Dr. Jennifer Haugland didn’t set out to be a veterinary diagnostician, but it’s a job that she says was “made for her.” After spending time in the field and on the farm in Pennsylvania as a large-animal veterinarian, Haugland moved south seeking better hours. She also found a unique calling. Being a veterinary diagnostician means trying to figure out what is making an animal or group of animals sick or what killed them. Sometimes the answer can help protect the rest of a herd and sometimes the answer is just for an owner’s peace of mind. And sometimes it can even help solve an animal abuse case. Haugland says she finds her current job very fulfilling, and doesn’t intend to go back to private practice any time soon, but the skills and experience she has gained in the necropsy lab make her a much better veterinarian.
We recently caught up with Haugland on a slow day at the lab. She explains her job and what she does for our state’s valuable livestock industry.