The principles of first aid that the dog owner needs to master are simple and relatively few, but they are of vital importance in handling emergencies. Whether an dog that has been injured is to recover quickly or slowly, whether it is to be completely restored or marked or scarred indeed, whether the dog is to survive at all often depends upon the treatment it gets immediately after it is hurt.
Any severe injury being hit by a car, burned, hurt in struggle or a fight or even severe fright may bring on shock. The dog usually seems to be prostrate in a semi-oblivious state, yet apparently anxious. The nervous system is in depression, sometimes so severe as to cause complete immobility. On the other hand, occasionally a dog may suffer the opposite effect so that it seems to be in a state of nervous excitement. The pulse is slow and weak, the breathing is sallow. Often, as the dog recovers, the pulse becomes too rapid and the temperature may drop well below normal.
First aid consists in covering the dog so its temperature will rise to normal. High artificial heat is not necessary if the dog is at home in familiar surroundings. Administer a stimulant, such as coffee, then le tit rest. Occasional fondling is often reassuring and helpful. Recovery may sometimes take an hour or more.
If a veterinarian is available a more effective treatment is the administration of steroids and fluids to increase the fluid volume in circulation. Too, a veterinarian may discover internal bleeding which often accompanies injury and which may have to be controlled by surgery.
Of all pets, dogs are most subject to heatstroke’s. English Bulldogs and fat dogs are the most frequent victims. Dogs with heavy coats of fine for suffer most, of course, and for their protection and comfort they should he clipped in the summer as a preventive measure.
The refreshing sensation of a breeze in hot weather is due to evaporation of moisture from our bodies and the consequent cooling of the surface of the body. The bodies of animals are cooled by the same process, which is aided by evaporation in the throat and mouth when the pet becomes overheated and pants.Dogs have few sweat glands in the skin compared with those of human sand horses, but they do have some. When an dog is sufficiently cooled by bodily evaporation, it stops panting.
In itself, panting is a normal method of reducing body temperature.It may sometimes be an indication of thirst. A hot, panting dog is obviously evaporating an abnormal amount of moisture from its body and needs to replenish the loss.
In a heatstroke, however, the panting is sharp and continuous. The dog seems to be “burning up,” its tongue turns purple, and it finds it difficult to catch its breath. You know the dog has been exposed to great heat, possibly to excitement. What should you do?
The evaporation of water reduces body temperature. Lay the dog on a flat sr-face and pour cold water over it until it is thoroughly soaked. Set up an electric fan a few feet away, turn its blast directly on the dog, and keep on adding water as it evaporates. Take the dog’s temperature occasionally. Usually the fever will drop in less than half an hour from abouti08° F to 101° F. When it has come down to normal or nearly so, dry the dog with a towel and keep it out of the heat.
If an electric fan is not available, a cold-water enema is advisable. If this is impossible, immersion in cold water is a satisfactory method of reducing the temperature quickly. A great many dog have been saved in this manner.
Dogs are frequently afflicted by heatstroke in cars. If this should happen, stop for water and lay your dog on the floor in front. As soon as you have the water, drive on with the ventilator open so that the draft will blow directly on your dog. Keep it wet, and before many mile sits temperature will have dropped to normal.
Anyone who takes a dog on a long trip in very hot weather should be aware of the danger of a heatstroke and be careful to avoid it. Carry Japan and water for the pet. The dog that is losing an unusual amount of water by evaporation needs to replace it by drinking frequently. If the dog has enough water, it is much 1.s likely to succumb to the heat.
The most common cause of accidents among pets is the automobile. So common is it that companies that insure dogs’ live soften exempt death by automobile from their policies. Dogs will dash across the street, for example, to get to another dog. Even dogs that are so well trained that they will wait for a car to pass will walk across the street behind it only to be struck by a car coming from the opposite direction. The brightest dog have not learned to look both ways, to anticipate so far into the future.
When a pet is struck by an automobile, you must first restrain it and then treat it for shock. Look at its gums. If they are pale it may be an indication of internal bleeding or shock. If its gums appear gray or white, it has probably suffered an internal injury and is bleeding internally. Roll up long strips of bandage an old sheet may be torn in strips for this purpose. Have an assistant stretch the pet out and hold the front and hind legs. Then wrap the bandage around its body tightly, Gina corset fashion. Keep on wrapping until you have made a good firm support. Be sure that the bandage will not pull together in a narrow roll around the dog’s abdomen when it moves. The bandage must forma long tube which holds the dog’s abdominal organs relatively immobile, so that a clot can form and remain in place. Without this firmness and pressure, the organs can move freely and disturb the blood clot. Do all you can to keep the dog quiet. The veterinarian will administer drugs and may decide upon surgery or a transfusion. Whatever you do, move an dog gently after an accident if there are indications of internal bleeding. It can bleed to death very quickly. It may be saved if you keep it quiet and get veterinary help in time.
