Osteology is essentially the study of bones through a scientific process. Canine osteology is the study of canine or dog bones. Students in veterinary school will note that they hear the term often when it comes to anatomy classes because the two concepts are closely related. By studying the bones in a dog’s body, veterinarians can learn to identify different diseases and hopefully find cures for those conditions.
Canine osteology looks at more than just bones. This type of study was actually identified early on by archaeologists and anthropologists who studied bones to learn more about the person and their lifestyle. In terms of human anatomy, this has helped in the past by letting criminalists identify the body and find a cause of death. The same thing applies in terms of dogs and other animals.
Take for example the skeleton of a dog found dumped in a trash can. The veterinarian can identify portions of the body and find things relating to the dog’s death. They may discover the dog was malnourished, beaten in the past by its owner, or if he suffered from a disease. This all helps identify the cause of death and possibly find the person responsible.
Veterinarians who learn about canine osteology learn concepts relating to the bones and teeth of the animal. They focus on diseases and pathology, as well as ossification. They also learn how to work with the bones to discover the dog’s age and sex. These individuals learn what causes the bones and teeth to break down over time and what factors cause the bones and teeth to soften.
A good part of canine osteology relies on the analysis of the bones. The veterinarian will begin by taking an inventory of the bones and teeth, identifying those that are found and any that might be missing. This helps the individual identify the dog’s age and sex. They’ll then work on identifying any unusual patterns or markings in the bones such as broken bones. The end result of this is that the veterinarian is able to identify the cause of death. They’ll also look for any markings that help identify the animal, which helps find the owner.
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has created a helpful Canine Anatomy Interactive guide. This contains everything an individual needs to know about the canine body and serves as an online reference book. The Canine Anatomy Quiz is also helpful, especially to those who want to test their knowledge before taking a quiz or test offered by their professor.
There are more resources that students can use such as Canine Osteology, Encyclopedia of Canine Veterinary Medical Information, and Canine Illnesses and Diseases. Other helpful resources are Canine Health, Dog Health Links, and A Guide to Recognizing Bone Diseases.