Animal Abuse and Unlawful Killing book cover

Animal Abuse and Unlawful Killing

Forensic veterinary pathology

This book guides veterinarians and lawyers through the diverse and complex fields of alleged cruelty to, and unlawful killing of, companion animals, farm livestock and wildlife. It draws together current knowledge on how to approach, investigate and report forensic cases.

Hardbound, 124 Pages

Published: June 2008

Imprint: Saunders

ISBN: 978-0-7020-2878-6


  • Introduction

    Definition of forensic veterinary pathology – a developing specialty.

    The relationship between the forensic veterinary pathologist and the courts.
    Why do it?

    The forensic examination and report

    The locus: types of loci, value of attending at the locus, notes and photographs * The forensic necropsy procedure: standard procedures, avoidance of pitfalls, natural disease
    Interpretation of findings *Report writing: plain English, formatting and numbering

    Estimation of the post mortem interval * Rigor mortis, post mortem changes including adipocere and mummification, immunohistochemistry, entomology and environmental clues

    Wounds and other injuries

    Superficial injuries: skin wounds including abrasions, incisions, lacerations and stab wounds * Bruising and haemorrhage * Internal injuries: blunt trauma; penetrating wounds; head; thoracic; abdominal; pelvic and limb injuries

    Non- accidental injury

    Terminology and definitions * Features that raise suspicion * Links to violence in the home * Limitations on application of current knowledge to non-companion animals
    Asphyxia and Drowning

    Definition of asphyxia * General features * Strangulation, Choking & Smothering, Suffocation & Crush Asphyxia, Poisonous gases, Smoke inhalation, Drowning


    Types of weapons and ammunition: air rifles, shotguns, rifles and crossbows * Firearm injuries: air rifle pellets wounds, shotgun pellet wounds, high and low velocity rifle bullet wounds

    Traps and snares

    Illegal use of traps and snares * Injuries caused by spring traps * Injuries caused by snares * Deaths in cage traps

    Dog bite injuries

    Injuries to hares killed during hare coursing * Injuries to roe deer seized by dogs * Injuries to domestic livestock following stock worrying


    Necropsy features raising suspicion of chemical poisoning

    Thermal injuries

    Burns and scalds * Pathologic features in cats fatally injured in microwave ovens and tumble dryers * Electrocution * Heatstroke *Frostbite


    Dogs, cats, other domestic pets and livestock: deprivation of the normal necessities of life * Lack of veterinary treatment: chronic lameness in livestock; neglected injuries; neoplasia; diarrhoea; loss of weight * Sexual abuse * Terminology * Types of injuries in companion animals * Objects used * Estimation of the age of lesions * Bruises, healing wounds, fractures, peri-osteal responses * Use of histopathology in forensic cases * Confirmation or exclusion of specific changes or lesions.
    Smoke inhalation


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