No first aid discussion could be complete without suggestions as to the removal of foreign bodies.
In The Mouth
Dogs sometimes overestimate their ability to manipulate certain bones. It is common to find bones caught in various positions: wedged across the roof of the mouth between the hack teeth; driven down into the gum beside a tooth; driven through the soft tissue below the lower jaw; stuck between two teeth; stuck on top of a molar tooth; or covering several teeth.
A bone from a lamb chop can sometimes become caught across ado’s mouth between the back teeth, with its sharp point sticking into the throat. The dog paws desperately at its mouth, and the owner often thinks that the end has surely come. Dogs sometimes chew two- or three-inch shank bones from lamb so that the rounded bone slips down over their teeth and they can’t close their mouths without forcing the sharp edges of the bone farther down against the gums. They become frantic.
Many other kinds of foreign bodies become wedged in the teeth or stuck in the mouth. Any dog may have accidents in its mouth. The mouth must be opened and the object pulled out. Whenever possible, it is wise to rush the pet to the veterinarians, who has the instruments to remove the obstructions without difficulty.
In The Stomach
If you do not actually see a dog cat a foreign object, you can never be sure that the dog does have it in its stomach. You may have seen the dog eat gravel or sand, or chew on an old doll. But circumstantial evidence is usually all that is necessary. If a small item the dog was playing with is miming and the dog begins to show evidence of stomach pain, it is time for action.
Suppose you suspect that your small dog has swallowed one of your child’s iron jacks, the little crisscross gadget the child picks up when bouncing a ball. The dog will probably show some evidence of stomach pain, and you should act at once. For a twenty-pound dog, mix about two ounces of peroxide with two ounces of water and pour it down the dog’s throat.
Use more if it is a large dog. If vomiting does not occur very soon repeat the dose. When it begins, lift the pup by the back legs so that its forepaws are touching the ground and its head is down. In almost every case the jack will be regurgitated the first time.
You may be surprised sometime to pick up your dog and hear stones rattling together in its stomach. Don’t be too astonished, for this is a fairly common occurrence and it shouldn’t worry you very much. Stones can usually he recovered with the peroxide treatment. Puppies with gravel impaction are in their stomachs can be relieved by the same means. Mineral oil should he gave fifteen minutes after the peroxide, to help move along the gravel that has entered the intestine.
Remedies of this sort for the removal of foreign bodies are properly classified as first aid. More difficult cases should be left to the veterinarian. With X rays he or she can locate bullets, needles, pins, spark plugs, and any of the hundreds of other odd and dangerous objects that dog shave been known to swallow.
In The Rectum
If your dog squats, strains, cries, and possibly exudes little blood from its anus, it is possible that it has a foreign body in the rectum. If a constipated mass is considered a foreign body, surely it has. Not infrequently the stoppage is caused by sharp bone splinters, which were not properly softened and digested in its stomach. Poultry, pork, and lamb bones are the most likely to cause such difficulties.Ince any movement of the sharp bones is extremely painful, the dog refrains from defecating. In time the fecal material piles up behind them and soon a solid, dry mass with sharp bones sticking out of it precludes all passage.
First aid consists of enemas to soften the mass, though they often are not sufficiently effective to allow passage of the material. Humane considerations indicate a prompt visit to the veterinarian, who will probably first soften the mass and then gently reach in with an instrument and crush it into small particles. Occasionally an oily enema is sufficiently lubricating to permit the stool to be passed without great difficulty or pain. In difficult cases the veterinarian may have to pull out the sharp pieces with instruments to avoid lacerating the rectal area. Needles are frequently found in the rectums of dogs. A thread hang-in from the anus is a good indication of the cause of the pain. If the needle is just inside and can be felt, an ingenious person with a small wire cutter, such as electricians use, can snip the needle in half and remove the halves separately. Generally, however, this job is best left to the veterinarian, who will use anesthesia and a speculum to see clearly what he or she is doing.
In The Skin
Foreign bodies in the skin or feet are usually splinters or bullets, although other objects, such as pitchfork tines, glass chips, and porcupine quills, are not as uncommon as most people think. Common sense dictates the quick removal of such objects, whenever possible, in order to relieve the dog. It also dictates the injection of an antiseptic into the wound. If a bullet has come to rest against a rib and it can beseem through the hole, you should for once do what your first impulse tells you: pull it out with the family tweezers and cleanse the wound.
Children often put elastic bands around the neck, leg, tail, ear, lower jaw, or even the penis of their pets. The hair covers the band and it goes unnoticed by adults until swelling and odor are observed. There is little that can be done by the owner after he or she has removed the band. If the skin gap is too wide, have the veterinarian suture it to prevent the formation of a hairless scar. Ropes and small chains may also cut deeply through the skin. Most people have seen at least one dog with a hairless band of skin around the neck – mute evidence that some negligent owner left a rope or chain on until it cut the dog’s neck. Having callously injured the dog, the owner failed even to have the gaping skin sutured.