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A Review of Firearms, Projectile and Gunshot Wounds in Animals
MZ Felsmann, M Felsmann1, J Szarek and I Babińska*
Department of Pathophysiology, Forensic Veterinary Medicine and Administration, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Michała Oczapowskiego St. 13, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland; 1Forensic of Nursing Theory, Chair of Nursing and Obstetrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, L. Rydygier Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Techników St. 3, 85-801 Bydgoszcz, Poland
*Corresponding author:


Uses of small firearms inflict gunshot wounds posing a risk to the health and life of animals. Different aspects associated with the evaluation and treatment of gunshot wounds, therefore, must be known by veterinarians. Due to the fact that gunshot wounds are received by soldiers on battlefields, saving the injured and treatment of such wounds is usually in the realm of battlefield medicine (field surgery). Despite, extensive experience gained during military conflicts and numerous criminal events, the investigation of factors affecting gunshot wounds have recently aroused much controversy. It has been attempted to elucidate and evaluate the complexity of bullet-organism (human or animal) interactions based on numerous experiments involving shooting materials that mimic live tissues and organs, human cadavers or live animals. Even though a series of these experiments has confirmed the complexity and unpredictability of each shot, many publications, as indicated in the present review, contained numerous errors and distortions which could not be confirmed in reliable experiments and in vivo observations. These errors are often copied unquestioningly by authors of other publications. As veterinarians are forced to gain knowledge on gunshot wounds mainly from human medicine literature, this review attempted to compile the major subjects on gunshot wounds in animals.

Key words: Ammunition, Arm, Bullet wounds, Treatment of the bullet wounds


ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)