Electric Shock

April 12, 2012

A new puppy can be the source of joy of the family. Unfortunately, raising one can be a tedious task especially if the puppy is not yet housebroken. Owners would be forever picking things from the floor, always watchful and ready to save things from the growing teeth of the puppy. One of the things puppies like to gnaw most is electrical cords. Adult dogs are seldom electric shocked. Because puppies are naturally curious they would chew on anything. If the electrical cord is punctured by the sharp teeth the puppy will sustain a severe electric shock. In most cases the puppy is unable to release the cord thus worsening the injury. Luckily most of the electric cords that power household appliances carry a low voltage. If the dog is exposed to high voltage electric current the dog can sustain massive internal damage that can result to death.

Symptoms

A dog that suffered an electric shock would yelp and cry out. He would have burns on the roof of the mouth, lips and tongue. The gums may be swollen and irritated. If the dog happened to chew on a high voltage wire the electric current that will enter the dog’s body will cause severe damage that can be life threatening. The electric current would damage the capillaries of the lungs resulting to the build up of fluid in the air sacs (edema). Dogs that sustained this kind of electric shock would have rapid but faint heart beat and white or mud colored gums. Dog would have difficulty in breathing, in severe cases the dog would cease to breath. Electric shock would also cause severe damage that would make the heart stop beating. In this case the dog would die from cardiac arrest.

Prevention

Puppies chew on things. It would be up to the owner to ensure that all electrical cords are kept out of reach of the dog. Some home owners would encase the cords in PVC wires. If this is not possible, periodically check the electric cords. You will notice if the pup has been playing with it because of the teeth marks. Train your puppy to chew on toys instead. Additionally, it would be wise to unplug the electrical cords when the appliances it is powering are not being used. To discourage the pups from chewing the electrical cords you may spray it with Bitter Apple or Chew Stop. If the pup will be left unsupervised it would be better to confine the dog in a crate.

Treatment

No matter how much you would want to help your pet Do Not Touch the dog if the cord is still in its mouth. If you are at home the best thing to do is to unplug the electric cord or to switch off the main breaker. If you are outside the house and the pet dog happened to step on a live wire get a piece of wood to separate the dog from the wire. Never use steel or metal as the electric current can harm you too.

If the dog is breathing and conscious, check the burned part of the mouth. In most cases, the lips or the tongue that was in contact with the electrical wire will be swollen and irritated. Affected area may be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide.

If the dog is not breathing and unconscious it must be taken to a vet immediately. Cover the dog with a blanket to maintain body heat. Keep the head lower than the body while massaging the legs as well as the body to promote blood flow. If the home is quite far from a hospital or a vet, you may have to administer artificial respiration. To do this you need to place you hands around the dog’s nose in such a way that a funnel is created. Then blow continuously for three seconds to fill the lungs with air. Rest for about two seconds and repeat the procedure again until the dog is breathing on its own. Then take the dog to the vet.

Depending on the extent of the injury, the vet may prescribe diuretics to remove the accumulated fluid in the lungs. Oxygen support and IV fluid support may also be prescribed.

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