Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

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Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#1  Postby Pouncequick » Mar 12, 2021 2:50 pm

Hi there everybody, it's been a while... ;)
And of course I'm coming back with a weird question.

I've researched the stages of death in humans. According to wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stages_of_death - we have rigor mortis from 2-4 hours after death until about 48 hours with a peak at 12 hours.
Afterwards, putrefaction starts (with all the great side effects) around 2-3 days after death.

My story is about a dead dog in an inner city apartment, the owners put him in a suitcase and drive to the countryside to bury him there. The dog is a Golden Retriever - or somewhere that size - pretty old, so not too heavy anymore (12 years?), and it's summer (for now).

Question: Is the timeline of rigor mortis / putrefaction in a dog this size the same as in humans?

I understand that hot weather will speed this up (especially if you're driven around in the trunk of a car), but that's the part I can change more easily than the general timeline. ;-)

Any vets, please? :shifty:
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#2  Postby Spearthrower » Mar 12, 2021 11:19 pm

You realize the specificity of the example offered raises a whole host of questions?
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#3  Postby The_Piper » Mar 13, 2021 3:48 am

Poor Oggie.
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#4  Postby Pouncequick » Mar 13, 2021 7:38 am

I understand it sounds weird and creepy, but I promise it's for a short story!
This magazine: https://www.thefirstline.com/
To be handed in in August: "What should we do with the body."

I find this idea intriguing but I don't want to go down the murder lane or even the people lane (I figure most writers will).
Hence the dog that died from old age, it does happen (even though I guess all of us secretly hope their pets are immortal).
I need there to be enough "problems" to carry the story: Large dog, long-ish time span, hot summer, no clue what to do... you get the idea.

The question is still the same: Is the timeline after death the same in animals (like a Golden Retriever) and in humans? If not, do you have an idea what it is?

Thanks for answering!
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#5  Postby Spearthrower » Mar 13, 2021 8:47 am

Pouncequick wrote:I understand it sounds weird and creepy, but I promise it's for a short story!


Or a likely story! :think: :naughty2:


Pouncequick wrote:Question: Is the timeline of rigor mortis / putrefaction in a dog this size the same as in humans?


Roughly, yes. The same chemical processes are happening in the bodies of deceased mammals, and much of the timeline of events in decomposition is relevant to size and volume of a corpse rather than anything specific to the biochemistry of the dog.


Pouncequick wrote:
I need there to be enough "problems" to carry the story: Large dog, long-ish time span, hot summer, no clue what to do... you get the idea.


If it's tonally a dark comedy, then I think you could have all manner of obstacles to confound the otherwise simple motive. Early on a heatwave & aircon breaking down would definitely up the ante.
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#6  Postby Pouncequick » Mar 13, 2021 9:24 am

Thanks for your help! :thumbup:

Spearthrower wrote:
Or a likely story! :think: :naughty2:

Nope. :crazy: catlady in the sticks here. Our departed herd sleeps under the rosebushes...

Spearthrower wrote:If it's tonally a dark comedy, then I think you could have all manner of obstacles to confound the otherwise simple motive. Early on a heatwave & aircon breaking down would definitely up the ante.

I wasn't thinking comedy, but the way I wanted to this to go, that may work even better... :think:
But I'm not going to tell anything more on here - I'm already shocked how you know about the dead aircon... :eh:

Thanks again for your help - both factional and fictional! :dance:
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#7  Postby Fenrir » Mar 13, 2021 9:31 am

Religion: it only fails when you test it.-Thunderf00t.
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#8  Postby Pouncequick » Mar 13, 2021 10:32 am

Cool! Amazing how many flies there can be... The croc is holding up pretty well though.
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Re: Rigor Mortis / Putrefaction in Animals

#9  Postby Spearthrower » Mar 14, 2021 11:29 am

Pouncequick wrote:But I'm not going to tell anything more on here - I'm already shocked how you know about the dead aircon... :eh:



My job is making stories, so I'm attuned to all the potential fun and games a premise sets up.
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