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Common Injury in Dogs: Car Accidents

02/21/2016 by Healthy Paws
February 21st, 2016 by Healthy Paws
        

One of the most common causes of injury in dogs is collisions with cars. We all know the story: Fido escapes from his leash and bounds for freedom, only to be hit by a car as he crosses the street. It’s important to protect your dog from car accidents, but also to recognize the types of injuries that can result.

Causes

A dog escaping from their house for a joyride of sorts is probably the number one cause of car accidents. A driver not paying attention is a close second. Deaf and blind dogs are also at a higher risk.

Types of Injuries Resulting From Accidents

  • Muscle sprains. This type of injury arises from less serious collisions, but your dog should still be seen by a veterinarian. Failure to do this can cause lameness and reduced mobility in the joint. Symptoms of muscle sprains include swelling, pain, and – depending on the injury’s severity – either limping or complete inability to move the limb. To diagnosis your pet’s condition, your vet will perform a physical exam and an x-ray – the symptoms of sprains are similar to those of minor fractures. Splinting the joint and prescribing anti-inflammatory medications are the most common treatments, but in some cases surgery may be necessary to repair the muscle.
  • Bone fractures. The most common injury resulting from car accidents, this occurs when a sudden force or pressure is applied to the limb, causing the bone to crack or snap. Internal bleeding can accompany this injury when bones puncture organs or blood vessels. There are many types of fractures, but swelling, inability to move the limb, and evident pain are universal symptoms. Treatment depends on the type and location of the fracture; various splints, casts, plates, screws, and pins are all used to stabilize the bone. For more severe breaks, surgery is required, accompanied by pain medications to aid recovery.

Prevention

Unless you’re in a fenced backyard, always leash your dog outside – especially when there are other dogs around. All dogs have a mischievous streak and may try to escape given an opportunity! Keep your dog on a leash or safely barricaded inside when they’re out of your eye sight. During walks, put your dog on the inside of the sidewalk, away from the road. When you’re driving, pay close attention in residential areas.

Injuries caused by dog-car collisions can be easily avoided; keep a close watch on your dog and on the road when driving. Muscle sprains and bone fractures are injuries that can arise from these accidents and require veterinary attention. Keep in mind that accidents do happen, even to the most responsible pet parents!






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