Beautiful sunny autumn days with mild temperatures entice owners, mistresses and quadrupeds for long walks in the countryside. The dog schools have resumed operation and also dog breeds, such as Pug or bulldogs who stayed home during the summer heat reoccupy dog zones and greenery. No wonder that with so much hustle and bustle also problems occur; For example, if two can not smell. If one dog is very large and the other very small, this can have dramatic consequences for the weaker one. But brawling is not the only problem – especially younger, playful dogs are very endangered by chestnuts lying on the ground: Can they roll like a ball with the paw, with the muzzle throw up and catch again. Unfortunately, this game often ends with the ingestion of the chestnut and with an intestinal obstruction. Since both the biting of unequal partners and the intestinal obstruction can be fatal, from the magazine “my PET” Dr. Degasperi from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna asked what to do in case of cases.
Again and again it happens that small dogs, after being bitten by big ones, make it appear that not much has happened. Often the little four-legged friends only get very bad after a few days and in the worst case they die. Why does not the pet owner realize earlier that his little darling was seriously injured?
Dr. Degasperi: When a big dog beats with a very small dog, the big one usually grasps the little one’s teeth in the area of the front rib cage, lifts him up and shakes him. The dog owners drive in between, the big one lets the little one fall and the owner of the little four-legged friend breathes first, because apart from small scratches in the skin, no major injuries are visible. In some breeds, such as Zwergspitz is also to blame for the thick coat that the injuries are overlooked. Only days later, the little dog is taken to the vet because he suddenly feels sick. The reason why the severity of the injury was not recognized right after the bite is as follows: The bite marks are barely visible from the outside because the skin on the ribcage shifts when the little dog is let go. However, the small Ritzer, which the owner sees outside, are only the tip of the iceberg – the serious injuries lie in the depths.
What motivates the dog owner to take the animal days to the vet after the bite?
Dr. Degasperi: The owner suffers from swelling of the chest, often breathing difficulties of the animal or this is extremely quiet, because it has pain. If – as in such cases very often – the lungs were injured, the animals are brought earlier, because the owners notice that the dog is bloated in the thorax area and sometimes there is also a crackling under the skin. The reason for this is that air escapes from the injured lung and collects partly in the chest cavity and partly under the skin, or that air can be sucked in from under the skin.
How do you approach the clinic here when such a case arrives?
Dr. Degasperi: The patient is first shaved extensively, so that the bite and the counterbite can be examined. Then it is clarified by an X-ray from the ribcage whether there are rib fractures and injuries to the lungs. The wound is rinsed and examined to determine the extent of the injuries. Also a blood laboratory is made. Only then can the surgical treatment of the injuries begin.
These are the most common damages caused by such a ribcage bite?
Dr. Degasperi: Simple or multiply broken ribs are a common finding – no wonder, considering how delicate the ribs of dwarf breeds are and how strong the dentition of large dogs can be. Broken ribs are very dangerous. Pet 9: Clinic for Diagnostic Imaging, Vetmeduni Vienna because they can pierce the lungs and seriously injure them. But also bruises of the subcutaneous tissue and tears of the intercostal muscles make the bite victim to work. Soft tissue bruising is often already purulent when the dogs are brought to us to the clinic. Also bites in the lungs can be found again and again, but also bruises of the lungs by the biting of the big dog are a frequent finding.
What does the therapy look like?
Dr. Degasperi: The therapy depends on the extent of the damage. If not much has happened except for a lung squeeze, it heals by itself within a period of one to two weeks. Until the dog can breathe normally, he should be spared and if it is not absolutely necessary, should be waived until then, anesthesia. In the case of rib fractures and / or lung injuries – z. For example, by a bite or a drilled rib – the chest cavity must be surgically opened. Broken ribs are stabilized by a nail, so they do not sting again in the lungs. Free pieces of ribs are removed. In lung injuries usually only a small piece of lung is removed, a whole lung lobe is rarely taken away. Sometimes the lungs are just sewn. In any case, it must be prevented that air from the lungs can continue to escape into the thorax. In chest openings and very severe lung damage, the air is removed from the chest via a hose. In such a case, the animals must be hospitalized at the clinic. Since the small BissOpfer usually not immediately be brought to the vet, parts of the soft tissue are already dead and must be removed. For this reason, there is insufficient tissue for wound closure, so that an open wound treatment with wet-dry dressings must be done. A once or twice daily dressing change is necessary. The patients are also supplied with antibiotics and painkillers. The wound grows slowly – the period can be two weeks to a few months. Usually the dogs stay at the animal hospital for three to five days and are then referred to the veterinarian for further care. Of course, the further treatment is discussed by the clinicians with the pet doctor.
What do you advise owners of small dogs when they are bitten?
Dr. Degasperi: Even if the dog shows hardly any signs of injury on the outside, you should immediately consult a veterinarian and have your dog X-rayed. The sooner the extent of the injuries is detected, the sooner the small dog will survive and the less complicating the course of the cure will be.
Thank you for your detailed answers, but now for the second problem: chestnut avenues are very nice, but in the fall for our dogs are not completely safe. How dramatic is it when Bello ingests a chestnut?
Dr. Degasperi: Especially playful younger dogs, it is easy that they swallow a chestnut. In older dogs this is rather rare – the play instinct is not so big anymore. Mostly, the dog owner does not realize that his darling has swallowed a chestnut. Only when the animal refuses the feed, no feces settles and vomits, the veterinarian is visited. However, the diagnosis is not always easy to make, because most of the swallowed chestnut, but not always immediately a complete intestinal obstruction is triggered. In case of incomplete intestinal obstruction, the animal shows nonspecific symptoms, similar to gastrointestinal inflammation. An incomplete closure of the intestine can not always be determined in the X-ray, which is why an ultrasound examination should always be done. Often it takes a few days until the intestinal obstruction is complete. The dog has abdominal pain and it is getting worse and worse, and he also vomits the water. Now should be operated on quickly, otherwise the affected piece of intestine can die off, break the chestnut into the abdominal cavity and the patient die of peritonitis.
Is the operation very difficult?
Dr. Degasperi: If the intestine is still intact, it is a routine operation. The abdomen is opened and the inside of the abdominal cavity is carefully inspected. The part of the intestine in which the chestnut is inserted is placed on the sterile surgical drape and opened over the chestnut. The chestnut is removed, the intestine is closed again, the abdomen is rinsed and then sutured again. The outer abdominal sutures are removed after ten to fourteen days by the veterinarian. As the aim is a quick recovery after the operation, the animals are allowed to eat quickly – was the operation in the evening, then on the following morning with a careful feeding of the patient started. In a more complicated course of surgery – for example, if parts of the intestine are already dead – the animals get introduced after the operation of a food probe through the esophagus into the stomach and are fed so. The probe will be removed immediately if the dogs pick up food on their own.
Why is it so important that the operated animal is fed as fast as possible? Could not you just give infusions?
Dr. Degasperi: No, infusions would not be just as good. Because the intestine needs to heal nutrients that he receives himself. In addition, the intestinal peristalsis (movement of the intestine for further transport of the feed) for the blood circulation and thus for the healing important. After the operation also the protein in the blood is determined. If there is too little protein in the blood, it must be added so that the intestinal suture does not open and healing progresses well. The hospital stay usually takes two to three days.