Saturday, 7 January 2017

FROSTBITE Puppy are far more Susceptible


Often frostbite and hypothermia go hand in hand: both are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme cold. 

Frostbite is localized damage to tissue due to freezing temperatures in which the fluid in individual body cells is frozen. Frostbite usually occurs on areas less protected; like tips of the ears or tails or a dog's scrotum. These areas are also less protected by hair. 

Dogs do certainly get cold feet, but somehow it’s a rarity that they actually get frost bitten feet. Some vets believe the thicker skin on the pads protect the feet.; there is also the fact that dogs can tuck their feet in against their bodies.

If the skin freezes it no longer has a blood supply, the tissue will be pale white or bluish in colour.  Without a blood supply the tissue will die. You need to get your dog into a warm place.  Warming frozen tissue must be done slowly and very gently - do not rub, as this may fracture the frozen cells and do irreparable damage. Frostbitten tissue may peel.  Warm the tissue with a hairdryer on low heat or with warm water. If circulation does return, this tissue will be red and swollen and extremely sore. 

Treat with antibiotic cream and bandage lightly. If severely frostbitten tissue doesn’t regain blood supply a Veterinarian will be needed to remove dead tissue.

Fortunately frostbite can be prevented in many cases. In extreme cold your dogs will

start lifting their feet and stop to lick them. These are indicators letting us know its time to bring them in. Frostbite can occur in as little as 15 minutes to exposed skin. If your dog lives outside you will need to make sure he stays warm and dry. Start with an insulated dog house only big enough to stand and turn around if it’s too big it will be harder for your dog to stay warm. The dog house should be sheltered from the wind.  The dog house should also be on some sort of platform off the frozen ground. Door flaps will help to keep drafty wind out.

Bedding can be shredded news paper or blankets - but blankets hold moisture. Fresh straw or hay is considered the best. All dogs need access to fresh water. In the winter it is even more important because dehydration happens more because the body is using up energy trying to stay warm. Electric pails are available to keep the water from freezing.  These precautions will help keep your dog safe from the winter hazards. 

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