Labor Day weekend and the warm days of autumn afford plenty of opportunities for dogs to get out and about, but veterinarians at VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital say there are a few injury symptoms to watch for.
Activites such as swimming, going to reservoirs and going on walks can land them in the emergency room, the Englewood veterinarians say. Here are VRCC’s top three things all dog owners should be aware of when playing with their dogs outdoors.
SAND/DIRT IMPACTIONS - It's not going to be a day at the beach for your dog if he or she ingests dirt while at a reservoir or hiking the trails around it. Impactions occur when material enters the intestines and creates a blockage. Early symptoms include refusing food and water and vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and pain.
Treatment may include IV fluid therapy, stomach pumping, medications in an effort to break up the blockage and get it to pass. In some cases, surgery may be required.
SWIMMER’S TAIL - Dogs can get something known as “swimmer’s tail”. This occurs when dogs swim in water that’s either too warm or too cold, or when dogs simply swim for too long and aren’t yet properly conditioned for that amount of activity.
The condition has telltale signs that may include a limp tail, no wagging, a tail that extends horizontally for 3-4 inches and then suddenly drops, hair stands up at the base of the tail, or there is pain upon touch and swelling.
Though swimmer’s tail is not typically serious, and will heal within 3-7 days, it is always a good idea to visit your veterinarian who may order x-rays to rule out any fractures and test blood for increased levels of an enzyme that can damage muscles.
BURNED PAWS - Your dog may have a tough callous on their paw pads but that doesn’t mean they can withstand any kind of surface, including burning hot concrete surfaces, hot sand or hot water. Burned paw pads can be extremely painful and debilitating for dogs.
Symptoms include limping, refusing to walk, pads that have turned darker than usual or blistering and redness. This type of injury requires immediate attention, as burned paw pads can become infected. Pain medications and/or antibiotics may be used as a treatment and your veterinarian may restrict your pet to indoors or only grassy areas.
One good way to avoid any of these issues is to walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when peak temperatures have subsided and surfaces have cooled. You can also invest in doggie boots that Velcro on during walks as well to protect the pads.
VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital, located in Englewood, has a staff of vetrinary specialists and a 24-hour emergency hospital and critical care center.
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