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Dog Health Forum Caring for your dog's health and well-being isn't as always that easy. Provide your existing dog health issues and the current dog health symptoms here for possible solutions. If your pet is unwell we strongly advise you to seek professional advice from a vet. Please do not rely on or wait for advice from mygermanshepherd users.

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Old 19-10-06, 01:14 PM
George's Mum
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,927
First Aid

Canine First Aid

An abscess is a painful swelling containing pus, usually accompanied by a rise in temperature and, unlike a tumour, it generally forms very quickly. It is not unusual for an abscess to form in the gland at the side of the neck just behind the jaw and under the ear, giving the dog the appearance of suffering form mumps. Dogs do not, however, suffer from mumps, and the normal treatment for abscesses should be carried out. Veterinary advice must be obtained where abscesses or suspected abscesses occur in Police Dogs.

Street accidents can be divided into two main groups:-

(i) Superficial injury

(ii) Severe injury

(i) Superficial Injury
The dog is usually more Lightened than hurt and is generally more difficult to handle than the badly injured dog. The dog should be removed to a quiet spot as soon as possible and a careful examination carried out to establish the extent of any injuries (lacerations, bruising, etc.). Any injuries found should be treated, as laid down.

(ii) Severe Injury
The dog should be removed to a quiet spot using an improvised stretcher (blanket, sack, coat, flat board, etc.). Examine the dog carefully, deal with any serious haemorrhage first, immobilise any fractured limbs. Keep the dog as quiet and as warm as possible. If there is any evidence of internal injuries, nothing must be given by the mouth to the dog. Convey the dog to the Veterinary Surgeon as soon as possible.

Anal Gland Inflammation
Inflammation and swelling of the anal glands is a common and troublesome complaint; dogs suffering from it draw themselves in a sitting posture along the ground, an action frequently mistaken for a symptom of worms. The complaint is often the cause of dogs being objectionable in the house, as when the secretion, or fluid escapes from the glands, and it often does when the glands are congested - there is a most obnoxious odour, as if the dog had passed wind. The condition causes pain.
The anal glands are situated at approximately 8 and 4 o'clock as you face the rear of the dog. The hand and fingers should be covered by a pad of cotton wool and digital pressure should be applied to each of the glands. This operation is known as 'expressing the anal glands'. Great care must be taken whilst carrying out this operation due to the fact that if pressure is applied in the wrong place, it can cause great pain, as the glands are deep seated. It may be necessary to resort to surgical drainage of the glands by a Veterinary Surgeon. With some dogs, it is necessary to attend to these glands every fortnight. In long-standing cases it is best to have this trouble permanently cured by surgical removal of the glands. In cases of doubt, or if small sinuses (holes) are present in the anal ring, Veterinary advice must be obtained.

Anus, prolapse of
This sometimes occurs as the result of straining when a dog has diarrhoea, the lower bowel, or rectum, protruding for an inch or more. It requires immediate treatment, as if not relieved it becomes very inflamed and swollen. Gently Vaseline the protruding part and take to a Veterinary Surgeon.

Apoplexy (Very rare in Police Dogs)
Apoplexy is caused by the rupture of a cerebral blood vessel, resulting in pressure on the brain. The dog falls to the ground in convulsions followed by unconsciousness accompanied by stertorous breathing and the coma may last for some time. In severe cases, there is little which can be done; in mild attacks of this nature keep the animal quiet and as partial paralysis may result and the eyes may be affected, quiet conditions are essential.
A Veterinary Surgeon should be called in as soon as possible, but if not available follow the above recommendations regarding quiet. Do not confuse with epilepsy and worms (see Fits).

Artificial Respiration
The dog must be removed from the cause or the cause removed from the dog in all cases where the breathing has stopped due to electric shock, coal gas, etc. Remember to ensure that in the case of electric shock, the supply is switched off before touching the dog. Alternatively, ensure that you are well insulated before attempting to remove the dog.
Place the animal on a table or similar object, its left side uppermost and the head hanging down over the edge. Open the mouth and pull the tongue well out. Ensure the throat is clear of obstructions, mucus, etc. If necessary, obtain assistance to hold the mouth open and the tongue out. If no assistance available, a role of bandage or other similar article should be used to prop the mouth open.
If there is no pulse and the heart has stopped, external cardiac massage can be applied by exerting regular pressure to the left side of the dog's rib cage near the bottom edge.
Grasp the left foreleg firmly just above the elbow. Pump the leg downwards and slightly towards the rear end of the dog. This should be done firmly and then the pressure released. This action should be repeated every five seconds. It has the effect of compressing the chest when the ribs are pressed by the fist, and then the natural elasticity of the tissues will result in their expansion when the pressure is removed.
Another method is to pass a small bore plastic or rubber tube down the dog's throat into the windpipe and then blowing down the tube at regular intervals. Care should always be taken to turn the head well away from the tube when taking a breath prior to the next injection of air into the dog's lungs.
If respirations begin, a bottle of smelling salts held under the nose will rapidly improve their strength and regularity. A few drops of brandy on the back of the throat are useful as an additional stimulant.

Bladder Inflammation (Cystitis)
Suspected cases should be referred to a Veterinary Surgeon for appropriate treatmentIn most cases Cystitis is caused by gravel accumulating in the bladder, or by stone formation preventing a proper evacuation of the bladder. Cystitis may also be due to cold and can be caused by a dog of clean habits being shut up too long. Not having an opportunity to relieve himself, the dog's bladder becomes over-distended so that at last he is unable to empty it, inflammation following. The symptoms of a blocked urinary passage are fullness of the abdomen, pain on pressure, and straining to pass water, which may come only in drops. The urine that escapes is highly coloured and/or mixed with drops of blood. Constipation may also accompany the cystitis.
Since an obstruction can lead to uremia, a Veterinary Surgeon must be consulted. Gravel or stone in the bladder usually calls for surgical remedy or the use of a catheter.Give plenty of barley water to drink in preference to plain water and in order to induce the dog to drink frequently.

