FIRST AID TIPS FOR DOGS
Following up on the article Routine Examination of The Dog (7/3/12), l thought that some general first aid points may be of assistance.
If the dog is injured at any time, you should make sure that it is safe for you to handle as a dog in pain will bite. Make a make shift muzzle that will go around the dogs nose & tie around the head.(lead,belt,gauze bandage etc).
Observe your dog as often as possible & look for any abnormal behavior. The mouth area for example, the dog may be rubbing it with the paw, frothing at the mouth, moving the mouth or jaw in an exaggerated manner. This maybe caused by an object stuck in the roof of the mouth or teeth. This should be carefully removed. Wash the dogs mouth out & check for any puncture wounds. If no deep lacerations this should heel within 24 hours. The nose is also prone to getting things stuck in it but if it’s not easy to remove or cannot be seen clearly the dog may need to be sedated to remove it safely.
Ears; Signs to look for are shaking of the head, moving with the head to one side, one ear sitting differently to the other. Dogs are prone to ear mites, build up of dirt, or grass seeds etc getting in. If it is easy remove what can be seen. Wash the dogs ears out with warm soapy water using cotton balls, this will help to relieve the pressure in the ear. Hydrogen peroxide is safe & very good to put into the ear & let the dog then shake it’s head to help dislodge the remaining dirt particles.
Eyes; Sand, dirt, grass seeds etc. can all lodge in the dog’s eyes, causing a lot of irritation and distress. Excessive production of tears can occur. Flush the eye or eyes with a suitable solution, saline, visine, refresh or similar as this may clear the irritation. l have used preservative free Lacri-Lube eye ointment for irritated eyes. The tanin from cold wet tea bags is also good to put into the eyes.
Pads & Nails; Regular checks of the pads & nails are of the up most importance as this can lead to other problems. The changing of surfaces has the effect of making the pads smooth, rough, dry, cracked or cut. For dry, rough or cracked pads any hand creams are good & heel balm is very effective as are vitamin E creams. Just apply sparingly to the pads. For any cuts to the pads wash in salty warm water & then apply a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide or permanganate of potash ( condies crystals ) to stop any infection. Also check the nail bed of the nail to make sure there is no dirt in it as this can become infected & very sore, treat the same as the pads.
Lameness; This symptom can be caused by a number of things. A dislocation from a joint when a bone slips out of place. Symptoms can be loss of function of the limb, swelling around the joint or limited movement. It may be a small fracture or even a break & the symptoms similar to a dislocation but the pain more severe & the area painful to touch with more swelling. It may also be a sprain or torn muscle or bruising of a bone. With any of these symptoms the best thing to do is to calm the dog down. If you have a general idea of where the pain is generating from the best thing to do is to apply ice packs to that area. Wet the hair & apply the cold pack or massage ice into the area until you have made it numb. This assists in the reduction of the swelling & pain.
Anal Glands; These two small organs are situated about 10 to 12mm inside the anal opening. These glands should normally empty each time the dog defecates. Sometimes however, if the dog has had very soft faeces for some time & there has been no need to squeeze these anal glands in the normal action of defecating, these glands become overfull & will rupture & empty through an abscess at the side of the anus. If the dog is on a correct diet this should not occur. (see previous newsletters). This pus area can be squeezed & excess fluid removed. With any material or cloth grab hold of the back of the glands between fingers & thumb, then gently squeeze into the material. Do this until no more is coming out then bin the cloth. (it’s foul). Symptoms can be skating the bottom along the ground, biting around the root of the tail or any sign of irritation within that area of the anus. Sometimes our dogs eat rags or their bedding & can be seen hanging from the anus, once again grab hold of the material & slowly pull it out. If it won’t dislodge then seek other medical help.
Constipation or Diarrhoea; With constipation treat it accordingly. Use a normal purgative & once again check your dogs diet. Diarrhoea can also be about the diet or that the dog has picked up a bug (similar to us). First we can use gasrto-stop from the chemist & fast the dog for 24 hours. There maybe other reasons for the diarrhoea, worms, gastroenteritis but for 24 to 36 hours it is safe to treat the dog before you seek further advice.
Heat Exhaustion; The main cause of heat exhaustion is excessive work in high temperatures, which can turn into acidosis. Being exposed to the hot sun without shade available & hot poorly ventilated kennel areas. Being left in cars is the worst, even with windows down, dogs can be extremely stressed or even found dead as the dogs heat stress occurs 7 times quicker than we do. Excessive panting & salivating, loss of energy, staggering gait, rapid pulse & a very high temperature are all signs of heat exhaustion. Acidosis is the next step after heat exhaustion when the muscles of the dog become very sore to touch or that the dog is getting severe cramps as well. With heat exhaustion take the dog to a cool, airy position & apply cold water to the entire body. Let the dog drink small quantities of water with honey, glucose or electrolytes. Don’t let the water on the dog stay on it as it can act as an insulator, causing more heat stress, so brush it off against the lie of the hair, if the dog can shake it off great.
Bleeding; A dog carries about 72 to 77 mls per kg of blood. This is approximately 7% of the dogs total body weight.
External Bleeding; This is usually caused by a wound to the surface of the dogs body & may be classed as ….Capillary- which may ooze from the wound, Venous- Which is dark red in colour, & flows from the wound in a steady stream, Arterial- Which is bright red in colour & spurts from the wound in time with the heart beat.
Internal Bleeding; Internal bleeding may be caused by disease or injury to such organs as the liver, spleen, stomach or bowels. To control bleeding there are two recommended methods. Direct pressure given by the fingers onto the bleeding point. Make sure you don’t push any foreign object which may be causing the bleeding, any further in. A pad or gauze can be applied & then bandaged firmly in position. Should you need to apply a second pad, do not remove the first pad, but apply the second over the top.
Arterial Bleeding; When an Artery bleeds, press against the bone to try & prevent the flow of blood, apply pressure as close to the wound as possible & on the side closet to the heart. Arteries are- Near the inside foreleg, about 40mm above the elbow. (Bracial)- Inside the thigh (femoral)- On the underside of the tail (Coccygeal). A constrictive bandage will stop the bleeding by the main arteries supplying blood to the wound. Only use this bandage when other methods are impractical. All cases of hemorrhage should be seen by a veterinarian.
All the First Aid Hints given here are for Initial Aid, and are, to the best of my knowledge, accurate, but also veterinarian advice should be consulted where necessary.