Highlights

Make merit with CUVET’s Animal Cadaver Donation Center by Donating Your Dead Pets’ Bodies for Veterinary Science Students


When our beloved pet that is like a family member dies, the last possible merit we could make together is to donate its body to the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s (CUVET’s) Animal Cadaver Donation Center to be studied by veterinary science students for the purpose of animal research.


Even after it left this world, a dearly beloved pet cat’s lifeless body was still useful, so the owner donates its body to CUVET’s Animal Cadaver Donation Center, Animal Body Center for the purpose of veterinary students’ education and research.

“Som-Meow was the cutest cat who liked to sit on my lap and used to stare at me for encouragement while I did my homework. The day that Som-Meow passed away suddenly, we were all very sad, but knowing that it would become a teacher cadaver for veterinary science students to dissect, we were comforted and our sorry eased,” wrote someone who called herself “Som-Meow’s slave” in the memorial book at a cremation held for all donated cadavers.

Every year, owners donate the bodies of their puppies, cats, and other beloved pets to the CUVET’s Animal Cadaver Donation Center, but the numbers are still insufficient.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Siripong Kietkitikun,
Head of the Department of Surgery and Director of Small Animal Hospital, CUVET

“CUVet needs about 200-250 cadavers per year for veterinary students to study, but to date, we’ve only received 180 a year,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Siripong Kietkitikun, Head of the Department of Surgery and Director of Small Animal Hospital, CUVET, urged pet owners to turn their feelings of loss into merit by donating the bodies of their deceased pets.

What kind of pets can be donated?

CUVET’s Animal Cadaver Donation Center accepts donations of all animals, regardless of age, breed, or size. Exotic animals and pets can also be donated.  So far, the smallest animal that the owner has ever donated was a hamster.  People also donated dwarf hedgehogs, prairie dogs, exotic snakes, and African snakehead, which is the largest animal ever received.  Thai veterinary circles have never studied or had any knowledge about these animals’ anatomy before, so the donation was even more beneficial to the public

The animals that CANNOT be donated are those that died from diseases such as invasive cancer, or zoonotic diseases such as rabies and tuberculosis.

The pets that comprise the majority of cadavers 

Veterinary science classes use “dog cadavers” the most (about 70-80 percent), followed by cats and other animals. The ideal dog cadavers are big dogs weighing about 15-25 kgs. because of their large organs which are visible.  For cats, the most desirable size is about 3-5  kgs, but others are also acceptable.

Preparing the pet body for donation

As soon as the pet dies, the owner who wishes to donate must put their pet in a plastic bag to freeze it at 4 degrees Celsius, then bring it to the center within 24 hours after the pet has passed away. If not frozen immediately, or kept frozen longer than 24 hours, the body can still be donated, but some organs, such as digestive organs or intestines, may disintegrate and may not be useful to study.

Once the body has been prepared, contact the center, then bring the body to the 5th floor of the Small Animal Hospital Building. The staff will screen the pet history, its cause of death, history of vaccination, and serious infections.  The owner fills out a Consent Form to hand over the animal body, and the process is done.

Storing the Principals

Qualified cadavers are preserved in a formalin-free, soft-body embalming fluid, then stored at a very low temperature.

Make merit for the Principals

Veterinary science students study each cadaver for 1-3 years, after which a merit-making and cremation ceremony would be organized.  There are prayers, laying of the sandalwood flowers, and concluded with ash scattering ceremony by the professors, students, and staff of the center.  Pet owners are also invited to attend this annual event.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Sirakarnt Dhitawat,
Biochemistry Division, Department of Physiology, CUVET

“Donating your pet body is charitable for both the animal and its owner. It is an important lesson for our students that they receive the kindness of the animals’ owners who sacrificed their beloved animals for them to study. Students will appreciate the animals they study until their graduation, and pass on the kindness to the animals they will continue to heal,” added Asst. Prof. Dr. Sirakarnt Dhitawat, of Biochemistry Division, Department of Physiology, CUVET.

Contact 

CUVET’s Animal Cadaver Donation Center, 
Small Animal Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Tel. 09–5851–7807 or 0–2218–9638  (during office hours) and 0–2218–9752  (outside of office hours); Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CUSCDVET

The sense of kinship and warmth found in the Chula community is priceless and a treasure worth keeping.

Prof. Dr. Pornanong Aramwit Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University