To investigate the incidence and patterns of gunshot wound trauma in patients that were presented to an urban level 1 veterinary trauma center before and after the start of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
24 dogs and 1 cat.
Medical records were retrospectively reviewed for patients presenting with gunshot wound injuries between March 2018 and February 2020 (prepandemic) and March 2020 and February 2022 (pandemic). The total number of patients presented to the hospital during those same time periods was also obtained. Patient data were collected including species, breed, age, sex, location of injury, trauma score (if available), surgical procedures performed, length of hospitalization, and case outcome.
In the prepandemic period, 9 patients were presented for gunshot wound injuries, whereas there were 16 patients evaluated for gunshot wound injuries during the pandemic period. The total number of gunshot wound cases increased by 77.8% in the pandemic period. The total number of hospital patient visits, however, decreased by 12.2% in the pandemic period as compared to the prepandemic period: 65,168 versus 74,262 patients, respectively. Injuries were predominantly localized to the extremities (55%) in the prepandemic period versus maxillofacial (56%) in the pandemic period.
There was an increased number of gunshot wound injuries in companion animals presenting to an urban level 1 veterinary trauma center during the COVID-19 pandemic. A shift in the predominant location of injury was also identified during the pandemic period. This study highlights the ramifications that societal dynamics can have on animal health and welfare.