What postmortem findings would confirm your diagnosis?
Postmortem findings with VHD are of a necrotizing hepatitis and splenitis.
The liver is pale, enlarged and friable and has a lobular pattern.
Lung haemorrhage and a frothy bloody exudate are found in the trachea, nasal passages and mouth.
Widespread disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) causes fibrinous thrombi and haemorrhage in most organs, especially the lungs, heart and kidneys.
Histopathologically, acute hepatic necrosis, acute nephropathy and the DIC and haemorrhage are confirmed.
Diagnosis can be confirmed by haemagglutination and ELISA tests and detection of the calicivirus by electron microscopy.
Trauma would be apparent on postmortem examination of the carcass, and there would be an absence of signs of other disease.
Rodenticide poisoning is a less likely cause of death. Anticoagulants such as warfarin, coumachlor and indandione derivatives interfere with prothrombin production in the liver and cause multiple haemorrhages throughout the musculature, especially over bony prominences, and internal haemorrhages including epistaxis. External haematomas may also be present.