Veterinary Pathologists as Forensic Experts

What do an abused beagle and a battered wife have in common? Why would it be useful to have samples of confiscated black rhino horn and illegal ivory carvings? When is the death of a bald eagle a crime, and when is it a natural event? These questions and more can be answered by veterinary pathologists who act as forensic experts. Veterinary Forensics Dr. Melinda Merck, D.V.M., explains, “Vets are natural detectives. We have to figure it out … every time a patient comes in.” She began her interest in forensic veterinary pathology early in her career after treating a kitten the owners claimed had been damaged under a sink. The injuries were consistent with beating. In a later case, when a woman brought in her dog who had been stabbed by her boyfriend, a little investigation turned up clues that the boyfriend was also abusing the woman. But veterinary pathology doesn’t stop there. They are called upon to determine whether the death of an endangered animal was caused by a human or whether it was injured or killed accidentally. A recent article about veterinary pathology begins… Read More