Gunshot Wound

April 12, 2012

No one likes to think that their dog will ever suffer from a gunshot wound, but it happens, and it happens more often than most of us would like to admit. Whether your dog is a hunting dog and gets shot by accident or is seen by a hunter and mistaken for another animal, gunshot wounds happen to the best dogs. Knowing how to treat the wounds will help you ensure that you have a chance of a positive outcome.

Symptoms

A gunshot wound is usually not difficult to identify because of the setting that the dog is in or the major tissue damage that can be caused by a gun. The first thing you need to do when you suspect a gunshot wound is to locate the injury, try to determine the size of the projectile, as well as the speed of the projectile. You want to know all of these things because this can help you determine the seriousness of the injury. Most of the time you will see major tissue damage on the outside, then again sometimes there is just a small bleeding hole visible.

Prevention

Preventing gunshot wounds in dogs can be quite simple. First, if you are taking a dog out hunting with you, be sure that they are well trained. When you are sure that your dog is well trained they will be less likely to get shot. Also, you may want to dress them in bright colors if you live in an area where hunting is done so that other hunters do not mistake them for an animal which they are hunting. There is reflective gear sold for dogs that will identify them easily to yourself as well as other hunters. You can also make sure that you as well as the people with you are well trained in how to hunt with a dog.

Treatment

The treatment of a gunshot wound begins immediately. If your dog is breathing but unresponsive you will want to try to keep their airway open, just the way you would in a human. Do not move your dog immediately until you can ascertain whether or not they can be moved without furthering the damage and also make sure that you take your safety into consideration, as a lot of dogs will bite when in extreme pain.

Control any bleeding with compression. You can seal the gunshot wound with plastic of any variety to keep air from being sucked into the wound. Don’t give the dog anything to eat or drink. At this point you will want to call your vet and have them come to you, if possible. If the vet cannot come to you, carefully bring your dog into a vehicle in which they can be kept as flat and as stationary as possible.

When you get your dog to the vet the vet will likely quickly examine the wound, do an extra or ultrasound to gauge internal damage, operate if necessary, and then start antibiotics and pain medications. Gunshot wounds are often superficial and they look bad, but other times they look very superficial and are quite serious. Getting your dog to the vet is important for their life.

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