Passing Veterinary Forensics – giving voice to those without one

Forensics is the used of science for legal means, in the case of veterinary forensics it is the use of veterinary knowledge to help in legal cases. Whether that case is animal abuse, a dog attack on a person, or even civil compensation claims between owners and breeders about sperm.

My question in the exam today was about behaviour forensics – so what causes animals to have behaviour problems… I was slightly cheeky with my answer here and put the number one cause as “Humans”… It’s true sadly that 99% of behaviour problems in animals are influenced or directly caused by humans and personally I doubt that there is any without a human influence. However I did manage to pass the exam with discussion of problems in dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, cows, horses and sheep.

However behaviour forensics is just a little part of the whole field of veterinary forensics. Personally I believe the point here to be about giving voice to animals without one. We are in the unique position of having an understanding of the common types of injuries seen in animals, and it is possible to tell when the injury does not match the story. It is also possible to tell the age of injury and even time of death by changes in the body.

This is an extremely interesting field, and one which I am sure I will write more on later.

Last exam and the end of the vet school year…

Vet school Parasitology

I’ve never worked so hard in my life, had so many sleepless nights, and felt so utterly lost and without hope in my life. Someone once said that it was the getting in that was the easy part of vet school. After spending the past week fighting the massive urge to curl up in the corner, sleep and forget about everything today I managed to pass parasitology.

This subject has been hell for me, with the Latin species names, the sizes and the pure quantity of information it has been a never ending cycle of learning one thing to forget it after studying the next thing going round completely in circles.

My brain is mushed, my legs don’t seem to be connected to it anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I had a proper meal…

Upside is the year is over, 5th year starts on the 21st September and I am so excited, just about another 700 days of this vet school lark to go!

With that I am going find food…

The exams are here…

vet student exam study

It has been a very long sleep deprived. This past week I have done two of my end of year exams. Monday was pathological physiology and today was epizootiology (infectious diseases). Next week on Wednesday I have pathological anatomy so whilst I have done 2 in a single week, there is no time to celebrate and the study must go on.

Pathological physiology is the study of functional problems in the body, so why the body goes wrong and the processes involved in this. One of my questions here was about anemia – a lack of red blood cells. This is pretty simple right? Not so as the question started with the different classifications for anemia, then there are the different causes, and then finally there are the compensation mechanisms to help the body survive the anemia. All of these processes are intricately linked together and to other body systems – for example the kidneys are involved to increase blood volume to increase blood pressure.

Then it was followed up by ruminal alkalosis in cows, and then disorders of the parathyroid gland which is responsible for the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

Epizootiology is the study of diseases – bacteria and viruses – their spread and the diagnosis. Today my questions were based on picornaviruses (the cause of foot and mouth disease), bovine herpesvirus, and the causes of Mastitis.

Sometimes there is just so much to take in that I just do not know where to begin. Now I am going sleep so I am fresh to start study for pathological anatomy tomorrow.