Dog Concussion Care
Advice On How To Care For Your Dog If It Has Concussion.
As with humans, dogs, along with other pets, can suffer concussion through accidents, blows to the head, or any number of scenarios. Head trauma can be life-threatening and if you suspect your dog has concussion, getting him to a veterinarian for a checkup is a must. Dog concussion care is also an in-house thing, and you could make all the difference if you know the basics.
Causes of concussion in dogs
Dogs are always getting into trouble, and despite having hard heads and rigid necks, their brains are as supple as a human’s. When the brain shifts through trauma, it can lead to concussion and severe problems. Typical causes of dog concussion include motor vehicle accidents, running into trees, being hit by swings, and beaten. Swelling and bruising may ensue and lead to pressure on the brain which may cause unconsciousness.
Signs of concussion in dogs
After a blow to the head, many dogs become unconscious and their breathing may become heavy or very light. Stiffening of the limbs and an uneven gait generally follow a period of unconsciousness.
Dog concussion giveaways
- Head tilted
- Stiff legs
- Flaccid legs
- Dilated or differing pupil size
- Irregular eye movement
- Bleeding nostrils or ears
If a dog displays none of these signs, however, it may not necessarily mean that they do not have a concussion. In fact, there may be no signs at all, only later for the dog to become disoriented after the brain has swollen and put pressure on the spinal cord, for example. Monitoring is, therefore, essential.
How to care for a dog with concussion
If you suspect your dog has a concussion, place her in a quiet, darkened room and cover her with blankets. While keeping her warm, place a flannel with ice on the head and then concentrate on keeping her as quiet and comfortable as possible while awaiting the arrival of the veterinarian. Under no circumstances should you feed your dog or give her anything to drink during dog concussion care, for fear of choking. After being seen by the professionals, your dog will likely need to be re-evaluated a few days later. You will need to be the eyes and ears of the veterinarian and constantly monitor the dog’s progress; checking in particular on appetite and interest levels, especially if put on meds.
Common post-concussion care
- Administer pain killers (analgesics), such as butorphanol, if appropriate.
- Lubricate eyes with drops if blinking has diminished.
- Keep tabs on your dog's activity levels and appetite.
- Keep your dog at home at all times when providing dog concussion care.
- Be careful when treating your dog to avoid being bitten.
Post-concussion re-evaluation may take place a few days after being seen by the veterinarian, although the exact time will depend on the severity of the injury. Recovery could take in the order of several months if there are signs of neurological damage. If this is the case, thorough dog concussion care is imperative.
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