Be on the alert: Non-accidental injury in pets - how to recognise the clinical and pathological signs
Non-accidental injury is an uncommon but serious reason for the presentation of companion animals to veterinary practices but it is imperative for both human and animal welfare that when such a case is presented that it can be identified and referred to the relevant authorities. Discrepancies within the history either because the history varies between each account or from when told by different people connected to the incident should always raise some concerns particularly if the accounts given do not accord with the injuries that the animal is presented with. In general terms if the account just feels wrong then it probably is and the key question is why? Throughout the investigation, it is imperative that attention is given to maintaining the chain of evidence. This requires that the origin and history of any exhibit presented as evidence must be clearly shown to have followed an unbroken chain from its source to the court. In practice this requires that all samples are clearly labelled and accompanied by documentation to include time/date /place of movement, together with a signature to prove all stages of specimen handovers and processing.
- •To identify the clinical and pathological signs of non-accidental injury (NAI) in companion animals.
- •To recognise the key roles of a veterinary forensic clinician and veterinary forensic pathologist.
- •To understand the importance of maintaining the chain of evidence and demonstrate how this is done.