Michael M. Garner, DVM, DACVP
Zoo clinicians, by nature of their specialty, are skilled at necropsy technique, more so than clinicians in most other specialties. Gross lesion recognition (and photography), like other imaging modalities, is a bit of an art form. Vast zones of grey may confront the investigator when considering what the lesion is, what it could be, and what to do with it. And nobody is good at all of it: A seasoned livestock pathologist could possibly clear an entire day’s necropsies without the help of a single histology slide. A beekeeper would recognize immediately the maggot stages that parasitize his colony. A dog-cat pathologist in a busy private laboratory or a companion animal clinician may not have a clue about gross lesions in livestock or bees. Historically, our attempts at accurately diagnosing disease by gross lesion recognition have been a humbling experience, and that has been the impetus for all further diagnostic specialties. Gross lesions, or lack thereof, are the first visual indication of what may be wrong with the patient (or cadaver, as the case may be). These are the lumps, the effusions, the asymmetrical oddities, the discolorations, the odiferous clues to disease that (hopefully) stimulate a “scientific” thought process culminating in a list of differential diagnoses. The purpose of this session is to present clear and not so clear images of common and not so common gross lesions in live and necropsy specimens, and in a participatory manner, establish a differential diagnosis and means for establishing a definitive diagnosis.