Seal Necropsy

From the necropsy, the cause of death of the seal can be ascertained. The necropsy revealed hair loss, alopecia. Due to the alopecia, the seal might have died from hypothermia due to heat loss. The thin blubber (5 cm) might also have increased the chances of death by hypothermia.

Examination of the organs also point to some possible causes of death. The lungs were too dark pointing to a possibility of a lung infection. The trachea was also blocked and congested pointing to the chance of the seal bearing breathing problems that could have led to its death. The stomach was worm infested, yellowish and had ulcers, bile had nematodes pointing to a high possibility of a compromised immunity and the seal’s reduced ability to fight infections. The intestine was also infested by acorn worms further evidence of compromised immunity that might have caused its death.

  • Material used in Animal Necropsy
  • Fresh necropsy material such as tissue samples and squash preparations
  • Microscope for viewing the tissues smears and squash preparations
  • Slides for mounting the collected specimens
  • Scalpels for performing the necropsy
  • Procedure of performing a necropsy

First, an accurate history of the specimen is taken.

External examination is conducted .This involves palpitating for any swelling on the surface, general observation of the external features of the specimen such as hair distribution, color, texture and distribution .

Internal examination that included dissection of the specimen to view the internal organs followed. Observation of the physical characteristics of the internal organs such as shape and positional location of the organs was a part of this step.

Biopsy is then conducted on the internal and external tissues.


Harp seal is a species of earless seal found in the Arctic It is a mammal that lives in water spending relatively little time on land. They are extremely social animals that live in colonies.

The harp seal has developed some adaptations that enable it live in water. It has a thick coat of hair and blubber that insulates its body against heat lose and streamlines its body for efficient swimming. It has flippers that enable it to swim and acts as heat exchangers, warming and cooling the blood when needed.

The main reason for the death of the seal under question is hypothermia triggered by alopecia, loss of hair, and the depletion of blubber. The hypothermia triggered a cold that caused the trachea to be congested; the congested trachea hindered the action of cilia thereby causing accumulation of mucus that caused lung infection hence darkening of the lungs. Hypothermia also compromised the immune system hence compromising the seal’s ability to protect itself leading to the invasion of its organ system by worms.

The experiment solved the original problem that was the cause of death of the seal. The cause of death was hypothermia as was confirmed by the alopecia and the depleted blubber that was reduced to half its normal amount, 5cm instead of the approximated 10cm. Examination of the skin revealed hair loss that is consistent with alopecia.

I have learnt that seals cannot survive in water without thermoregulation that is facilitated by their blubber and thick hair on their bodies. I have also learnt that optimum homeostatic temperature is essential for body functions such as immunity.

In conclusion, the seal necropsy was successful in ascertaining the cause of death of the harp seal.