Professional training in veterinary forensic sciences accessible within the curricula of 30 veterinary medical colleges in the United States

Why training must increase


  • Emmy Ferrell MS DVM



curriculum, college, veterinary education


A study of the curriculum offered by veterinary colleges in the United States was performed on the topic of veterinary forensic science, the field of science utilizing the expertise of a veterinarian to gather and interpret evidence associated with animal crime (i.e. animal abuse and/or neglect). In this study, data was collected from 30 United States veterinary colleges in regard to curriculum accessible to veterinary students, specific to the field of veterinary forensic science. Each school provided any mention and characterization of the topic available to students throughout the four years of veterinary education, including lectures in core courses, lectures worked into elective courses, and/or separate elective courses. Completion of this study revealed the inconsistencies of training in veterinary forensic science found at the colleges surveyed. There are no current standards on this topic required for the education of veterinary professionals. Based on this study, 13 colleges (43.3%) provide some mention of the topic in their course work and seven colleges (23.3%) provide a specific elective course, while 10 colleges (33.3%) offer no training at all in veterinary forensic science. With mandated reporting in 18 of the 50 states, new graduates are expected to be competent at recognizing and reporting suspected cases of animal abuse/neglect; however, many veterinarians have never even been exposed to the topic of veterinary forensics during their education. 


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