Stone in the Bladder,
The general rule is for the stones found in bitches to be larger than those in dogs, varying from pea size to a walnut. Sometimes there is an accumulation of small sandy particles (gravel). Bitches usually pass these later but dogs cannot as a rule. If larger, say the size of a Barcelona nut, the stone can be felt in the bladder through the walls of the abdomen, but the trouble is not always discovered until the dog has difficulty in passing water as a result of the stone or, gravel becoming stuck in the passage (an X-ray will reveal the stone).
There is constant straining to pass water which continues after the bladder is empty and after a time the urine becomes a bloody colour. In all cases a Veterinary Surgeon should be called in at once, as generally an operation is the only treatment and it is often of urgent importance that it be performed as soon as possible.

Bleeding (haemorrhage)
The vast majority of bleeding wounds are not from arteries or veins, but from capillary vessels of tiny diameter. Only if the flow is extensive and uncontrollable by a firm bandage over lint or cotton wool, need one try a tourniquet or other pressure methods detailed below.
External bleeding from a wound is usual after a fight or an accident and treatment depends upon the seriousness of the injury. The first step is to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible and for this purpose it is important to know whether the bleeding is from a vein or an artery.
Blood from a vein is dark red and oozes out in a steady flow. Stopping bleeding from a vein is usually possible with a cold water pad, pressed by hand over the part - or if necessary held in position with a firm bandage enclosing the whole part. In a deep wound the artery may be deeply situated. Therefore, note the blood colour and if the wound fills up with blood very quickly then an artery from minor branches is most likely involved. Blood from a major artery is bright scarlet, spurts out in quick sharp bursts with the heartbeats.
Reducing or temporarily stopping bleeding from an artery may be possible in two ways, according to the position and severity, taking care not to cause internal injury, as follows:-

(i) the brachial artery about an inch above the elbow joint where pressure will stop the main arterial flow to the front legs below the elbow.

(ii) The femoral artery, inside the thigh which supplies blood from the heart to the stifle.

(iii) the coccygeal artery directly under the base of the tail and which supplies the blood to the whole of the tail.

Using a tourniquet on a limb to stop bleeding. If severe bleeding continues then a tourniquet will be necessary and the procedure is similar to first aid for humans. A large handkerchief folded comer-wise over and over until about 2 in. wide and with the two long comer ends for tying. Enclosed inside the folds in the middle of the handkerchief is a small stone or pad or cork which part is placed over and above the wound - on the side nearest the heart. One half knot is tied in the ends of the handkerchief on the other side of the limb and held whilst a pencil or stick is placed over the knot before the second half of a reef knot is tied. Twisting the stick then tightens the pressure as desired and is then held fast by a separate handkerchief or a bandage around both the limb and the stick. A tourniquet will be painful to the dog. Therefore it is a wise precaution to muzzle him.
Never leave a tourniquet tight for more than 10 minutes - slacken off the stick slightly and slowly for 10 seconds every ten minutes, to check whether the bleeding has stopped and to maintain some blood supply to the limb until expert help arrives - and obviously in cases of bleeding from a very large blood vessel or artery, veterinary help will be urgently necessary.
If bleeding is from the stomach or from the bowels, urgent veterinary attention is essential.In bleeding from the stomach there is general sickness and blood is present in the vomited matter and has a dark brown appearance with an objectionable smell, whilst from the lungs the dog coughs somewhat violently and the blood comes from both nostrils and may be frothy in appearance.
In bleeding from the bowels, unless very slight, veterinary aid must be sought.
When bleeding is excessive and the dog is struggling around, this will aggravate the condition. Some restraint is desirable by at least partially wrapping the dog in a rug or an old coat, and placing in a basket or box.
Whatever the cause of bleeding, give frequent sips of glucose and water but do not give any food.
After all cases of bleeding there is excessive weakness.
Rest, quiet and special nourishment are essential to regain strength. Veterinary advice must be sought.
Never give stimulants in cases of extensive bleeding.

There is invariably some degree of penetration with this injury and it is important that a close watch be kept on such injuries until they have completely healed, as there may be danger of sepsis if healing of the skin around is too rapid. Immediately the bite is found the hair should be clipped away from the wound. This is very necessary in long haired dogs. A thorough search should be made for other wounds; these often have only small skin openings and may be easily overlooked. The wounds should then be thoroughly cleansed with cotton-wool soaked in warm water containing a suitable antiseptic, spirit, or saline.
Any injury near the eyes should be swabbed with warm water only. This should be done twice a day for at least five days and in the event of any heat or hardness developing in the injured region, a Veterinary Surgeon should be consulted.
If larger than about half an inch, any tear in the skin alone, or skin and muscle, should be dressed with a sterile dressing and the dog conveyed to the Veterinary Surgeon so that the wound may be stitched.
Bites on head, limbs or genitalia should be regarded with special caution.Bums and Scalds
A bum can be caused by dry heat and a scald by moist heat but the first aid treatment is the same for both.
Except for very minor cases, immediate veterinary treatment should be obtained. Shock is present in all cases and the dog should be treated according to the directions listed in shock.Toxemia and sepsis can occur as secondary infection.
The hair over and surrounding the injured area should be removed and the wound bathed in cold water. It should then be covered with a pad soaked in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water, or saline solution, one ounce to one pint of boiled water. On no account should grease, oil or ointment be applied.
The dog should be encouraged to drink warm water with glucose, as the replacement of fluid to the body is very important.

