Trying to solve the formalin issue in the veterinary anatomy teaching (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagreb)


  • Tajana Trbojević Vukičević
  • Silvija Jelačić
  • Kim Korpes
  • Magdalena Kolenc
  • Martina Đuras



formalized anatomical specimens, polyethylene glycol, acetic acid solution


The Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb has been established in 1919 and there have been several changes in syllabuses and titles of the anatomy course. However, what has remained unchanged over all these decades is the use of formaldehyde solutions (4 or 10% concentrations) to preserve anatomical specimens for teaching purposes. Due to the proven toxic, allergic and carcinogenic characteristics of formalin, there is a global trend to reduce and completely eliminate formalin as a fixative in anatomy courses. With this aim, we started looking for alternative methods for fixating anatomical specimens. Since 2019, we have included anatomical specimens impregnated with polyethylene glycol and fresh carcasses, or body parts in anatomy courses. We have managed to reduce the use of formalized specimens by 100% for courses in Anatomy with Organogenesis of Domestic Animals I and III for the study program in English, and by 50% for the same courses in Croatian. Likewise, a 50% reduction was performed in Anatomy II in both study programs. Permanent dry specimens of hollow organs are also used in practicals. The storage of fresh specimens in 1.08% solution of acetic acid is still in experimental phase, but so far it has proved to be an extremely good alternative, safe for usage, cheap and suitable over a short period time in the anatomy course. All these changes caused harmless removal of worn-out and unnecessary formalized specimens and the adaptation of the Department’s facilities.






Research Article (peer review)