Sonjia Shelly
Veterinary Clinical Pathologist


Diagnostic veterinary pathologists scrutinize every clue from the whole animal to the molecule to determine the cause of disease in individual or groups of animals. They often find their clues in post mortem examinations (necropsies) or surgical biopsies, and then correlate results from pathologic, microbiologic, molecular, and toxicologic tests to reach a diagnosis.

Some diagnostic pathologists focus on one or a few species; others diagnose disease in a variety of animals from livestock to pets to wildlife. The typical training for a career in diagnostic pathology is a veterinary degree (DVM or VMD) followed by a 3-year residency in veterinary pathology and certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). Often diagnostic pathologists obtain additional research training that enhances their ability to diagnose, understand, and prevent animal diseases.

Many diagnostic pathologists also share their expertise by teaching pathology to veterinary students and training residents for careers in veterinary pathology. Diagnostic pathologists are employed by private, state and federal diagnostic laboratories; by colleges and universities, especially those with a veterinary school; and by industry, especially pharmaceutical companies. If you enjoy new challenges every day, wish to promote animal and human health, and want to be on guard for disease outbreaks or the emergence of new diseases, diagnostic pathology may be the career for you.