Dogs have been our faithful companions for more than 15,000 years. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 48 million American households have a dog. Owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Below are some four common dog injuries and how to respond when they happen.
1. Limb Injuries
Injuries to the limbs and joints vary in severity. Serious injuries such as a ruptured cruciate ligament will cause a lot of pain to the knee. A dog who suffers this injury usually holds up the injured limb to avoid putting any weight on it. A dog leg brace is a useful tool for reducing the pain and helping the dog recover.
Fractured bones may cause other limb injuries. Limping is the universal symptom of limb injuries. Sprains and strains may also lead to soft tissue damage to the limb muscles. You will have to visit the veterinarian to determine the amount of damage. Treatment for bone fractures includes casts, splints, or may require surgery. Sprains can be treated with medication and some rest.
2. Back Injuries
Spinal injuries are the most common form of a back injury. These injuries can be caused by trauma or genetic predisposition. They are common in smaller dog breeds. Intervertebral disc disease is a disease that causes the disc in the vertebra to rapture.
Herniation puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing back pains. Symptoms of spinal injury include difficulty in walking, hunched gait, squealing in pain, and wobbly hind legs. Back injuries can lead to paralysis and should be treated as soon as possible. Seek immediate emergency care; your dog might require surgery.
3. Head Injuries
Although dogs have more robust skulls than humans, they are still very much in danger of head injuries. Severe injuries to the head could cause disability, blindness, or even death. Here are some of the most common types of head injuries.
- Brain injury – Injuries to the brain occur due to blunt force trauma, bruising to the head, internal bleeding, or pressure build-up within the skull. You can tell your dog has suffered brain injury if the dog is vomiting, unconscious, losses balance, or has a dilated pupil. The best course of action is taking the dog for emergency veterinarian care.
- Ear Injuries – Your dog’s ears are susceptible to injuries. Accidental bite by other pets when playing can lead to bleeding. It may be the result of a fight with another dog. You can apply pressure on the ear to slow down the bleeding. Trying to bandage the wound may be impossible since it can easily be shaken off. If the bleeding persists, then you will have to take the dog to the vet. Swelling is another form of ear injury. It may be caused by a ruptured blood vessel, a condition known as a hematoma. You can put an ice pack to reduce the swelling. Your dog will keep shaking its head from the pain. Schedule a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible
- Eye Injuries – These types of injuries can be sustained from a fight with other pets, from rustling in the bushes or from hanging their heads out of the window of a moving vehicle. Eye injuries are easy to spot. The symptoms include redness of the eye, squinting, eye discharges, swelling and constant rubbing of the eye. Eye injuries can quickly escalate, so don’t wait around. Emergency veterinarian care could save your dog from reduced vision or total blindness.
4. Tail Injuries
The most common cause of injury to dogs’ tails is trauma. It could result from the tail getting stuck in a closing door, being bitten by other dogs, or being stepped on. Abrasions to the tail can also occur from wagging against a hard surface. Excessive wagging can also cause sprains leading to a condition known as a limber tail syndrome.
Dogs who suffer this kind of injury have flaccid tails that hang limply. If the tail is not broken, it will heal on its own in a couple of days. However, there is breakage you will need to get emergency veterinary care. You can a tail is broken if there is a deformity or swelling at the base of the tail. Treatment for broken tail involves bandages, e-collars, surgery, and crates restrictions.
Dogs are naturally playful creatures. Even with the utmost care, it’s likely they will suffer an injury at some point in their lives. Their survival depends on you being able to spot those injuries early enough. Do not hesitate to see a veterinarian whenever you suspect something is wrong. Better safe than sorry.