This is a very dangerous and urgent condition requiring immediate action. A dog will die within two minutes from asphyxiation.
Symptoms are very alarming; sometimes the dog makes little noise but falls over on its side and gives every indication of being asphyxiated. The dog's jaws must be prized open; invariably considerable force is required to achieve this. The mouth should be help open as wide as possible and the obstruction hooked out with the forefinger.
With bones the need is not as a rule so urgent and although the dog will make definite choking noises, paw his mouth and be acutely uncomfortable, there is not, usually, much danger from asphyxiation. Once again, the mouth should be opened and the bone should be removed as gently as possible to avoid laceration of the throat. If firmly wedged, attempt to loosen it with your finger. In all cases of apparent asphyxiation, a Veterinary Surgeon should be called immediately.

This serious condition resembles shock but is very much more severe and often can be fatal.The dog should be treated for shock and in addition the hindquarters should be raised and the head kept low. The dog should be on its right side. Nothing should be given by mouth if the dog is unconscious. If unconscious, the tongue should be pulled forward and out to stop any impedance of respiration.
In all cases a Veterinary Surgeon should be called.

Due to accidents, blows on the head and similar causes. The dog is usually unconscious most of the time. Cover the dog with blankets and if possible in a warm dark room. Hot water bottles are advisable to the body but must be properly covered to avoid the risk of the dog being burnt. Cold compresses (ice or very cold water) should be applied to the head and changed frequently.Veterinary assistance should be obtained as soon as possible.

First aid treatment should be confined to keeping the injured limb, which the animal will carry', in as near as natural a position as possible, and convey the dog to the Veterinary Surgeon as soon as possible.

This is one of the most common diseases of the dog. There are two schools of thought as to whether the disease is contagious or not .

There are two types of the disease. The signs and symptoms are as follows:-

Dry Scurfy, scaly and cracked inflamed patches.

Wet Patches of wet raw skin sores. Irritation and itching. Dog scratches, bites and scrapes itself.

Parts affected Along the back, head, face, neck and legs. Dry eczema often between the thighs.

a. Hereditary

b. Faulty diet, deficiency of vitamins and/or minerals

c. Digestive disturbance due to over-feeding, particularly sugars and starches.

d. Worms

e. Toxic substances, e.g. kennel disinfectants, industrial pesticides

f. Infestation by parasites, e.g. mange, fleas, mosquitoes

The hair should be clipped from around the affected area ensuring that the clipped area is well clear of the affected spot, particularly where pus runs down. The affected area should then be scrubbed with warm water and carbolic soap, ensuring that all pus or crusts are removed, then dried and oil based calamine lotion applied. This should be repeated two or three times a day until the condition improves. If more than two patches occur, or if the condition fails to improve within two days, veterinary advice should be obtained.

There are two main injuries which can occur to the dog's eye.
They are:-
a. Scratches to the eye by cats or from bushes.
b. Foreign bodies
All injuries to the eye must be examined by a Veterinary Surgeon.

a. Scratched eyes should be bathed in a normal saline solution of one salt spoon of boracic powder to 1/4 pint of water. Do not use any antiseptic or disinfectant. The eyelids and surrounding hair should be dried with cotton wool and an eye ointment, e.g. Aureonycin, or similar ointment, should be used.
b. Foreign bodies in eyes. See under Foreign Bodies.
c. If eye damage is caused by acids, alkalies, or fire extinguisher fluid, thoroughly irrigate the eye with liberal applications of water and send for the Veterinary Surgeon.

Foreign Bodies
i. Mouth
ii. Throat
iii. Oesophagus
iv. Eye
v. Ear
vi. Stomach
vii. Intestines
viii. Rectum

The signs of a foreign body in the mouth are usually obvious. The dog claws and paws frantically at his mouth, salivates profusely and, of course, is unable to eat food.Normally these foreign bodies can be removed by using the forefinger or a handle of a wooden spoon or similar lever.
Needles, pins, etc., which may have broken and lodged in the tongue or palate can only be removed by a Veterinary Surgeon.

See 'choking'.

Foreign bodies lodged in the oesophagus are usually spiky or pointed and massage of the dog's neck in an effort to move the obstruction should be avoided. A dog suffering from such a foreign body will be unable to swallow and no food should be given by the mouth as vomiting will follow and the action of regurgitation may cause the foreign body to perforate the oesophagus.
Veterinary treatment is urgently necessary.

A dog sometimes gets a fragment of straw or sawdust in the eye. In summer time grass seeds and barley haws can cause very serious trouble. This is indicated by the dog having one or both eyes tightly shut and a profuse watery discharge. The lids are sometimes swollen and the dog will inflict further injury by pawing or rubbing. The eyelids must be separated and the eye carefully examined to locate the foreign body. If not immediately noticeable, the eyelid should be gently turned back. Providing that the foreign body is not attached to the eyeball itself, it should be removed using the moist comer of a piece of surgical gauze. If the foreign body is attached to the eyeball, or if it cannot be seen, then the services of a Veterinary Surgeon must be obtained.

