Handling of Companion Animal Remains

Comment on this policy Veterinarians should recognize that an owner's attachment to an animal extends beyond death and that the sensitive handling of animal remains is an important aspect of veterinary practice. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians:

  • Encourage prior planning so that owners are aware of their options and can easily communicate their preferences.
  • Be aware of all legal restrictions relating to the disposition of remains and counsel owners accordingly.
  • Handle remains in a sensitive manner such that is not unnecessarily disturbing to the owner or any other person with a valid reason to see the remains and that provides adequate containment of the remains.
  • Use trustworthy service providers for postmortem care or interment of remains.
  • If receiving remains following cremation, inspect remains upon receipt from service provider to verify the requested services have been properly executed.