Carcass inspection2

(under the jaw) mandibular (also known as sub-maxillary) lymph nodes lie at the base of the tongue below the lower jaw bone... (behind the skull) retropharyngeal nodes are seen once the head is cut off

(under the jaw) mandibular (also known as sub-maxillary) lymph nodes lie at the base of the tongue below the lower jaw bone... (behind the skull) retropharyngeal nodes are seen once the head is cut off

Procedure in the larder  (cont)

Lymph nodes in the head. Both sets of nodes are hidden away but if infected they tend to become swollen, may show signs of abscesses and are easier to locate. To remove head bend head slightly back. Stick the knife into the neck behind the windpipe at a point below the ear and cut outwards to cut open the throat and to expose the joint between the skull and the atlas  bone. Cut the tissue either side of this joint and pull or twist the chin back to dislocate the joint. Cut through the remaining tissue to completely remove the head.

Lymph nodes in the head. Both sets of nodes are hidden away but if infected they tend to become swollen, may show signs of abscesses and are easier to locate. To remove head bend head slightly back. Stick the knife into the neck behind the windpipe at a point below the ear and cut outwards to cut open the throat and to expose the joint between the skull and the atlas  bone. Cut the tissue either side of this joint and pull or twist the chin back to dislocate the joint. Cut through the remaining tissue to completely remove the head.

  • Look for and note any sores or abscesses found on head and legs. Check the mouth, tongue and jaws for any swellings, blisters or abscesses , possibly indicative of Foot and Mouth disease.
  • Assess the fat content within the carcass, especially around the kidneys. A consistent and objective means of assessing this is the weight of the surrounding fat in relation to the weight of the kidney. Kidney fat index is probably the most reliable means of assessing body condition. The effects of season, age of the animal, lactation etc. should be taken into account when using it to judge the general health of the deer herd.
  • Look at the kidneys. If removing the kidneys, peel them to check the colour, size and texture. This is a good place to spot infectious conditions, which may cause abscesses or adhesions of the kidney to its envelope, or may be visible as micro-abscesses.
  • Draw the attention of the AGHE vet to any spots,cysts or blisters and even white scars on the kidney which may be of no significance

rear view of head and articulation to neck

rear view of head and articulation to neck

The retropharyngeal lymph nodes are tan and grey in colour and are found close to the midline, close to where the mouth cavity meets the back of the throat (pharyngeal area)

The retropharyngeal lymph nodes are tan and grey in colour and are found close to the midline, close to where the mouth cavity meets the back of the throat (pharyngeal area)

Completing the Inspection

  • Ensure that proper records are kept to ensure traceability (ideally in a larder record)*. Record the following:
    1. Place, date and time of culling
    2. Name of the 'trained person' who inspected the carcass
    3. Details of any abnormal behaviour, injury or disease observed
    4. Carcass tag number (if applicable).
  • Carcasses supplied to an approved game handling establishment (AGHE) must have attached a declaration tag bearing these details and signed by the 'trained person'.

underside of head showing lower jawbone.

underside of head showing lower jawbone.

What to do if you find abnormalities

  • Where a Notifiable Disease is suspected, inform the Divisional Veterinary Manager immediately.1
  • Where TB is suspected retain the gralloch/pluck in a sealed plastic container and retain with the carcass outside the larder, then notify the DVM.1
  • Do not allow the carcasses with abnormalities associated with disease and infection to enter the food chain and ensure they are kept separate from others.
  • Where there are other abnormalities and the carcass is being supplied to an AGHE, record these on the declaration tag accompanying the carcass.

to see the sub-mandibular glands, cut along both outer edges of lower jaw and fold resulting skin flaps outward.

to see the sub-mandibular glands, cut along both outer edges of lower jaw and fold resulting skin flaps outward.

and in closer detail

and in closer detail

Do not submit the following for entry to the food chain

  • Carcasses which are emaciated.
  • Carcasses with a suspected Notifiable Disease**.
  • Carcasses with any acute septic condition or signs of fever.
  • Carcasses with extensive and severe bruising. Less severe bruising or contamination may be acceptable if the affected areas are thoroughly cut back.
  • Carcasses which have “fired” or "sweated" as a result of heat retention during the carcass cooling process.

Key to symbols

  • This symbol highlights a legal requirement. It is an offence not to comply.
  • This symbol highlights an action or task required in order to safeguard public safety, food safety and animal welfare.  
  • This symbol highlights an action or task required in order to carry out the task effectively.

see further key to these symbols