Foreign bodies in the ear, such as grass seeds etc., work their way down into the external canal of the ear resulting in acute irritation. The dog holds its head on one side, whimpers, and is in obvious discomfort. If left untreated secondary infection takes place. Daily inspection of the dog's ears can obviate almost all chance of this happening. The seed is seen lodged in the hairs in the upper part of the earn and can quite simply be removed without any danger of injury to the dog. Under no circumstances must you probe or poke in the ear as you will not only push the foreign body further into the ear but you could cause inevitable harm to the earn. Do not attempt to float out the foreign body with oil or any other liquid poured into the ear. All this will do is make the Veterinary Surgeon's job more difficult by obscuring his range of vision when he examines the ear with an instrument called an auroscope.

Large, smooth foreign bodies such as golf balls, stones, marbles and bones are the commonest foreign bodies to become arrested in the stomach. The dog may show various signs of distress, according to the amount of inflammation or obstruction. In the stomach, these foreign bodies produce a mechanical gastritis, even actual ulceration, if they are present for some time. Vomiting is a constant symptom, varying in frequency with the degree of gastritis present. Inappetance, or disinclination to feed, is also seen, to a greater or lesser extent, and the temperature may be 102 - 103.50F or more, the back is arched, the dog has a tucked-up appearance, a tight skin, signs of abdominal pain and constant scratching. (See also Abdominal pain).
Whenever a foreign body is suspected NEVER give castor oil or any other purgative. Such dosing may cause serious trouble.

Small fragments of bone may become lodged in the rectum. These can often be felt by gently inserting a carefully greased finger. Restraint such as a muzzle may be required to perform this examination, or some person holding the dog's head. They are also evidenced by the animals' behaviour. Intense pain during the passing of a motion, or inability to perform this task, straining, or probably a little blood-stained faeces are all symptoms. The Veterinary Surgeon usually employs a general anaesthetic to ensure easy removal of the object; this not only frees the animal from pain but also stops the spasm of the anal sphincter, the very strong muscle surrounding the end of the rectum. Do not give a purgative, or an enema in such cases. If you are certain of the cause of the trouble and can feel the bone via rectum, a sedative may be given before the Veterinary Surgeon arrives, but if this is done he must be informed.

Fits, puppies
Fits in puppies are frequently caused by worms, especially during teething troubles, occurring when the puppies are out at exercise. In these circumstances the attack is often of the hysterical type, the puppy rushing about screaming, barking, passing urine and foaming at the mouth - even giving the impression of madness.
Treatment - If the attack occurs out of doors pick the puppy up by the back of the neck so that it cannot bite and carry it home. Repeatedly apply a cold sponge to the head. If worms are suspected seek veterinary advice. Diet should be as recommended by the Veterinary Surgeon.

Fits (Epileptic)
The actual cause of epilepsy is not fully understood but some cases are known to be associated with certain line breeding. Dogs of all ages and breeds are subject to epilepsy, and if they have had an epileptic attack when young they are liable to them all through life. Intermittent fits occurring throughout life are usually hereditary. Most dogs have fits, which commence whilst they are asleep or at rest. Take care to avoid the possibility of being bitten.
Epileptic fits, like all others, come on quite suddenly. The dog may be going along quietly when all at once he is noticed walking with unsteady gait and perhaps in a circle, he then falls to the ground in convulsions, the whole body and limbs twitch violently, the jaws champing, and saliva, frequently frothy owing to the champing of the jaws, flows from the mouth. Urine may be passed involuntarily. After a few moments the dog gets up, looks about in a vacant manner and then rushes off if not restrained. In all cases veterinary advice must be obtained.

General - Fractures are the result of injury to the normally firm skeletal tissue - bone. Fractures may be of three main types:

1 . Simple fracture - The bone is broken in one place and there is little displacement (i.e., little disrupture of surrounding tissues, and the broken ends remain fairly close together).

2. Multiple fractures - the bone is fractured in more than one place.

3 . Compound fracture - the fracture involves gross displacement or damage to surrounding tissues, the broken ends are not in alignment and may even be protruding through the skin.It will be seen that the compound fracture is by far the most serious.
Not only is theredisplacement of the broken ends but if the skin is broken the bone tissue may be contaminated by dirt and bacteria. It should always be remembered that a fracture, or a suspected fracture, should be attended to by a veterinary surgeon as promptly as possible. Some fractures (e.g. those affecting ribs, joints and deep tissues like the pelvis) can be diagnosed only by examining the injured area by X-ray. In compound fractures where there has been damage to, and possible infection of, the bone tissue itself antibiotics such as penicillin and streptomycin are widely used. Some fractures, typically those of certain parts of the pelvis, are impossible to splint or pin and these may therefore heal only with enforced rest and time and certain special aids. First-aid in cases of fractures can be important indeed, and if carried out properly it may prevent a simple fracture becoming a compound one. Common sense and a little knowledge can also prevent or lessen the extent of infection in cases of compound fracture.

1 Simple fracture and
2 Multiple fractures

The first requirement in the facture case is to give support to the injured limb. This willprevent displacement of the broken ends, aid subsequent healing, limit shock, pain and haemorrhage. To attain this end, the limb should be fixed or supported in as near the natural alignment or position as is possible. Simple fractures are commonest in the long bones, i.e., the main bones of the limbs, and the best support is given by splints. Frequently these must, of necessary, be simple as available materials may be crude and inadequate.
A suitably shaped stick tied in a position by two handkerchiefs may be a rough support but it may help greatly in preventing further injury. A flat lath or ruler lightly bandaged in position is quite a good support. To apply a splint, gently bring the limb into as natural a position as possible, lay the support along the limb in the most comfortable and natural position (e.g. in the Fore-leg along the front of the leg), then apply two bandages firmly but gently, the first at the uppermost extremity of the limb, the second at the bottom. If bandages are not available strips of sheeting or a couple of handkerchiefs may have to suffice.
Finally, if practicable bandage the whole limb lightly, entirely enclosing the splint and the limb. Above all, whether it is possible to splint the limb or not, avoid moving the patient as much as possible and avoid leaving the limb without some support, if only a cushion or a supporting hand. Puppies can be carried, the injured limb being supported by one hand.

