What Are Traumatic Injuries In Dogs?
What is it?
How is it Treated?
Great Danes Mastiffs Saint Bernards Labrador Retrievers Golden Retrievers Pointers Greyhounds Whippets Salukis
Dog trauma is common, especially in larger dogs. Unfortunately, dog owners often are unaware that their pet or suffered pet trauma or a severe injury until long after the incident occurred. Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from complications due to untreated trauma. Fortunately, with proper treatment, most dogs will recover fully.
This article discusses the types of injuries commonly occurring in dogs and the treatments available for every wound. It also provides tips on how to prevent future pet traumas.
What is Trauma in Dogs?
Pet trauma is defined as any injury caused by an external force. This may include physical trauma, chemical trauma, thermal trauma, electrical trauma, mechanical trauma, radiation trauma, emotional trauma, psychological trauma, or spiritual trauma.
Traumatic injuries in dogs are severe medical conditions that require immediate veterinary care. They include broken bones, torn ligaments, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening issues.
Injuries can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anybody. Dogs are no exception.
Depending on the injury site, trauma can cause different physical symptoms. For example, head trauma can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. Neck and spine injuries may cause pain and swelling in those areas. Pelvic floor distress (PFD) is a common reaction to sexual assault that includes pain during intercourse or increased leaking of urine or feces.
Types of Canine Traumatic Injuries
Physical injuries in dogs include everything from broken bones to internal bleeding.
The most common injury in dogs and cats is fractured, which occurs when he sustains pet trauma to his body. It may be caused by being hit by a moving vehicle, falling off furniture, getting stepped on, or any other causes. They can be severe and may require surgery to repair. If the fracture is not treated, it may cause extensive damage to the bone and lead to death. Fractures can also create other complications, such as infection or fluid build-up in the affected area. Injured pets should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment.
- Foreign Object Ingestion
Foreign bodies (objects) can be found anywhere, including inside pets’ mouths. They may not seem dangerous initially, but they can cause serious problems later. Foreign bodies include everything from toys to bones to hairbrushes.
Dogs swallow these things accidentally when playing, eating, chewing, licking, or chewing on them. The most common place for foreign bodies is in the dog’s stomach. But sometimes, they pass through the gastrointestinal system and wind up somewhere else, like the lungs or intestines.
If your dog swallows or inhales a foreign object, he may choke on it, vomit it back out, or pass it through his system. The most common problem is stopping because swallowing large items can block airway passages.
When this happens, your pet needs immediate medical management. For example, he may need surgery to remove the object. Or, if the thing passes through him unharmed, he may need fluids and pain medication.
- Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are common in dogs and cats, giant breeds. They’re usually head trauma caused by a dog falling over, slipping on ice, or running into furniture or walls. These include sprains, strains, and torn ligaments.
They’re painful and sometimes require surgery, but most soft tissue injuries heal quickly. So the sooner you treat them, the better.
Lacerations are deep cuts from blunt objects like rocks, sticks, or tree branches. It may be superficial (on the surface) or deep (below the skin). They’re usually painful, require medical treatment, and leave scars behind. In addition, lacerations can cause severe blood loss and infection.
Most lacerations occur when animals bite each other, fall downstairs, or run into things. But sometimes accidents happen during training sessions, grooming, or playing.
Some common types of lacerations include:
- Bite wounds – These are minor puncture marks that appear at the site of a dog bite.
- Claw wounds are deep scratches from a cat’s claws.
- Scratch wounds – These are shallow cuts made by a cat’s nails.
- Burn wounds are open sores caused by heat or chemicals.
- Cut wounds – These are wounds caused by cutting instruments.
- Crush wounds – These are wounds from being crushed between two hard surfaces.
- Contusions – These are bruises caused by blunt force trauma.
- Internal bleeding
Internal bleeding occurs when blood leaks out of the body through a break in the skin. This type of internal injury usually happens because of severe trauma in dogs, such as being hit by a car or kicked by another dog. Internal bleeding may be fatal if not treated quickly. In addition, it may cause primary brain injury and bleeding.
Internal bleeding can occur anywhere within the body, including the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, stomach, intestines, kidneys, bladder, brain tissue, spinal injuries, bones, joints, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Critical care is necessary to make sure you rule out the symptoms. Take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
- Puncture Wound
Puncture wounds are common among dog owners because they’re often inflicted accidentally when playing rough with your pet. Sharp objects cause them. Mostly, it heals quickly, but sometimes they become infected and can penetrate the skin and lead to infections. They can also lead to abscesses. This requires medical treatment.
Causes of Traumatic Injuries in Dogs
Dogs are naturally curious creatures who often run into things. Unfortunately, this curiosity can lead to severe secondary injury, especially if the dog doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong. They can occur due to various causes, such as car accidents, dog fights, dog bites, attacks, shootings, poisonings, drownings, falls, electrocutions, seizures, and dog stabbings.
Common secondary injuries caused by dogs include: Dog bites can result in lacerations, puncture wounds, and ripping. These injuries may require stitches or a medical procedure to close them. In addition, the victim may develop an infection in some cases due to the injury. Dog attacks can also cause blunt trauma in the brain injury (TBI). Symptoms may include memory loss and problems with concentration or coordination. If left untreated, TBI could lead to permanent damage or even death.
Symptoms of Canine Traumatic Injuries
The most common symptoms of traumatic injuries in dogs include whining, trouble standing, and shaking. Complaining is when a dog whines continuously, often accompanied by trembling. Trouble standing means the dog cannot stand still, and shake refers to involuntary body movements. These three signs may indicate that another animal has bitten the dog, and the pet owners should seek medical help immediately.