If a dog does bleed internally, what becomes of the blood that escapes into the abdomen? A large percent of the red blood cells reabsorbed hack into the circulation. A clot also forms at the injury site. This is composed of red and white cells, plasma, and fibrinogen, which causes coagulation. As it forms, the clot squeezes out fluid or serum. This serum can be, and is, soaked up by the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomens and covering of the organs). Obviously the serum gets back into the circulation and thus helps to increase the blood volume.Many of the red cells which transport oxygen through the body are in the clot. This clot does not persist permanently as a liver like lump. Instead, a process called lyses occurs. The cells simply dissolve into the fluid in the abdomen. Their covering disintegrates and releases the contents. The fluid is now circulated, but only a small amount is utilized by the body; most of it, including the red pigment, is passed out of the body through the urine as waste.
When you see your weak but mending dog urinating what appears to be blood, don’t presume it is passing blood from its kidney sand bladder; this is probably blood-colored matter. Indeed, anticipate this happening. This fact is sometimes used as a diagnostic means of demonstrating internal hemorrhage that occurred several days before the red color is seen.
The cry of “mad dog” is no longer heard in America as it used to be, or as history tells is it was in Europe. Nevertheless, it does occur. A dog that manifests any symptoms of rabies is suspect.
For the suspected rabid dog, isolation must be provided. Shut it in Hayward or room and call your veterinarian immediately. Keep people and dog away from it. Your veterinarians and the health authorities will diagnose its condition. Either the local authorities or veterinarian will provide isolation until the diagnosis is clearly established. If a dog is infected, the local authorities will determine its disposition. Frequently they prefer to let the disease progress until Negro bodies have developed in the brain at which time a positive diagnosis can be made.
Any pet that has been bitten by a rabid dog should be qua ran-tined. Since a high proportion of all dog perhaps 75 percent of all unvaccinated dogs, for example – are susceptible to rabies, no other course is safe. The period of isolation is long. An exposed dog must be confined for six months. Will it pay to maintain the dog so long at costly boarding fee? Will you ever have complete confidence in it? Rabies is such a horrible disease that it is advisable that all rabid dog and most dog bitten by a rabid dog he destroyed.Needless to say, if a human is bitten, call a doctor immediately. The only physician is qualified to decide on the treatment or prophylaxis for the humans involved.
Dogs hustling through barbed-wire fences, stepping on broken bottles, scratching in ash piles, and stepping on concealed metal scraps come home gashed, bleeding, and torn. They seldom bleed to death.
Most of the cuts that occur on dog skins are triangular tears or clean, straight cuts. In either case only a limited kind of first aid should be administered. In dog saliva, there is an enzyme that combats bacteria. The surface of an dog’s tongue is made up of small, tough scales so strong that it can wear flesh away if it wants to. There is no better way of cleaning a cut than allowing the dog to lick it. It will lick away all dead flesh or debris and kill germs as it does so. Eventually, it will heal its own wounds.
First aid consists not of strapping the cut together with adhesive tape, nor of binding up the wound, unless it is bleeding badly, but fallowing the dog to clean its wounds, then having the veterinarian treat them. Though it may not be an emergency, let the veterinarian advise the proper treatment. He or she may cut away any dead edges on the flap and suture the wound in place, so that when it has healed no ugly scar will remain.
There are cuts that dogs cannot reach to lick, however. In long-haired dogs these may be covered with hair, which should be trimmed off about the area. Or they may be on areas of the body, such as the neck, head, face, and shoulders, which the dog cannot reach. In these eases, clean the cuts yourself (hydrogen’s peroxide is excellent for this purpose) and take the dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Cuts in the feet usually cause profuse bleeding, since this is a vascular area. A cut of this sort should always be examined to see if a foreign object has remained in it. After the examination, it is necessary to stop the bleeding. A plug of cotton pressed against the opening and a pressure bandage that holds it there will quickly check the bleeding. If serious hemorrhage is observed, apply a tourniquet immediately above or below the joint above it. It must be loosened and reapplied every ten minutes. (On the trip to the veterinarian take along some cloths to absorb blood, which may stain your clothes or the car.)