3 . Compound fractures
First aid measures in these cases must often be limited to the prevention of contamination by bacteria of the broken ends of the bone or of the skin wound. If the displacement is not great a supporting splint may be applied as in cases of simple fracture, otherwise a clean handkerchief, bandage or pad tied over the area of wounding is the best immediate action to take. Surgical cleaning will have to be done under an anaesthetic in such cases when the damage can be more easily assessed and any foreign objects and portions of broken bone or skin removed.

Briefly, the main principles to be followed in all cases of fracture or suspected fracture are:
1 . Keep the damaged area in as near a natural position as possible.
2. If possible, give permanent support to maintain this position, i.e., a splint.
3 . Avoid movement of the damaged area and, above all, do not knock or jar it against anything.
4. If there is any skin wound, keep it quite clean. Do not bathe this unless you are sure it is only skin deep.
Treat for shock. Convey to Veterinary Surgeon.

Heat Stroke
This is more likely to occur if Police Dogs are mistakenly shut in on a hot day. Immediate action is important as collapse and heart failure may occur quite rapidly. Remove the dog to as cool a spot as possible. The animal should be carried and not allowed to exert itself in any way. A room with a stone floor is ideal, and the animal should be laid on its right side with the left side uppermost. A current of air helps greatly and fanning the dog will increase the intake of fresh air. The head and back of the neck should be douched with cold water, or, if ice is available, an ice pack or compress applied. The mouth should be sponged out with cotton wool or a handkerchief wrung out in cold water, and saliva wiped away so far as is possible. If the animal has collapsed, smelling salts or ammonia solution held within an inch or two of the nose win often help. A few drops of brandy on the tongue, then a thorough swabbing of the throat to remove the mass of saliva which accumulates and which the collapsed animal is unable to get rid of himself. The patient must be kept absolutely quite for about half an hour after his recovery, or until he has been examined by a veterinary surgeon, as exertion might result in damage to the strained and fatigued heart.

Urticaria (Nettlerash)
Generally the result of some allergy due to eating some unsuitable protein food and sometimes actually caused by stinging nettles or insect bites, for example flea-bites on abnormally tender skins. The common feature is with G.S.D. puppies caused by mosquitoes. Swollen patches suddenly appear on the skin, in one part, or all over the body. If there ears are affected they may become nearly half-an-inch thick, and in other cases the dog is temporarily blind owing to the swollen condition of the eyelids. As a rule Nettlerash passes off quickly with proper treatment, but it is liable to recur once a dog has had it, and will then sometimes be brought on by indigestion. During an attack keep the dog warm and quiet and consult veterinary surgeon as this condition can be indicative of certain agricultural pesticides.

This is usually caused by the dog not being properly washed, or when soap is used and not properly rinsed off. It is extremely difficult to cleanse a long-haired dog if solid or soft soap is used. A recognised shampoo will clear the Dandruff. 'Flea Dirt' and other parasitic excrement may also be mistakenly confused with Dandruff.

Common Poisons and Their Antidotes
Remove all possible sources of poisoning from your dog i.e., old paint tins, artificial manure, seed dressings, putty, crop sprays and rat poisons. Avoid kennels which have been creosoted or tar-red on the interior or had any other part painted with lead paint. Avoid the use of neat carbolic as a disinfectant, likewise creosote or tar, these are contaminated poisons. If met with they should be quickly removed from the coat by use of lard, butter or margarine, or pure dettol, then rinsed off with hot water. Call Veterinary Surgeon immediately, but if poison is known whilst awaiting his call, treat as follows:-

Narcotics Chiefly sleeping pills - give stimulant, smelling salts, strong tea, induce vomiting with washing soda (Soda Carb) size of hazel nut pushed down gullet.

Acids Do not make sick. Dose with chalk or lime solution - water.

Alkalis Dose with vinegar - egg white, milk, linseed oil.

Arsenic (Rat poison) and Weed Killer. Make sick (Washing soda) - follow with white of egg - milk or barley water, keep warm.

Carbon Monoxide (From exhaust fumes and paraffin heaters)

Artificial respiration - add oxygen if possible. Give stimulant when awake.

Iodine Give emetic - washing soda, dose with starch.

Laburnum or Lupin Stimulate, strong tea, purge with Epsom Salts - then repeat tea.

Lead From paint, putty, lead shot, - Epsom Salts 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful.

Nicotine Fruit tree sprays - give strong tea, wrap and keep warm.

Strychnine Emetic, Washing Soda - Epsom Salts purge.

Phenol Including Lysol, Creosote, Bitumen, Coal Tar,
Epsom Salts 1/2 - 1 teaspoon. Externally treat with lard, butter, margarine, warm castor oil.

Phosphorous Rat poison - Epsom Salts - follow with white of egg. Not oil.

Ranunculus (Buttercup, spearwart, crowfoot) Epsom Salts - strong tea.

Rhododendron 1 - 2 tablespoon Castor Oil - Smelling Salts may be needed.

Snake Bite Adders - Ligature above bite if possible, release after 15 minutes then re-apply. Cut open wound in several directions, apply Pot-Permang Solution.

Sodium Chlorate (Weed Killer). I teaspoonful of salt to pint of water.

