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Blunt Dissection Ep 42: Dr Melinda Merck and the World of Veterinary Forensics

On today’s show, we go on a dive into the dark side of humanity as I am joined by veterinary forensics expert, Dr Melinda Merck.

Dr Merck is the owner of Veterinary Forensics Consulting in Austin, which supports law enforcement by tackling 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 the high profile and successful conviction of NFL player Michael Vick.

The fearless Dr. Merck, a Michigan State University veterinary graduate, also trains veterinarians, attorneys, and police officers around the world on the use of veterinary forensics in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, and the important link between this and domestic violence.

She serves on the WSAVA Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee, is the Past President of the Board of Directors for North American Veterinary Community, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Plus, my favourite to last she is a member of the International Association of Blood Stain Analysts - if you’re thinking Dexter right now, I suspect you are not alone!

In addition to her incredible list of accolades, Dr Merck is the author of “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigation, the co-author of “Veterinary Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty: A Guide for Veterinarians and Law Enforcement,”.

Now, just before we jump into the episode, I just wanted to drop a quick word from today's show sponsor which is my brand new VetX:Leaders training group.

If you are a manager in, or owner of, a vet practice and people are your biggest challenge then VetX:Leaders was designed for you. The program is a complete personnel management system where you will learn how to create vision & strategy, hire effectively, and lead your team so you create a positive culture that brings results.

This is a unique deep dive into the world of high performance and I will be your personal mentor throughout. There is a four-module training course supported by with weekly live coaching sessions and toolkits to ensure you bring your plans to life and take back control of your practice. To learn more and apply to join, then head to

Now back to the show...

This interview ranks as one of my favourite interviews on so many levels. If you are not drooling with excitement at what is in store in this episode then I recommend you immediately check your pulse. So sit back and enjoy this conversation with the brilliant Dr Melinda Merck and the fascinating, but quite creepy, world of veterinary forensics.

Listen on iTunes here. Listen on Soundcloud here. Listen on Stitcher here. Listen on Spotify here.

Outline Of This Episode:

  • [01:35] Introduction to Dr. Melinda Merck

  • [12:35] Dr. Melinda’s thoughts on increasing academic standards for new veterinarians

  • [20:22] A primer on the field of veterinary forensics

  • [24:15] A day in the life of a forensic veterinarian

  • [27:52] Dr. Melinda’s most high-profile case so far

  • [44:19] How Dr. Melinda keeps a clear mind in spite of the gruesome nature of her work

  • [48:16] Why ethical welfare guidelines are important for practitioners

  • [51:11] WSAVA’s position on animal sentience

  • [55:33] Dr. Melinda’s thoughts on speciesism

  • [56:55] Quickfire questions for Dr. Melinda Merck

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Be safe, be well, be happy.

Dr. D

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