Module 3: The Case of the Embedded Collar

Step 7: Forensic Medical Report

The purpose of the forensic medical report is to clearly convey what has or has not happened to a victim based on evidence. The report contains the physical exam findings, pain assessment, diagnostic test results, response to treatments, and forensic photographs. The report ends with a conclusion about whether the victim’s conditions should have been recognized as requiring veterinary care and if the animal experienced pain and suffering from the conditions. The veterinarian must be impartial and only draw conclusions based on what the evidence shows.

Even if you are not required to write a formal forensic report, it is a good idea to summarize your medical findings into a one or two-page report that can be shared with investigators and attorneys to help them understand your findings. The veterinarian may also be called to testify about their findings months to years after the examination, so a thorough report and well-documented evidence will assist in providing accurate testimony.

Animal abuse is a LEGAL determination, not a medical one. The veterinarian does not need to make the case or determine if a crime was committed.


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