Turpentine Emetic - Washing Soda, purge with Epsom Sales 1/2 - 1 teaspoonful to tumbler of water.

Warfarin Rat and Mice Poison. When searching out buildings and basements etc., observe if small carton of blue/grey material left about liable to contaminate dog's paws and coat and he proceeds to lick it off. Does not seem to affect all dogs - but when it does it can be fatal.

Snake Bites
Adders are the only venomous reptiles found in England, usually on unfrequented moors, but adder bites are very dangerous to dogs, although in Great Britain they are not usually fatal if treated immediately. 'Me bitten limb will swell considerably and often very quickly. The wound made appears to cause a good deal of pain, and the dog will lick it frequently. Immediate action is essential. Make 1/4" crisscross (+) incision over the bite, if it is on the leg, with a firm ligature of cord tied with a reef-knot above the bite. If there is any swelling, the ligature should be above the swelling. This will prevent the poison from being absorbed further into the bloodstream. Immediately thereafter, squeeze out the blood and serum from above and below the bite. Then insert a few granulates of Per-manganate of potash into the wound and apply cold water pads.
In districts where adders are found, it is wise to carry a few granules of the permanganate of potash in a small bottle, so that if a dog should be bitten it can be applied at once. It should be rubbed on to the wound just as it is - the plain crystals applied full strength. If a Veterinary Surgeon is quickly available with anti-venom serum, this is the quickest and most reliable method. Death can result from shock alone.
Keep the dog warm. Stimulants of hot coffee or tea may be given. Obtain veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Sores (Pressures Sores)
Certain Police Dogs sometimes are subject to these, which are caused by pressure and congestion of the blood in the affected areas generally over the elbows and hocks. Daily application of vegetable oil massaged into the affected area is a useful first aid measure.
These sores can be prevented by attention to hygiene (clean bedding), massage with methylated spirits to harden the skin in danger areas, and preventing the dog lying on unprotected concrete floors.

Dogs can sprain their limbs whilst engaged in operational searches or when romping about, especially the stifle joint (the joint corresponding to the knee of a human being). The dog goes very lame and carries the leg for some time afterwards and, if care is not taken, he may become permanently lame. The join is swollen, especially on the inside, where a distinct swelling can be felt. It is also painful, especially if the foot is drawn forward and when standing still the dog keeps on his toes with the foot of the injured limb just behind the other. Seek veterinary advice. A light diet is necessary as the dog may not be able to take exercise for some time.

Stings are common in summer months and are, of course, acutely painful. They are usually caused by wasps, bees or hornets, and the usual site of their attack is in the mouth, owing to the dog snapping at the insect. The animal shows extreme discomfort, scratching and pawing at the mouth and salivating profusely.
The mouth or area stung should be thoroughly bathed with a solution of bicarbonate of soda made up in tepid or warm water. A concentration of I tablespoonful of household bicarbonate to I - 2 pints of water should be used; this is quite harmless if swallowed. Ordinary washing soda may be used instead; in this case, the sting area may be wiped with a crystal of this, or a solution of 1 teaspoonful to 1/2 pint of warm water may be applied. The bathing should be continued for at least five minutes and can be repeated every 10 minutes or so until the irritation has subsided. In the case of bee stings, it may be possible to remove the hair-like sting with forceps.
If veterinary help is within a reasonable distance, it is as well to have the animal examined as soon as the initial bathing has been done. An injection of an anti-histamine will greatly relieve the local irritation and swelling. It will also prevent any systemic disturbances. If the sting is on the inside of the throat, veterinary aid must be urgently obtained, as this is liable to cause asphyxiation.
The above remarks apply also to Urticaria except, of course, that the areas affected are usually greater and the degree of irritation not so severe.

Teeth Diseases
Police Dogs properly fed very rarely suffer from trouble with their teeth, which are thickly and entirely covered with enamel. When dogs are consistently fed upon soft food, however, their gums soften and recede from the teeth which loosen in consequence. In addition, tartar accumulates on their teeth and this in time also affects the gums and causes them to recede. Therefore, it is advisable to remove any tartar from the teeth by scraping, which can easily be done with a tooth scaler, but if excessive, veterinary advice must be sought. Older dogs sometimes suffer from Pyorrhoea, which causes the breath to become very offensive. In such cases the teeth should be thoroughly scraped and cleaned the loose ones removed. Veterinary advice must be obtained. To keep the teeth clean, the dog should be encouraged to eat hard food.

A condition of the teeth sometimes occurs in which they become notched and spotted as a result of the enamel being eaten away. This loss of enamel is noticed almost exclusively when the permanent teeth have erupted, or come through the gums. While the condition frequently occurs as a result of the dog having had distemper before the second or permanent teeth are erupted, it cannot always be treated as an indication that the dog has had distemper, as it may be the result of any other very debilitating disease or run down condition inducing a calcium deficiency. Once the teeth have come through sound, the condition does not arise. There is no cure for it, as owing to the erosion the enamel has gone and, of course, cannot be replaced, but the mouth and teeth should be cleaned daily with diluted Amplexol or Antiseptic Lotion. It is inadvisable to accept a dog with 'distemper teeth' as they are liable to break off and in any case are reservoirs for disease germs.
Irregular permanent teeth are sometimes seen in puppies between 3 and 6 months of age and in such cases the adjoining milk teeth will be extracted by a Veterinary Surgeon if it is necessary, to allow room for the irregulars to straighten themselves naturally.

When a dog has a toothache, it will paw at its mouth or nose, move its haws around and rub its mouth along the ground. There is usually saliva present and he may whine. Veterinary examination is advisable.

