As a veterinary pathologist and researcher, Ilze Matise‑VanHoutan never expected to find herself at the centre of a scandal. It’s not a typically scandalous job, after all.
But what began as a professional investigation triggered by an outbreak of a deadly dog disease, developed into a tangled mess of vested interests and politics.
Ilze is a Latvian veterinarian who has returned to her home country after 14 years in the US. In the US, she found her passion for veterinary pathology and trained in this field, receiving a PhD and becoming a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.
Throughout her career, she has been influenced by people that she admired for their integrity in research and diagnostic work. Veterinary pathology has opened opportunities for Ilze to assist owners of animals, as well as medical researchers using animals to study human diseases. In recent years, Ilze was drawn into the investigation of an outbreak of a previously rare disease which was affecting dogs in Latvia.
This investigation has been under the microscope from the media, state institutions and politicians because it has touched on a sensitive subject, our beloved pets. This is the first time in her life that her research has been so politically charged, with her scientific credibility under challenge.