Postmortem decrease in temperature in the orbit of dogs for use in determining time of death


  • Piotr Listos Department of Pathological Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Life Sciences, GÅ‚Ä™boka 30, 20-612 Lublin
  • Magdalena Gryzinska Department of Biological Basis of Animal Production, Faculty of Biology and Animal Breeding, University of Life Sciences, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
  • Justyna Batkowska Department of Biological Basis of Animal Production, Faculty of Biology and Animal Breeding, University of Life Sciences, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland


Determination of time of death is a complex process taking into account numerous biological and environmental factors. These have to do with the changes taking place in the body immediately after death, mainly rigor mortis, lividity and the decrease in body temperature with the passage of time in specific ambient temperature and humidity conditions. Until recently body temperature was measured only in the rectum because the mechanisms of heat loss had been precisely established. Currently body temperature is measured in other tissues as well, including the soft tissues of the orbit.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of postmortem measurement of the decrease in temperature in the orbit for determining the time of death of an animal (a dog) while taking into account the dynamics of changes in temperature measured in the rectum. 

The body weight of the dog was found to affect the rate of the decrease in temperature in the orbital soft tissues. Because the dynamics of changes (decrease) in temperature in the orbit were more uniform than in the rectum, temperature measurement at this site may be a valuable alternative method for determining time of death.  


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How to Cite

Listos, P., Gryzinska, M., & Batkowska, J. (2016). Postmortem decrease in temperature in the orbit of dogs for use in determining time of death. SLOVENIAN VETERINARY RESEARCH, 53(2). Retrieved from



Original Research Article