Skeletal Trauma Analysis in Animals


Elective Course
Credits: 3

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 ARE 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, several supplementary veterinary based journal articles will be made available for reading and discussion that will help students compare and contrast human and non-human trauma analysis.


  • 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