The current VIN date & time: Eastern

VIN Veterinary Forensics (MULT220) Self-Study

This course is a self-paced, non-interactive course.

Presenter: Jennifer Woolf, DVM, MS (Veterinary Forensics)
Course Open: July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022
Total CE Credit: 5
RACE Category: 5 hours Medical

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Course Information:
More and more, our society is mindful of the connection between people and animals including the Link: the connection between animal abuse and interpersonal violence. Because of this, it is imperative that all veterinarians and support staff be able to identify potential animal abuse and know the laws related to their roles in reporting animal abuse. But to report abuse, one must first be able to identify it and document it correctly. Additionally, it may be necessary to collect evidence in a manner that does not compromise the case. This course strives to teach each participant what the Link is, what laws may pertain to animal abuse, how to identify signs consistent with animal abuse, and how to document those signs including writing a report. The focus will be on individual small animals but will also include large-scale cases and briefly touch on large animals and exotics. Finally, there will be a brief discussion of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and its relation to animal abuse.

To earn a certificate of completion the participant must complete all learning modules and score 80% or better on the end-of-course test. Completion of the course will take a minimum of 303 minutes. Participants must complete the participation requirements by June 30, 2022 to be eligible for a certificate.

To learn more about the requirements for earning a non-interactive CE certificate, please refer to Non-Interactive CE Certificate Requirements.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able to
  • understand the 'Link' (the connection between animal abuse and interpersonal violence) including domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and other forms of human violence.
  • understand the variety of laws governing animals.
  • learn the difference between mandatory reporting and voluntary reporting of animal abuse within the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
  • know whether or not a veterinarian or support staff is mandated to report child abuse in the U.S.
  • understand the Five Freedoms and how they help evaluate potential animal neglect.
  • understand Red Flags for animal abuse and child abuse.
  • learn the 6 types of animal abuse and signs that are consistent with each type.
  • learn about diseases and other conditions that can mimic animal abuse.
  • understand a clinical forensic examination and how it can differ from a typical medical examination.
  • understand a forensic necropsy and how it can differ from a traditional necropsy.
  • know how animal abuse may present to a veterinarian and/or staff and who might present the animal.
  • know how to document signs consistent with animal abuse so that they will stand up in court including medical records, photography, and videography.
  • understand some of the rules of evidence collection.
  • learn how to collect some of the most commonly seen evidence of animal abuse in a private practice setting.
  • understand what a chain of custody is and why it is important.
  • go through some cases to put what you have learned thus far into action.
  • write a report of a clinical forensic examination or a forensic necropsy for the court.
  • understand the steps involved in a large-scale case including changes to the report format.
  • learn about testifying in a U.S. court.
  • discuss animal abuse of species other than typical companion animals.

Level and Prerequisites: This basic VIN CE self-study course is open for enrollment to veterinarians and veterinary support personnel actively interested in veterinary forensics. This course is open to VIN and VSPN members only.
RACE Accreditation: This non-interactive course is approved for 5 hours of continuing education credit by RACE for veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists. (RACE 22-43993)

Course Agenda:

Module 1: The 'Link' and Mandatory Reporting Laws
Total Time: 46 minutes
Video: 40 minutes
Handouts: 6 minutes
Polls: 7

Module 2: Identifying Animal Abuse
Total Time: 98 minutes
Video: 80 minutes
Handouts: 18 minutes
Polls: 4

Module 3: Documenting Animal Abuse
Total Time: 57 minutes
Video: 57 minutes
Polls: 4

Module 4: Collecting Evidence
Total Time: 44 minutes
Video: 44 minutes
Polls: 5

Module 5: Writing the Report, Testifying, and Other Miscellaneous Topics
Total Time: 43 minutes
Video: 43 minutes
Polls: 6

Module 6: End of Course Test
Total Time: 15 minutes
Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

Module 7: Course Evaluation

To learn more about the requirements for earning a non-interactive self-study CE certificate, please refer to Non-Interactive CE Certificate Requirements.


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Tuition: VIN/VSPN Member $115
Prices are listed in US dollars.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant 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 @vspn.org and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 797 or email . Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to starting the course. If you wish to withdraw after you have started this self-study course, please contact the VSPN office 800-846-0028, ext. 797 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.

*For more information on VIN's upcoming CE courses, check the VIN Course Catalog.

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

VIN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 797
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357