Damage to tissue may be caused accidentally or deliberately. Injuries include bone fractures, damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, or internal or external damage to organs, and may involve bleeding or bruising. Injuries can cause death or necessitate the destruction of an animal, or they may lead to disease if wounds become infected.
Injuries in domestic animals occur most frequently with dogs, cats and horses which are more likely to come into contact with traffic, or be used for activities which incur more risk than for animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry, or for caged domestic pets. Horses may sustain injuries from hunting, show jumping or other activities of this kind, or from traffic accidents. Dogs and cats may be injured from road accidents or from fighting one another. Rabies is spread in dogs by biting; and cattle may be injured by others horning them, by breaking through fences or falling into ditches; sheep may also be susceptible to the latter two causes. Injuries may be slight, such as punctures from barbed wire or thorns, but may provide the opportunity for infection from diseases such as blackleg. Domestic animals may be injured through cruelty, beating or mishandling, or may be the subject of or involved in cruel sports such as bullfighting, where horses are often very badly injured by the bull, as well as the bull being injured with darts long before it is killed. Wild animals may be injured by one another either in fights over territory or during mating or for leadership of a herd or group, or by predators. They may be caught in traps, shot without being killed, or may be injured while being hunted, either by falling or by dogs.