Common Emergencies and Your Dog - Page 3

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Poisonous Plants
The list of plants potentially dangerous to dogs is long. Some of the more common plants that can be poisonous to dogs include:

Dieffenbachia, philodendron and caladium cause throat irritation and will burn the throat just as much coming up as going down. Do not induce vomiting and seek veterinary treatment.

English ivy, iris, amaryllis, daffodil and tulip (especially the bulbs) cause gastric irritation and sometimes central nervous system excitement followed by coma and, in severe cases, death. Induce vomiting and seek veterinary treatment.

Ingesting foxglove, lily of the valley, oleander and larkspur can be life threatening because the cardiovascular system is affected. Equally life threatening is the yew which affects the nervous system. If any of these are ingested, get the dog to a veterinarian immediately. Remember, you may be dealing with a life threatening emergency.

Electric Shock
Electric shock sometimes occurs when puppies or older dogs chew on electric cords or bite through live wires such as those in electric blankets.

Signs of shock are burning of the mouth and possibly lip folds. The dog may have violent muscle contractions with the inability to release the electrically charged object. The dog may have difficulty breathing and may become unconscious.

Caution: Never touch an animal that is touching an exposed electric wire. Turn off the current and then use a dry stick to get the dog away from the wire.

Keep the dog warm and take him to the veterinarian.

Outdoor Dangers
When a dog and a porcupine meet, the dog is usually the loser and may leave the encounter with quills in his face, neck and front legs. The dog generally rolls and paws at himself, exacerbating this painful situation. Get the dog on a leash as quickly as possible to control him. Veterinary care is recommended if the quills are to be removed without damaging the tissues and without excessive pain to the dog.

To help prevent this problem, restrain your dog immediately if he encounters a porcupine. Do not let your dog run free without supervision or without a leash (depending upon how well-trained your dog is) in areas known to be inhabited by porcupines.

Insect stings usually occur in the mouth or on the nose or feet. Signs of stings are scratching, licking, or rubbing the head on the ground; swelling of the head, face, tongue or limbs; presence of a stinger; or excessive salivation.

The site of a bee or wasp sting will be red and swollen and the stinger may still be in the dog's skin. The stinger should be carefully removed and cold compresses applied to the wound. A paste of baking soda and water will help relieve irritation caused by a bee sting. If a wasp sting is being treated, use vinegar or lemon juice. Severe cases may require veterinary treatment.

Snakebites present a danger in certain parts of the country .If your dog is bitten by a nonpoisonous snake; see your veterinarian about the appropriate treatment.

If the snake is poisonous, immediate veterinary treatment is essential. Call ahead to be certain a veterinarian will be ready to receive the dog and has access to the needed anti-venom. If possible, try to identify the most likely kind of snake.

For superficial wounds, clean with antiseptic. Watch the healing process to be certain no infection develops. If the wound is large and bleeding, apply a pressure bandage and get prompt veterinary attention.

After a walk in the woods or hunting, a dog's paw pads should be inspected for thorns or small stones lodged between the pads. These should be removed with tweezers and the area cleansed with an antiseptic.

During the winter, inspect the paw pads for cuts from ice and particles of ice or ice-melting chemicals lodged between the pads. The paws should be cleaned and any cuts caused by ice treated.

Eye and Ear Irritations
When a dog rubs and paws at his eyes, has a tightly closed eye, or a swollen eye, or spasms of the eyelid are evident, he may be suffering from an eye irritation or injury. Since the eyes are very delicate organs, any injury should receive prompt veterinary attention.

If a foreign body such as seeds, sawdust, or a particle of dirt is the obvious cause of the irritation, you may be able to remove it. Use the tip of a moistened cotton swab, clean handkerchief or cloth and be extremely gentle. Irrigate the eye with a mild eyewash. Avoid touching or wiping the eyeball. (Please see dog first aid supplies in our Pro Shop.)

Caution: Never attempt to remove an object adhering closely to the surface of the eye.

When in doubt about removing an object from a dog's eye or ear, don't. Take the dog to a veterinarian.

Foreign bodies inside the ear canal, wounds such as bites and barbed wire and insects inside the ear canal are among the cause of ear problems. However, the most common causes are bacteria. and fungal infections and parasites. Signs of ear disease include head shaking, scratching at the ears or neck, rubbing the ear along the floor, tilting the affected side down, tenderness around the ear when handled, unusual odor or discharge from the ear canal and swelling.

If a foreign body is visible, it may be removed gently. Other visible material may be removed with an ear swab or a cotton swab.

Caution: Foreign bodies and insects deep in the ear should be removed by a veterinarian.

A minor wound on the flap of the ear can lead to the loss of large amounts of blood as the result of continual head shaking. To control bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with clean gauze or cloth. Large ears may be wrapped against the head after bandaging.

If the wound is minor or if, for any reason, you cannot get the dog to a veterinarian, clip the hair, clean with a mild antiseptic and apply an antibiotic ointment. (Please see dog first aid supplies in our Pro Shop.)

Be Prepared
Saving time is crucial in any emergency. It is best to be prepared. Keep information concerning emergency contacts for your dog near your telephone and in your billfold. This information should include the telephone number and address of your veterinarian, the closest pet emergency clinic that has night and weekend hours, as well as telephone numbers for local poison control centers. If you should have to rush your dog to your veterinarian, telephone first to be certain he or she will be in his office to receive the dog.

In the case of poisoning or suspected poisoning, if possible, bring a sample of the poison to the veterinarian in its original container, or a portion of the ingested plant or berry, or any vomit.

If you cannot reach a veterinarian immediately, contact the nearest poison control center or the Animal Toxicology Hotline, 217-333-3611.
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