SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS
Recognizing symptoms of
illness, in many instances, is crucial to providing successful treatment.
Some common symptoms which indicate illness include:
listlessness- fever (above
102.5°F)- loss of appetite- vomiting- diarrhea- cough- excessive thirst-
restlessness- discharge from eyes or nose- difficulty breathing- frequent
urination- lameness- swelling- loss of fur- abdominal distention
Emergencies that may require
first aid are the result of automobile accidents, animal or snake bites,
cuts, burns, electric shock, heat stroke, poisoning, or insect bites and
stings. First aid measures serve only to keep the dog alive and relieve pain
for the amount of time it takes to get to a veterinarian. When providing
first aid, the most serious threats to life are treated first. If the dog is
bleeding profusely, an attempt should be made to stop the bleeding before
doing anything else. Assuming that a dog has been badly injured, these steps
might be taken:
1. Call your veterinarian
2. Try to stop any
hemorrhage. Severe bleeding must receive immediate attention no matter
what other injuries are present.
3. Be sure that the dog can
breathe freely. Its nose and mouth must be clear to allow air passage.
4. Avoid changing the dog's
position when it must be moved. Young (small) dogs should be carried in a
person's arms or in a box or basket. Adult (large) dogs should be carried
by two people using a blanket as a stretcher. When injured dogs are
hysterical or semi-conscious, they should be muzzled before being moved.
5. Keep the dog's body warm
but not hot.
6. Cover any superficial
wound with a clean bandage.
7. Give no food or liquids
in case emergency surgery is required.
Serious bleeding is usually
associated with trauma. When external and severe, the bleeding is often best
controlled by applying a pressure bandage directly over the bleeding site.
If this is not successful in controlling arterial bleeding (loss of bright
red, spurting blood) from a leg wound, a tourniquet may be needed. Elastic
rubber bands or bandages are suitable for tourniquets. They should be
applied several inches above the bleeding site with only enough pressure to
stop the bleeding. The tourniquet should be slowly released about every 15
minutes and then reapplied until the bleeding can be controlled with a
pressure bandage. When there is evidence of internal hemorrhage (pale mucous
membranes and collapse), the dog should be kept quiet and covered with a
light blanket or towel.
This condition is basically a
failure in blood circulation. It can result from loss of blood, severe pain,
severe physical and emotional stress, extensive tissue damage, or protracted
vomiting. Shock is often a consequence of automobile injury. When suffering
from shock, a dog may appear to be unconscious or semiconscious. Its mucous
membranes will be pale and cold, its breathing will be rapid and shallow,
its pulse will be feeble and rapid, and its body temperature will be
subnormal. A dog in shock is in immediate danger of dying. A dog that
appears to be in shock should be kept as quiet as possible. It should be
positioned with its head slightly lower than the body, and covered with a
light blanket or towel.
The signs of fracture include
pain and swelling at the fracture site. The dog will usually be unwilling to
use a fractured leg for support. With vertebral fractures, the dog may be
paralyzed. When a leg bone is fractured, the leg may appear to be shortened
and deformed. Every effort should be made to move the dog carefully and in
such a way that its body is kept as immobile as possible.
Open wounds in which the skin
is penetrated include:
1. Those made by sharp
objects, such as glass or a knife. These wounds bleed freely.
2. Those resulting from bites
of other animals or tears by such objects as barbed wire. These wounds are
irregular in shape and also bleed freely.
3. Puncture wounds caused by
sharp-pointed objects, such as thorns, nails, bullets, fish hooks. External
bleeding from these wounds may or may not be considerable.
When dogs suffer open wounds
that are recently (10-30 minutes) inflicted, cold compresses and a pressure
bandage can be applied to control bleeding and swelling. The dog should be
treated for shock if blood loss is excessive. If the object that caused the
wound is still present, DO NOT REMOVE IT. Make every effort to move the
animal carefully and keep it and the object immobile.
First-aid care of dogs that
have suffered superficial burns is essentially the same as that provided for
other wounds. Applying cold compresses to the burned area will help to
relieve pain until one can reach the veterinarian.
Accidental poisoning of dogs
is fairly common because they are frequently exposed to a wide variety of
chemicals that can cause acute or chronic illness. When there is a sudden
onset of illness in a previously healthy dog, poisoning is frequently
suspected. It is usually difficult to prove unless the dog's exposure to the
poison was observed or otherwise known. With a few exceptions, chemical
poisons do not produce distinctive signs of illness. Drooling, trembling,
evidence of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and coma are
commonly seen. When there is good reason to suspect that a dog has recently
(less than 2 hours) ingested a potentially poisonous substance which is
non-corrosive, an attempt should be made to remove it from the upper
gastrointestinal tract. If the dog hasn't vomited and can swallow, equal
parts of hydrogen peroxide and water should be given promptly at a dosage of
1 or 2 tablespoons per 10 lb of body weight to induce vomiting.
Alternatively, table salt can be used; either 2 teaspoonfuls can be
dissolved in a 1/2 cup of water can be given orally or 1/2 teaspoonful of
salt can be put on the base of the tongue. A teaspoonful of mustard powder
dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water can also be used to stimulate vomiting.
The Poison Control Center in your area may be able to provide information
about the antidote if the poison can be identified. Otherwise, activated
charcoal can be given by the veterinarian to prevent further absorption of
the poison from the intestinal tract after vomiting has occurred. Common
sources of poisons ingested by dogs include: rodenticides, other pesticides,
paint or other substances containing lead, drain solvents, antifreeze
solutions, and household drugs. Garbage and some plants are sources of other
toxic substances that cause signs of poisoning.
Animal Poison Control Center
National Animal Poison Control Center
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
credit card calls:1-800-548-2423 [$30 charge per call]
all other calls:1-900-680-0000 [$2.75/min charge]
When calling, have the following information
Physiologic condition (i.e.
neutered, pregnant, lactating, health disorders, etc.)
Name of the product and
Active ingredient and
concentration listed on the label
Formulation of the product
(i.e. solid, liquid, aerosol)
Amount of product the dog was
Time since exposure
Any symptoms observed
(drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, etc.)
Time between exposure and
onset of symptoms
This emergency obviously
occurs during warmer days of the year. Affected dogs have usually been
confined, often in an automobile, where ventilation is poor. The most common
signs include exaggerated and loud panting, rapid pulse, weakness, vomiting,
and a body temperature of 104°F-106°F or higher. The mucous membranes appear
very red at the onset, and then become pale as the dog goes into shock .
Some dogs eliminate blood-tinged, liquid feces. Affected dogs can be helped
by putting them immediately in a tub of cold water or applying cold water
liberally with a hose. If this does not reduce the body temperature within a
short time (10 minutes), the veterinarian will give the dog a cold-water
SOME FACTS TO REMEMBER:
Anti-freeze Kills! Less than
one teaspoon of anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) will kill a dog within several
hours after ingestion.
Automobiles Are Ovens! Even in
the shade with the windows cracked open, internal temperatures of an
automobile can reach temperatures of over 100°F in a short length of time.
Unleashed is unloved! Every
year thousands of dogs are injured or killed in automobile accidents.