Common Emergencies and Your Dog - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Objects in the Mouth
When a dog paws at his mouth, chokes, shakes his head and seems agitated, the dog may have something in his mouth. However, in areas where rabies is prevalent, these signs could indicate a rabid animal.

Only if the dog belongs to you, should you make any attempt to remove the object. Looking inside his mouth may not be easy. You may have to straddle him and hold his neck between your legs to restrain him. If the object is still in the mouth, reach in and remove it. Putting a broom handle or a stick of comparable size in the dog's mouth helps prevent the dog from closing his jaws while you are trying to help him.

Never remove string or thread to which a needle could be attached. These kinds of obstructions should be removed by a veterinarian. If a linear object such as string or thread is lodged with one end in the mouth and the other end in the stomach and intestines, the material can cut through the walls of the intestines.

An object deeply imbedded in the mouth should also be removed by your veterinarian.

Many kinds of poisons can kill dogs. Sometimes poisoning results from consuming a toxic substance. Unless the dog has been seen consuming the substance, it may be difficult to diagnose the situation. Prevention is the best means of protecting your dog. The following information is by no means complete, but it lists some of the more common poisons. It is presented as an alert to keep toxic substances away from dogs and to help you assess a situation in which you think your dog may have been poisoned.

A dog may be the victim of accidental poisoning if products found around the home are not stored in tightly closed containers, empty containers are not properly disposed of and any spills are cleaned up promptly. Here are examples of potentially toxic products found in the home:

Cleaning and household supplies: ammonia, bleach, disinfectants, drain cleaner (drinking from the toilet bowl may expose the dog to any of these), cleaning fluids, soaps and detergents, mothballs and matches.

Garage items: gasoline, kerosene, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, motor transmission oil and anti-freeze.

Agricultural products: insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, snail or slug bait, worm and mollusk toxicants, and plant growth hormones.

Workshop supplies: paints, paint thinners and removers, wood preservatives and mineral spirits.

Medicines: aspirin, acetaminophen, boric acid, diet pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, laxatives and rubbing alcohol.

Cosmetics: deodorants, hair coloring, nail polish and remover, permanent wave lotion and suntan lotion.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Ingesting chocolate in large amounts can be fatal to a dog. When you want to reward your dog, choose a treat formulated for dogs such as Purina@ Biscuits or Purina@ Bonz@ dog snacks.

Other hazards include ingesting scrapings from lead-based paints, eating contaminated food, or drinking chemically treated water from toilet bowls.

Symptoms of poison by ingestion include pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or collapse. Burns around the mouth, lips and tongue indicate that an acid or alkali such as drain cleaner or paint thinner has been swallowed. An abnormal odor to the dog's breath, coughing or bloody vomit can occur when a petroleum product such as kerosene or gasoline has been swallowed. If the poison is an acid, alkali or petroleum product, do not induce vomiting.

If the dog has swallowed medicine, cosmetics or other non-corrosives, an emetic such as syrup of ipecac can be used to induce vomiting.

Inhalation of several gases can cause toxicity. They include ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fumes from heating or cooking gas. A dog suffering from poisoning by inhalation can exhibit weakness and dizziness, breathing difficulties, and bright red lips and tongue (indicating carbon monoxide poisoning). Prompt veterinary treatment is essential. Remember that exposure of the dog to toxic fumes may also mean human exposure. Use extreme caution in dealing with the situation.
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