The most dangerous cuts arc those made by filthy objects. These cuts may heal or mat over with hair that becomes part of a scab, and tetanus (lockjaw) germs may infect these wounds. Since they can develop only in a wound that the air cannot reach, cuts or punctures of this sort must be opened, cleansed, and kept open until they have been disinfected and sutured. There arc some wounds that are best leftist for a considerable length of time. These most be flushed daily while they heal from the bottom out, and they are sutured to avoid unsightly scars only when the healing process has reached the surface layers of the skin.
Animal bites and venomous snake or insect bites need very different treatment, so we shall consider them separately.It is sometimes important to determine the kind of bite to be treated. The bite of a dog or cat, or even that of a rat, can usually be distinguished by the number of teeth marks. When a large dog attack san dog, if one tooth mark is found, three others can nearly always be located. The distance between these skin punctures, as well as their size, gives some idea of the size of the attacker. Little dogs sometimes open their mouths wide and leave impressions of their upper and lower canine teeth perhaps four inches apart, but the distance between the two upper canines will still be small. Large dogs may happen to get hold with only a small nip, but the distance between their upper canines may be as much as three inches in sonic breeds.
Because of their size and strength, large dogs inflict greater damage than do small dogs. Ordinarily a dog attacking another dog does not simply attack, hold on, and squeeze; it shakes its head and thus drive sits fangs deeper. These teeth wounds can be cleaned by shaving the hair away and filling them with antiseptic from an inserted medicine dropper. The attacker may have freed the skin from the underlying connective tissue over a large area. In such cases your veterinarian will flush this area clean and bind it down and perhaps apply a drain for few days.
Cat bites on dogs often become seriously infected. The skin should not be allowed to heal quickly over them. First aid often consists in hurrying the dog to the doctor. If infected, the punctures become large abscesses which burst, carrying with them large areas of skin which has been killed in the process of abscess formation. A bite that has been allowed to abscess takes much longer to heal than does properly treated bite, and the new skin which eventually covers the open area will scar and never have hair.
First aid in snake bites is extremely important. When you suspect a rapidly increasing swelling to be the result of a rattlesnake, copperhead, or water moccasin bite, there is usually sufficient time to reach a veterinarian. If there is not time, try your family doctor. Many physicians have saved dog lives in emergencies. The great majority of venomous snake bites in dogs occur on the head. The curious dog ventures too near the reptile and is not aware of the speed of a striking snake. In order for the snake to deliver much venom it is necessary for it to strike and bury its fangs deeply enough for pressure to be exerted on the venom glands. Since much of a dog’s head has mostly skin over the bone of the head, the snake cannot bury its fangs deeply enough to deliver very much poison. Nevertheless, even a small amount causes an alarming reaction in the swelling, which is usually extreme enough to double the dog’s head size, close the eyes, and trip lethe thickness of the lips.
Many veterinarians in venomous snake areas keep antivenin on hand and, with supportive treatments of antibiotics and intravenous fluids, are able to save most dog bitten by snakes.
If the bite is on an extremity the swelling may be no extensive that the skin acts as a tourniquet, resulting in gangrene. It then is sometimes necessary to incise the skin longitudinally to permit circulation.The time to act with a dog bitten by a snake is immediate! And if the dog is taken to a veterinarian within two hours the recovery rate is excellent. Unfortunately a venomous snake bite is not always observed by the owner; however, you may surmise that if your dog arrives wi than area that is swelling even as you watch it, it may well he a snake bite.
There are many spiders capable of poisoning by their bites. The black widow is perhaps best known. Most venomous spider bites are never diagnosed since the actual bite is virtually never observed by the owner. The lips, nose, and even the tongue are the most common sites for these bites but the actual spot may be impossible to locate. Some cause a sudden intense itching which subsides in six to twelve hours as mysteriously as it started. The itching may be so intense that the dog is taken to a veterinarian who may, unaware of the cause, treat the symptoms with rapid results.
It is not uncommon to hear of pets being stung to death by bees or yellow jackets. Dogs will frequently swell from single stings but more often come home drooling, their mouths partly open from the pain and swelling occasioned by snapping up a stinging insect – wasp, hornet, or bee.
The painful stings, the poisonous effect of the toxin, and, worst of all, the sensitivity to the foreign material developed by having been previously stung may produce a severe reaction.
Veterinary treatment gives prompt relief. Home treatment with anti-histamines helps but is not as effective as prescription preparations given by injections.