Hi everyone,
I lost the original email requesting more specific information about
freezing tissues...whoever you were, sorry! Anyway, I asked several of the
vets and techs that I used to work with and here are some answers to that
question: The tissues are made of cells, of course, which contain a high
percentage of water. When the tissue freezes, the cells burst, similar to
what happens to a sealed soda can  that is put into the freezer. (You have
all forgotten a can of soda in the freezer, I assume?) What this does is
damage the "morphology" or body structure of the cell. A pathologist cannot
tell if the cell/tissue was damaged before or after the freeze. Things that
might damage the cell include cancers, as well as other diseases (they did
not name any others specifically.) They mentioned that SOME pathogens such
as aspergillus can be identified in frozen tissue, as someone else noted,
but that other pathogens in the cells would be destroyed. I know that the
arteries and vessels often burst (as do frozen closed water pipes up north
in winter, for example) and that that could disguise another disease (we
once did a post-mortem on a rabbit that had died because of a burst hepatic
artery...we may not have found that as cause of death if his body had been

They did tell me that some fungi are identifiable, as are diseases that
leave certain foci on the liver, etc. BUT not all diseases are recognizable
in frozen tissue....

So, I guess a frozen body is better than nothing for pathology, but
refridgerated is best. I was also told that gut bacteria continue to
function and digest internal tissues even after death and that
refridgeration only partially stops that process. So ,as mentioned, sooner
is better than later. Hope that this helps.

Sandy Koi

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