Tooth Abscess
A soft swelling occurs below the eye which is generally done to the formation of an abscess at the root of the first molar tooth. The bone over this region is very thin and an abscess will cause a swelling from the size of a wheat seed to a hazelnut. This breaks out on the cheek and a running wound forms and remains until the tooth has been extracted. There is only one satisfactory treatment - the removal of the offending tooth, otherwise an indolent suppurating sore will result.

Temperature - taking of
A dog's temperature is normally 101.50F. It is, however, advisable to make an allowance of + or - 0.50F. This is due to the reactions of the dog during or immediately before the actual taking of the temperature, which could cause such a variation.
On every occasion that a dog's temperature is to be taken, a calm and reassuring attitude should be adopted by the handler. This should be maintained during the whole of the operation.
First, obtain a veterinary thermometer, remove it from its case and wipe it clean with a piece of cotton wool soaked in a mild antiseptic solution. (This removes any possibility of cross infection). The thermometer should then be held by the glass over the back of the hand and rotated until the light is reflected through the glass enabling the reading to be taken. This reading should be well below the normal temperature of the dog. If necessary, shake the thermometer down to ensure that the mercury level is below this temperature. (Care must be taken that the thermometer does not slip from the hand).
The thermometer should be lubricated using a little Vaseline or saliva. Next, the handler should kneel beside the dog on one knee and place the other gently but firmly inside the dog's stifle and resting against the stomach. (This is to avoid the dog sitting on the thermometer and thus causing damage to it or injury to himself). The handler should then take hold of the dog's tail about three inches from the root and raise it sufficiently to reveal the anus. The thermometer should then be inserted into the anus using a gentle rotating movement until it is entered to a depth of between 1 - 2 inches. It should be held in this position for the time indicated on the thermometer and which should have been noted at the time of cleaning. Normally this is 30 seconds. After this period, the thermometer should be removed again using a gently rotating action. The thermometer should then be wiped clean with a dry clean piece of cotton wool. The thermometer should then again be placed over the back of the hand and rotated until the reading is visible. This reading should be noted and related to the Veterinary Surgeon if requested. The thermometer should then be wiped clean with a piece of cotton wool which has been soaked in a mild antiseptic solution, then shaken down and checked to ensure that the reading is below the normal temperature level.
It should be replaced in its container and put away safely.
The handler should then wash his hands. Personal cleanliness!

Torsion of the Stomach
This is a condition where the stomach containing food twists at either end, thereby obstructing the exits of gases and food. Consequent the stomach slowly fills with gaseous ferment and commences to balloon.
This condition in the G.S.D. normally occurs in the older dog and generally after feeding, especially if the dog drinks water at the time of feeding.
In suspected cases, veterinary aid must be urgently obtained, as if stomach torsion is diagnosed, an operation is a matter of necessity.

Thorns in Pad
This minor mishap occurs frequently with dogs whose lives are not bounded by an asphalt road or concrete side-walk. It is only minor in nature, like a blister on a human foot, and if dealt with promptly and sensibly, the incident is soon forgotten. Look carefully at the pads as soon as the dog begins to limp or licks at his foot. If this is done the thorn will often be seen intact, its point embedded in the pad. With tweezers carefully grasp the stout end of the thorn and pull it out, taking care not to break it. When at home once more, bathe the foot thoroughly with warm water, dry, then dab with antiseptic. No further attention should be necessary.
If, however, the thorn has broken leaving only the sharp point in the pad, a good light, a sharp pair of eyes, and a pair of forceps are the most successful combination. Removal will have to be done at home, but little damage is likely to happen on the way as the dog will "carry" the tender limb. Fine pointed forceps are ideal, but depilatory (eyebrow plucking) forceps are quite useful. When the thorn has been removed, dab the point of entry with a little antiseptic. When, despite a thorough search, no sign of the thorn can be found, soak the foot thoroughly in warm saline, gently washing the pads at the same time. Sometimes a small crack or cut or split may be the cause of the pain, and minute granules of glass, dirt or sand getting lodged in these small wounds cause tenderness. This bathing should be repeated twice daily until the pain has gone.
If after 2 or 3 days there is any swelling, heat or pain, it is as well to consult your Veterinary Surgeon. The foreign body may have worked right into the fleshy portion of the pad and produced a small abscess. This will have to be opened under local anaesthetic, and then probed and cleansed to remove the cause of the trouble.

Toes, Swellings between (Interdigital Cysts)
Interdigital Cysts are small abscesses which form between the pads of the feet, usually caused by germs following penetration by grass awns, splinters, sand, grit, etc. Any foreign matter not completely removed and the part cleansed and treated can obviously cause such Cysts and may eventually affect several inter-claw spaces on all four feet. The dog licks almost continuously at the paws where inflammation commences and a swelling about the size of a pea, usually containing pus, forms. It has an inflamed appearance and causes considerable pain, the dog frequently being unable to put the foot to the ground. As its size increased the swelling becomes soft, and it usually breaks soon after reaching this stage. To hasten this, use warm saline soaks to the foot, repeating it two or three times until the swelling is soft, when it should be easily expressed. Afterwards apply diluted antiseptic.
Where a dog is subject to this trouble, veterinary attention will be necessary and steps must be taken to improve the foot hygiene of the dog and to improve its physical condition.

Tumours are hard swellings which, unlike abscesses, are not as a rule painful to the dog even when manipulated, and there is no fever as when an abscess is forming.
Tumours are very frequently found in the milk glands of bitches, particularly in the two Tear tests; they are quite small at first and may remain so for a long time, then, often without apparent cause, they commence to grow, sometimes becoming very large. In all cases of suspected tumour, veterinary advice must be obtained; it is useless to apply external drugs, such as antiseptic. Either hormone, or surgical treatment, or even spaying may be advised, and should be carried out without delay.

