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MULT213-1011: Veterinary Forensics

INSTRUCTOR(S): Melinda Merck, DVM and Sharon M. Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, Ph.D, DABVT, DABT
COURSE OPEN: October 5 - November 5, 2011
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Wednesdays, October 12, 19 and 26, 2011; 9:00-11:00 pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area (

Practice Sessions: In order to prepare you for a successful experience in your CE course, we request you attend a practice session prior to the first Real Time Session. Times and dates will be listed in your course confirmation email. Expect to spend up to 1 hour at one of the 2-4 practice sessions held prior to the first Real Time Session.

Level and Prerequisites: This course is geared toward veterinarians who wish to increase their knowledge their knowledge of veterinary forensics. No prerequisite knowledge required.
VIN/VSPN CE Course: This course is open to veterinarians and veterinary technicians. This course has been submitted for RACE approval for veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

The veterinary profession is being increasingly challenged to recognize, report and document animal abuse and cruelty as it is encountered in their practices, and to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of these cases. This course will provide an overview on the techniques and processes involved in forensic investigation of cruelty cases, including recognition and reporting animal cruelty, forensic examination of victims of animal cruelty (live and dead), sample collection and diagnostics, preparation of the forensic report, and working with law enforcement and the media.

This course consists of three (3) two (2) hour Real Time Sessions taught by instructors using full audio, library materials, interactive message board discussions, and a mandatory end-of-course test. Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Required textbook: There is no required textbook for this course.

Recommended textbook: About the Instructors:
Dr. Melinda Merck is a forensic veterinarian consulting on cases involving animals. Dr. Merck assists investigators of animal cruelty with crime scene investigation as well as the examination of live and deceased victims. She helps with large scale operations including exhumations of burial sites and examination of skeletal animal remains. She frequently testifies as a veterinary forensic expert for animal cruelty cases around the country, including cases involving animal fighting, neglect and trauma. She formerly worked for the ASPCA as Senior Director of Veterinary Forensic Sciences.

Dr. Merck is a member of the Board of Directors for North American Veterinary Conference and is Program Chair of the Veterinary Forensic Science track. Dr. Merck is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association. She is the author of the textbook, “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigation,” by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing with the 2nd edition due out in 2012. She is also the co-author of the book “Veterinary Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty: A Guide for Veterinarians and Law Enforcement.”

Dr. Merck frequently provides training for veterinary, attorney and law enforcement professionals internationally on the use of veterinary medical knowledge in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. She teaches workshops on animal crime scenes and the processing of burial and surface remains. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Science and the International Association of Blood Stain Analysts. In addition, Dr. Merck applies her expertise to animal disaster responses by providing training in Disaster Sheltering for American Humane Association. She is a member of their Red Star Emergency Services disaster team.

Sharon Gwaltney-Brant DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT-Toxicology Consultant and former Medical Director of ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center; PhD in veterinary pathology; board certification by American Board of Veterinary Toxicology and American Board of Toxicology.

Course Outline:
Week 1: (Real Time Session October 12): Recognition of Animal Cruelty & The Veterinarian's Role in Reporting Animal Cruelty
Instructor(s): Melinda Merck, DVM and Sharon M. Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, Ph.D, DABVT, DABT

Week 2: (Real Time Session October 19): CSI: The Animal & The Forensic Report
Instructor(s): Melinda Merck, DVM and Sharon M. Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, Ph.D, DABVT, DABT
Content: Week 3: (Real Time Session October 26): Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury
Instructor(s): Melinda Merck, DVM and Sharon M. Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, Ph.D, DABVT, DABT
Content: CE CREDITS: 6

Tuition: Member $120 ($108 early bird special if enrolled by September 21, 2011).
Non-Member $201 ($181 early bird special if enrolled by September 21, 2011).

**For more on how online CE works see the Participant's Resource Center


  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE) or (VSPN CE) Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
Note: "This course has been submitted, but not yet approved, for 6 hours of continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education." Call VSPN/VIN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information. (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board).

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636) to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN/VSPN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).

*For More Information on VIN's Upcoming CE Courses check the Course Catalog at

Katherine James, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
VIN Education Coordinator

VIN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Andrea Pomposo (; ext 126
Debbie Friedler (; ext 756
Heather Schoffstall (; ext 116
Jennifer Boyle (; ext 169


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