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5 Hidden Dangers of Dog Fights

2012 February 28

Top Five (5) Surprise Sequelae to Dog Fights

This week, we’ve seen several dogs attacked by other dogs.  Obviously, the bite wounds themselves are not healthy.  However, each of these dogs suffered problems the veterinarian needs to treat.

Danger 1: Massive Infection

Obviously, a bite wound causes bacteria from the biter’s mouth to become embedded or injected into the bitee.  Your dog needs antibiotics within 8- hours to help prevent infection from taking hold.

Not so obvious are the infections that develop after tissue necrosis.  Let me explain.  A tooth drags across the skin and compresses the skin, fat and muscles underneath.  That skin becomes inflamed and sore.  Bacteria lodge in the inflamed area and a pocket of pus becomes apparent days after the initial incident.  This is surprising and disconcerting to most pet parents.  It often requires additional surgery and a repeat trip to the animal hospital.

Danger 2: Punctures Into Internal Organs

A tiny bite in the surfacethat just looks like a little rent in the skin can signal a large hole in the body wall muscles, or even a hole into the chest cavity, causing massive internal damage.  Radiographs (X-Rays) are often useful in these suspected situations.

Danger 3: Injuries Far Away From the Bite Site

The veterinarian examines your pet thoroughly because the sheer forces of the attack can send shock waves through the body and cause bone breaks and injuries further from the bite wound than you would imagine.

A complete physical examination and any additional imaging tests such as radiographs can help identify these problems so your pet is not in unnecessary pain and can be treated quickly.

Danger 4: Broken Teeth

Whether your dog was on the defense or the offense, broken teeth are an unfortunate, common result of a dog fight.  The canine (“fang”) teeth commonly snap off, leaving a painful, exposed pulp canal.  A pulp capping procedure is an option in the first 48 hours after injury. (We perform pulp capping at All Pet Care Hospital.)

If a tooth is snapped off at the gumline or below the gumline, then extraction of the useless root is needed.  (We performed two extractions of snapped canine this week after dog attacks.) After root removal, Consil bioglass material fills the tooth socket to strengthen the bone and aid healing.  Think of the Consil as a bone graft – without the hip surgery to find a bone donor site!

If enough of the crown is remaining, some dogs may be candidates for a root canal and capping.  Police dogs’ teeth can become broken this way  in the line of duty and a flashy silver cap can be a useful deterrent when a patrol dog has to chase down a suspect!

Danger 5: Behavior Changes With Your Other Dogs

“Doc, why is he fighting with my other dogs all of a sudden?” said Tyson’s dad.  The 5-year-old Rednose American Pit Bull Terrier never growled or fought with anyone in his life.  The week before, while on leash on his evening walk, a black Labrador Retriever mix seemed to fly out of the dark at Tyson.  Before he could react, the black dog bit his front legs and his right ear.  Then the black dog ran back into the night!

Since the incident, Tyson growls at his housemates when they come near him.  He protects his kennel, where he rests in the living room during the day, and he seems nervous on the leash on his walks, even in the daytime.

“It makes sense that he needs some behavior modification and support, and some environmental adjustments until he learns to trust again,” said Doc Springer.  “Imagine how shocked you felt when that dog came out of nowhere.  Now imagine how he feels!”

After an attack, your dog may need a behavior consultation and some remedies to help assimilate back into a daily routine.

If your dog is the attacker, you may also need a behavior consultation so you may continue caring for and loving your dog without fear of catastrophe.

Behavior consultations with Doc Truli in your home take a minimum of 60 minutes. Your dog will be assessed for physical and behavioral traits.  Most dogs also undergo basic blood testing with a behavioral evaluation.

YOu may have fixed the physical injuries, now book a house call to prevent long-term behavioral idiosyncracies.


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