Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science (CUVET) has found formulas to preserve animal cadavers to be studied by students in place of carcinogenic formalin and are able to keep the cadavers soft for years.
The CUVET faculty members have spent over 4 years developing this embalming fluid to preserve the animal cadavers, aka “the headmasters”, for students to study. This is to replace the foul-smelling and carcinogenic formalin, which can have seriously noxious health effects on par with cigarettes and asbestos, and has also been shown to be toxic to the environment.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Siripong Kiatkittikul, Head of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Animal Hospital revealed that this technology was developed in collaboration with the Departments of Physiology, Surgery, and Anatomy of CUVET.
“We have expanded on the technology that Chula Faculty of Medicine has used to preserve human cadavers and adapted it to be used with animal cadavers. At present, we have successfully created two formulas: the “formalin–free headmaster“ formula, which is used in anatomy classes that require relatively hard and dry bodies to study musculoskeletal structures. The “soft headmaster“ formula is used on cadavers for students to practice surgery. These cadavers need to be soft with pliable organs, joints and muscles just like those of real animals. “
“First, we experimented with chunks of meat, then the animal organs. Currently, the formulas are applied to the “headmasters” like dogs and cats, rabbits, pigs, sheep. The exceptions are for horses and cows that we only embalm just parts of the animals.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Sirakarnt added that the formulas can preserve the cadavers for up to 2-3 years in the freezer, and 3-4 months after they are removed from the freezer to be studied. The formulas are also being developed to kill fungi and bacteria in the cadavers soon.