Urination - Inability to control (Incontinence)
Often seen in older spayed bitches when they have been sitting or even during sleep. If there is no internal disease or injury this can usually be corrected by hormone treatment, or operation.In older dogs this may be due to greatly increased thirst where there is some kidney disease.In all such cases of older dogs and bitches, veterinary examination must be sought.
Incontinence in a puppy, perhaps when he is undergoing training or when he may be crouching whilst being scolded, is due to fear and submission and he should not be punished further for the misbehaviour.

These occur on the skin surfaces anywhere on the body. For the most part they are benign and very slow in growth. Some are soft and pendulous like small grapes (blood warts), some are horny and flat with little or no "neck" where they join the skin. There are specific warts, due to a virus which are infectious. These occur on lips and gums and a piece of such a wart rubbed on a scratch in a healthy gum will infect and set up a crop of these "cauliflower" warts. Warts should always be treated by a Veterinary Surgeon. Warts on the eyelids, if broad-based, are best removed surgically before the irritation leads to scratching and raw surfaces which are slow to heal.

These fall into four principal categories; incised (when there is a clean cut, as from a knife), lacerated (when the skin and other parts are tom), contused (when bruising is also present) and punctured (when the wound is small and deep, as when caused by a sharp-pointed instrument or a dog's tooth).
As a preliminary to dealing with any wound, however small, always wash your hands.
When a small injury is badly contaminated with dirt and matted with dried blood, these must first be removed, using, plain soap and water only, in order to see the extent of the wound. Some injuries which appear very bad will be found to be quite minor after receiving this preliminary cleaning up. Carefully remove the hair for about an inch round the wound and, in a long haired dog, shorten any hair near it so that it cannot fall across the surface. Nail scissors (the straight kind) will be found useful for removing the hair round the edges of the wound, but be careful that hair does not enter the wound. Examine the cut or injury and if there are any loose shreds of skin, hair or other foreign matter in the wound itself, remove them with forceps previously sterilised by boiling for two minutes. The forceps will also be useful in examining the wound if it is at all deep. Always work with great gentleness and smoothness, never jabbing or prodding, and be as speedy as efficiency permits. Bathe the wound carefully with warm water and antiseptic, using gentle, sweeping strokes and not dabbing or rubbing. Use each piece of cotton wool once only and wipe away from the injury. Most wounds are better left unbandaged unless large in extent (when they should receive veterinary attention) or where they can be contaminated - for example, the foot. Lysol and household disinfectants should never be used for bathing wounds as they are usually poisonous or too strong. Dettol and T.C.P. make a useful antiseptic, properly diluted for dogs. Alternatively a saline solution can be used (one large teaspoonful of salt to a pint of boiled water). The subsequent dressing of the wound will depend on its type and gravity but, broadly speaking, the less injuries are touched the better, after the initial cleansing.
The tissues must have time to heal, and constant swabbing with even the mildest antiseptic is not advisable as sepsis is most unlikely to occur if the wound has been properly treated in the first place. It should be inspected daily but not touched unless there is any discharge. Once the wound is clean, subsequent blood clots and scabs need not be removed if clean in appearance, as they protect the injury. This does not apply to wounds of a deeply penetrating type, which must be kept open for free drainage, under veterinary advice. As long as the injury looks healthy and is drying up and the skin around a normal colour, all is well. With sepsis the skin surrounding the place is reddened and inflamed, the wound is either closed or partially so, there may or may not be considerable discharge, and the edges of the wound will be swollen, red, shiny and unhealthy looking. Such cases are, however, extremely rare as the overall small shallow wound heals with remarkable rapidity if properly treated.
When the skin is badly tom, or the cut longer than about an inch, it will need more elaborate treatment and suturing by a Veterinary Surgeon. Such cases are better not dressed by the owner as damager can easily be caused by unskilled handling. Dirt or other contamination can be gently removed with boiled water and the surface of the injury protected by a piece of lint and a bandage until the animal can be attended to by a Veterinary Surgeon. In the case of a cut requiring suturing, the lips of the wound should be brought together as closely as possible before applying the lint and the bandaging should be firm in order to keep the wound to some extent closed.
Never believe that animals suffer less than humans. Pain is the same for them that it is for us. Even worse, because they cannot help themselves
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Old 15-05-12, 04:07 PM
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Best ever post I could find on the topic. Its quite perfect enough as far
as the technicality is concerned but the content is not just enough.
I think you should add some more about other diseases. regards
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Old 15-05-12, 05:14 PM
Bryan's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South West England
Posts: 750
Good stuff!

Did a canine first aid course several months ago and got the certificate! Half a day well spent, and now carry a first aid kit in both cars.
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Old 15-05-12, 07:58 PM
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Great just when my kids have grown up I go and get a pup!! Now I can be a worry wart all over again. Seriously though a very informative article which I have already printed off and is pinned up in the kitchen.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:32 PM
phil d's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 84
I carry all kinds of emergency kit on board my vehicle,basically everything a police car carries, and last week I saw a first aid kit for dogs so now I carry one of them as well,just need a defibrillator and I,ve got the full kit lol.
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Old 07-11-12, 04:09 AM
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First aid

I do not have first aid kit in my home for my sweet little puppy,but it is very neccessory for everyone who has pets in his home.Yesterday,the dog of my neighbour bacame injured and he faced many problems because he had not any first aid kit.
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