Handling Emergencies

The dachshund is a tough little dog that on occasion does not look before it leaps. As a result, you may find yourself plucking your dachshund out of a variety of dangerous situations. To prepare yourself for these emergencies, it is helpful to have a little knowledge of what you can do while someone is driving you to the emergency veterinarian.

Heat Stroke

All breeds of dogs can suffer from being outside on hot days, especially if they are active and become dehydrated. Locking a dog in a car on a hot day — even for a few minutes — can make his core temperature skyrocket, causing death. A dog that has severely overheated will initially show signs of excessive, rapid panting, increased drooling, vomiting, and bright red gums.

From this point, the dachsie can go into severe shock. Symptoms of shock are a rapid, shallow heartbeat, lips and gums that are pale, overall extreme weakness, and dilated pupils. The dog may become unconscious; death is imminent at this point if she is not treated immediately.

At the first sign of overheating, move your dog to a cool, ventilated area and place him in a container of cool water, or pour cool water directly over him. You can also wrap the dog in cool, wet towels and direct cool air toward him. Keep his head slightly below his body to encourage continued blood flow to the brain, and rush him to the closest veterinary clinic.

You can prevent heat stroke by keeping a cool, fresh water supply available to your dachsie at all times, making sure your dachshund is an indoor dog with outside play times, and paying close attention to your dog's condition while exercising on hot days.

Insect Stings

A fatal reaction to a sting from a bee, hornet, or wasp is relatively rare; however, dachshunds often react to these stings with hives and acute swelling of the face and muzzle. If your dog is stung but doesn't seem to have much discomfort or swelling, remove the stinger with tweezers (if you can find it), pack the location of the sting with an ice pack, or apply a paste mixture of baking powder and water to the sting. This will help neutralize the venom.

If your dog experiences swelling of the mouth and airways, she may be having an anaphylactic reaction, which may result in an inability to breathe and possibly death. She may also go into shock after being stung. In either case, this is an all-out emergency. Symptoms of shock are rapid, shallow heartbeat; pale lips and gums; weakness, dilated pupils; and/or unconsciousness. Get your dachshund to the veterinarian's office immediately!

Dogs in pain will bite. If your dachshund has suffered a grave injury, make a muzzle for her before attempting to move her to your car. Take a pantyhose leg, piece of gauze, scarf, or similar item, and bring the ends from under her muzzle, tying a knot on top of her muzzle. Wrap the ends back underneath the muzzle and tie a knot here, too. Then take the ends and tie behind the dog's ears. Remove the muzzle as soon as you've finished moving the dog into your car so that she can open her mouth to pant.

Spider Bites

Spider bites can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, even lethal. Two spiders in particular, the black widow and the brown recluse, cause the greatest number of injuries among canines.

The bite from a black widow doesn't look like much, just a tiny red dot and maybe some swelling. The venom, however, affects the dog's nervous system, causing him to drool, become weak and unsteady on his feet, and experience difficulty breathing, muscle spasms, and convulsions. This spider bite requires immediate veterinary medical care.

The brown recluse spider's bite will cause a fluid-filled blister to form that is painful to the touch. The tissues surrounding the blister will blacken as they die. Surgical removal of this entire area is critical to prevent the spread of venom. See your veterinarian immediately. While transporting your dog to the veterinarian, have someone keep him quiet and still. Also, attempt to keep the bite area below the level of the dog's heart in order to slow the spread of venom throughout his system.

Snake Bite

Symptoms of a poisonous snakebite can be quite severe, and symptoms appear quickly: difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid pulse, and shock. Nonpoisonous snakebites can cause nasty infections. Therefore, any snakebite requires immediate veterinary care. On the way to the veterinary clinic, keep the area of the bite below the level of the dog's heart to slow the travel of venom through the lymph system. Describe the snake as best you can, if you saw it, so the veterinarian can choose the right antivenom, if necessary.

Dogs (particularly fearless ones) run a greater risk of receiving snakebites to the face or front legs. The most common poisonous snakes that dogs tangle with are copperheads, coral snakes, water moccasins, and rattlesnakes.

Choking

Dachshunds can choke on a variety of items. Symptoms of choking are a harsh cough; projectile vomiting, if the lodged item breaks free; a noisy, sucking sound as the dog attempts to get air around the lodged item; and frantic pawing at the mouth. If something is totally blocking the dog's airway, she will quickly pass out.

If your dog is choking and can't clear the object on her own, try to remove the stuck item by reaching down her throat and pulling it out. Be careful not to push or force the item farther down her throat. (Be forewarned that a panicked dog may bite.)

If you can't reach the blockage, lie the dog on her side on the ground with her rear end slightly elevated. Locate the end of her rib cage with your fingers. Place the flat of your hand just beneath these ribs, and forcefully push in and upward toward the lungs. This motion should force air out of the lungs, blowing the choking item clear. If not, continue to give the dog more compressions — as someone else speeds you to the emergency veterinary clinic.

Keep the telephone numbers of your veterinarian and the after-hours emergency veterinary clinic displayed prominently in your home. Additionally, take a drive from your home to the after-hours emergency clinic before you need their services.

Bleeding

If your dachshund has a bleeding wound, apply pressure directly to the injury and get to the veterinarian's. Severe injuries that are gushing blood are indicative that an artery has been damaged. Apply pressure above the wound at a pressure point for the artery and have someone help you rush the dog to the veterinarian. (Your veterinarian can show you where the pressure points are on your dachsie during your next regular visit.)

Only use a tourniquet as a last resort to stop bleeding, and tighten it only to the point that the bleeding stops. Tourniquets are extremely dangerous, and their use may cause the loss of a limb.

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