Veterinary Forensic Pathology I

VME 6577


The goal of this course is to provide veterinarians, forensic scientists, investigators, law enforcement and attorneys with a working knowledge of veterinary pathology and the forensic postmortem in order to perform forensic postmortems (in the case of veterinarians) or to enable and facilitate others involved in the investigation of animal abuse in their interactions with veterinary clinicians or pathologists. Completion of this course is a pre-requisite for VME 6576 Veterinary Forensic Pathology II which covers identification, description and interpretation of lesions associated with animal abuse and neglect. Veterinary Forensic Pathology I introduces students to the pathologic basis of disease that in turn forms the basis of understanding lesions due to natural and traumatic causes. The postmortem technique itself will be covered in depth. The course teaches astute observation, accurate description, and educated interpretation of the changes observed at postmortem, in addition to postmortem case management. The first half of the course will focus on general pathology, which is the foundation of all pathology, including forensic pathology, lesion description and morphological diagnoses. The second half of the course focuses on of the forensic postmortem – from preparation to report writing and techniques required in some forensic postmortems. Special topics included in the course are techniques for examination of the neck region in cases of suspected strangulation, cardiac examination and sampling for histopathology.

Students will be assessed on their contribution to weekly discussions, weekly assignments, a mid-term and final examination.


Module Topic
Week 1 The Diagnostic Process & Reactions to Cellular Injury
Week 2 Hemostasis and Edema
Week 3 Inflammation
Week 4 Wound Healing
Week 5 Color in Pathology
Week 6 Lesion Description
Week 7 Mid-term Examination
Week 8 The Forensic Postmortem: Preparation & External Examination
Week 9 The Forensic Postmortem: Internal Examination
Week 10 The Forensic Postmortem: Special Techniques
Week 11 The Forensic Postmortem Report; Certainty in Pathology and Photography
Week 12 Final Examination

Required Text:

Pathologic basis of veterinary disease. Ed. McGavin MD, Zachary JF, 5th ed., Mosby, St. Louis, MO. 2011.