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Skeletal Trauma Analysis in Animals

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to skeletal trauma in non-human remains. In the course of this class, we will cover blunt force, sharp force, projectile, and fighting trauma including the mechanisms of injury. Also covered will be skeletal evidence of other types of abuse including starvation, infection, or neglect. Skeletal pathology will be addressed. Taphonomy will also be discussed particularly in reference to distinguishing postmortem damage from antemortem or perimortem trauma. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of lecture material, readings, online active discussions and case analyses, and a final case analysis presentation.

The textbook chosen focuses on human trauma analysis, this was done because not only are the concepts presented applicable to the documentation and interpretation of trauma in forensic veterinary cases, but there is no skeletal-based veterinary trauma analysis books available that cover a variety of topics, many are species or topic specific. In addition to the textbook a several supplementary veterinary based journal articles will be made available to the students for reading and discussion that will help students compare and contrast human and non-human trauma analysis, a selection of these articles are listed below.


Course Topics

Module Topic
Module 1 Definition of trauma and general mechanisms
Module 2 Healing and intervention
Module 3 Infection and health
Module 4 Pathology
Module 5 Blunt force
Module 6 Sharp force
Module 7 Projectile/Gunshot wound
Module 8 Fighting
Module 9 Other trauma or abuse
Module 10 Neglect/ Starvation/ Caging
Module 11 Taphonomy
Module 12 Case presentations

Text(Required):

Passalacque and Rainwater (eds) 2015, Skeletal Trauma Analysis: Case Studies in Context. Wiley-Blackwell

At a Glance