#119: You’re Already a Forensic Vet – You Just Didn’t Know It: How to Get Better at It, and Why It Matters. With Dr Elizabeth Pearlman.

You know when you see that case, usually some sort of traumatic injury , where something feels a bit ‘off’. Maybe the story doesn’t fit the injury, or it’s the third time you’ve seen this patient in the last few months. Whatever it is – there are alarm bells…

In this episode forensic veterinarian Dr Elizabeth Pearlman tells us why it’s so important that you listen to those alarm bells, how to get better at hearing them, while sharing a structured plan for what to do about it to help us bring a bit of light to the darker aspects of human-animal interactions, without compromising your own wellbeing.

Dr Elizabeth Pearlman is a forensic veterinarian for the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensic Science Center in Gainesville FL. A childhood of watching Animal Cops on Animal Planet sent her on her path to veterinary science and eventually a Masters degree in Veterinary Forensic Science. She has practiced as a private practice emergency veterinarian and as a staff veterinarian for the Houston SPCA, and In 2018, she joined The ASPCA full-time as a forensic veterinarian. In her position, she assists law enforcement agencies nationwide with the identification, documentation, and collection of forensic evidence from crime scenes, live animals, and deceased animals. Additionally, she authors reports based on her findings and testifies in court as an expert witness.

In this episode Liz gives us a peek into the career of a forensic vet. She shares practical advice and resources on how to deal with cruelty and neglect cases, including evidence gathering, documentation, reporting, working with law enforcement and even how to get over your fear of being an expert witness in court. If you feel like this might be the job for you – Liz also lays out a few possible career pathways for us.

Topic List:

01:56 – The Reality of Forensic Veterinary Work

02:26 – Case of Suspected Chicken Abuse

03:42 – Abby’s Case: A Deep Dive

07:43 – Impact of Forensic Work on Animal Welfare

08:14 – Veterinary Forensics Education and Reporting

11:07 – Another Case Study: Khaleesi

14:07 – Discussion on Non-Accidental Injuries

16:12 – Overview of a Forensic Vet’s Role

18:53 – Forensic Veterinary Opportunities in the U.S. and Abroad

22:31 – Educational Resources and Career Paths in Forensic Veterinary Medicine

25:54 – Handling Suspicions of Animal Abuse in Practice

28:33 – Emotional Challenges in Forensic Veterinary Work

36:01 – Importance of Detailed Documentation in Suspected Abuse Cases

38:21 – Court Appearances and Testifying as a Forensic Vet

40:08 – Maintaining Emotional Health in Forensic Veterinary Roles

43:56 – Closing Thoughts and Stoic Philosophy in Veterinary Practice

Resources from Dr Pearlman:

Continuing Education Opportunities:

 

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