Other signs of traumatic pet injuries include vomiting, seizures, shock, and paralysis. Vomiting is often accompanied by diarrhea, which may be bloody. Attacks occur when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen during unconsciousness.
Shock happens when the heart stops beating normally. Shock occurs when your body does not receive enough oxygen. When this happens, your heart pumps harder and faster, and your blood pressure drops. As a result, your dog might lose consciousness. Paralysis occurs when nerves stop transmitting signals to muscles.
Some dogs may experience excessive salivation, drooling, lethargy, weakness, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, and depression, depending on the severity of the injury.
These symptoms can appear within minutes to hours after the initial injury. However, they usually last longer than 24 hours. Ensure you’re ready to take your dog to a veterinary hospital if you see signs of severe trauma.
Veterinary Diagnosis of Traumatic Injuries in Dogs
Veterinarians use physical examination, X-rays, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging (such as ultrasound) to determine whether a dog has sustained a traumatic injury. They may also take tissue or fluid samples from the injured area to test for bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites, or other substances.
- Your vet will perform a complete physical exam on your dog to check for signs of bleeding, fractures, internal organ damage, and other problems. He may even take x-rays or do blood work to determine what is wrong.
- X-ray machines produce digital images that show bones, soft tissues, organs, and internal structures. The veterinarian uses these images to identify fractures, tumors, foreign bodies, abscesses, cysts, and other abnormalities.
- Blood tests measure the number of various chemicals and proteins in the bloodstream. These tests help veterinarians detect diseases, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and organ damage.
- Diagnostic imaging includes ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine scans, and radiographs. Ultrasound produces sound waves that bounce off tissues and organs.
CT and MRI create detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. Nuclear medicine scans use radioactive materials to create images of internal organs and tissues, including those inside the brain. Radiographs are x-rays taken outside the body.
After examining a dog, the vet may recommend treatment options depending on the type and severity of the injury. Treatment may involve surgery, medication, or rehabilitation therapy.
Emergency Treatments for Traumatic Injuries in Dogs
Veterinarians treat injured pets with surgery, medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. They may recommend euthanasia when there is no hope of recovery.
Your vet will likely prescribe pain medication to ease discomfort and speed healing. They may also recommend anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease swelling and inflammation. These medications can be administered orally or injected into the skin.
Depending on the extent of the injury, your vet may recommend additional therapies, including bandaging, splinting, and immobilization. Bandages can provide support and protect injured areas until they heal. Splints can stabilize broken bones and prevent further movement. Immobilizers can restrict movement to prevent further injury.
In addition to treating traumatic injuries, veterinarians may recommend vaccines and other pet healthcare measures to prevent future problems. For instance, rabies vaccinations can protect pets against potentially fatal infections. In addition, vaccines for parvovirus and distemper can prevent illness after exposure to infected animals.
Surgery may be another option to repair traumatic injuries in dogs. They cut away damaged tissue and suture together healthy tissue. In addition, they may remove foreign bodies, clean wounds, drain fluids, stitch skin closed, or place drains.
If the dog needs emergency medicine, it may need to stabilize the animal until it can be transported to an animal hospital. When performing these procedures, vets must work quickly because bleeding can cause shock and death.
Rehabilitation involves helping the dog recover its strength and mobility after an injury. This includes providing pain relief, keeping your dog from infection by cleaning the wound, and ensuring it doesn’t over-exert itself.
To help rehabilitate a dog with a traumatic injury, veterinarians may recommend exercise programs, massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, laser treatment, and nutritional supplements. They may also prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and pain and prevent infection.
How to Prevent Traumatic Injuries in Dogs
Traumatic injuries can cause permanent damage to your pet’s internal organs. This can lead to serious health issues such as kidney failure, liver problems, seizures, and even death.
Here are some tips to help you avoid traumatic injuries in your dog:
- Make Sure You Keep Your Dog’s Identification Tags
Make sure your dog has identification tags. This allows you to identify your dog quickly in case of an emergency.
- Do Not Leave Your Dog Alone
Make sure to leave your dog alone in a room or area. Even if he seems fine, he may still be suffering from shock.
- Take Care of Any Injury Immediately
Take your dog to the vet immediately if he suffers from any injury. Trauma may worsen if left untreated.
- Be Aware of Dangerous Situations
Be aware of dangerous situations. For example, avoid leaving your dog near unattended pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams.
- Teach Your Children About Safety Around Animals
Teach children about safety around animals. For example, explain to them that dogs should not be played with.
- Train Your Puppy Properly
Train your puppy correctly. Teach him basic commands such as sit, down, come, and heel.
- Use Safe Toys
Keep toys safe for your dog. For example, never let your dog chew on anything that could harm his teeth.
- Provide Exercise
Provide your dog with exercise. Play fetch games with him. Let him run around the yard.
- Monitor Your Dog’s Health Regularly
Monitor your dog’s health regularly. Check his ears, eyes, nose, paws, gums, and coat.
- Get Vaccinated
Get your dog vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccination prevents your dog from contracting the virus.
Frequently Asked Questions
It was a typical day at the dog park for Lisa and her energetic Boxer, Zeus, as they played a spirited game of fetch. Suddenly, an unleashed dog sprinted toward them, causing a high-speed collision with Zeus. Stunned and in obvious pain, Zeus limped toward Lisa, who rushed to assess the situation. With a sinking feeling in her heart, Lisa knew that her beloved pet had sustained traumatic injuries and needed immediate veterinary attention.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.