Wheaten Terrier Post Mortem

Dear Owner

No one likes to think of the time when we might lose our Wheaten friend and companion. The moment we do lose them is very emotional and sensitive for us and a time when the pain of grief can cloud our better judgement.

At a time like this, suggestions of a post mortem are almost unthinkable, but the last loving act could be to allow your Wheaten to provide valuable medical information that may benefit the breed in future; the health of every Wheaten is important, even if it has not been bred from.

Of course, this is a difficult task to take on board so soon after death, but it may help and reassure you that it may not be necessary for a ‘full body’ post mortem to be carried out. Often, all that may be required unless there are serious concerns over the cause of death, is to take a sample, using keyhole surgery, from the kidney and/or intestine.

If you would like your Wheaten to make this valuable contribution to wheaten health, it may help to discuss the possibility with your Veterinary Practice so that they can be aware of your wishes well in advance so he/she can discretely carry out the necessary procedures, when the time comes, on your behalf.

Importantly, if it is suspected that your dog has died of a hereditary disease, please inform your breeder, and the SCWT Club of GB as this may provide valuable information for future breed health.

Further details about the PM process are given below.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this matter.


Wheaten Health Initiative

Information for Owners and Veterinarians in UK:

The request for pathological examination should be made through your veterinary surgeon, to a suitable veterinary facility. The Royal Veterinary College have experience in performing Post Mortems on Wheaten Terriers, or any suitable alternative.

The RVC will charge for their services, as will your Vet. and the cost of the process will depend on whether a whole body or tissue samples are required.

Should your Wheaten have a hereditary disease, or is strongly suspected to have died of a hereditary disease, then please contact the Health Enquiries team of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB as you may qualify for assistance from the health fund.

Your post mortem report will go back to the referring veterinarian, who would then relay the report and results to you.

DNA will also be collected on PM (if it has not already been previously stored).


Please give your Vet all this information so he/she knows the correct storage procedure and who to contact – this is very important.

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Ideally the post mortem needs to take place:

  • Within 48 hours of death or euthanasia. However, in the case of samples of the intestine, it is important that these are taken as soon as possible after death.
  • The body should be refrigerated (not frozen)
  • If death occurs over a weekend, please do not send until Monday morning. 
  • Please include a summary of the clinical history leading up to death, or euthanasia, with the body/tissue samples.
  • If a whole body post mortem is not necessary, advice regarding the appropriate tissues required for collection can be obtained by contacting one of the pathologists at the RVC or other suitable Veterinary facility.
  • The RVC and other Veterinary facilities are able to give advice to the referring veterinary surgeon, on a case by case basis, submission of the whole body or parts thereof and the cost of the procedure.

If your dog took part in the pANCA Research Project, please read this important announcement from Dr Karin Allenspach.

Who to contact:

The pathology department of the Royal Veterinary College has experience of the diagnosis of Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE), Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN), Renal Dysplasia (RD) and Addison’s disease, including the criteria used to distinguish between a kidney affected by RD and one which is affected by PLN.

Vet Referral Only:

Professor Ken Smith, BVM&S, PhD, FHEA, FRCPath, FRCVS Professor of Companion Animal Pathology, Royal Veterinary College

Phone: 01707 666208 Fax: 01707 661464 Email: ksmith@rvc.ac.uk Web site: www.rvc.ac.uk

The Royal Veterinary College

Hawkshead Lane

North Mymms




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