may die suddenly; without symptoms of any disease. When these cases occur, how is it possible to give a post-mortem diagnosis of what has killed the animal? Do you have an autopsy or a necropsy?

Do you think there is no difference between those two terms? Well then we explain what is the difference between autopsy and necropsy.


An autopsy is a procedure that is performed on human beings who have died, in order to find out the cause of death. Generally, forensics perform autopsies when legal issues are involved or when the deceased person has been involved in criminal matters that could raise suspicions about the cause of death.

On the other hand, clinical autopsies are performed when a person dies of an undiagnosed disease and the medical community wants to learn more about how the disease affected the organs and other parts of the deceased person’s body.

Autopsies are also often applied when people die suddenly, since in this way the true causes of their deaths are determined. The examiner is a professional who may be able to know if the dead person suffered injuries (where they suffered them), if they ingested any poison (what type of poison) or if for example; suffered a heart attack.


On the other hand, when it comes to examining dead animals, the correct thing to do is to use the term necropsy. Like the autopsy in humans, the necropsy in animals has as its main objective to determine the cause of their death; or study how a certain disease affected the various parts of the body and vital organs of animals.

For some people it can be unpleasant to think that their pet, whom they have loved so much, can be examined in this way; but in some cases they feel the need to verify the true cause of death of the animal. When this happens, the vet proceeds to perform a necropsy on the pet’s body.

Necropsies, in addition to shedding light on the causes of death in animals; They are also useful to develop treatments for sick pets, in addition, thanks to this type of procedure, veterinarians can advise pet owners so that they can take better care of their animals.

Key difference between necropsy and autopsy

  • Autopsy is applied to deceased human beings, while necropsy is applied to the bodies of dead animals.

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