Pet abuse a warning for family abuse

Different forces on bones can tell a story—an animal’s skeleton keeps a distinct record that indicates the force applied to bones from past injuries, breaks or fractures.

Lydia Tong attending a puppy in Vanuatu. Credit: Kris Radder
Lydia Tong attending a puppy in Vanuatu. Credit: Kris Radder

University of Sydney vet Lydia Tong is using those differences to teach vets how to tell the difference between bone fractures caused by accidents and those caused by abuse. Her fracture identification tools are giving vets the added confidence to identify cases of violence against pets and could serve as a warning of domestic violence.

“Around 70 per cent of women escaping violent homes also report pet abuse,” says Lydia. “So vets are often the first to see evidence of abuse in a family, when they treat injured pets.”

For more information: Fresh Science, freshscience.org.au/stories

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