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How to treat dog frostbite?

(August 19, 2011)

Frostbite can affect cats and dogs. It occurs from exposure to severely cold temperatures. It usually affects the ears, scrotum, tail and feet of the dog. Blood flow through the body ensures a supply of oxygen, nutrients and heat. When a part of the body is exposed to cold temperatures, the blood vessels of the region constrict and help the body in conserving heat. The tissues of the affected area get a reduced blood supply and hence may become very cold. The tissue can eventually die if it freezes. There are certain health conditions such as diabetes which may make a dog more prone to frostbite. Medications such as beta-blockers can also increase the risk of frostbite. The risk is elevated even when the surrounding conditions are windy or cold. A dog that gets wet may also suffer from frostbite. Here are some tips on how to treat dog frostbite.

Signs of frostbite in dogs include discoloration of the skin on the ears, tail and toes, pain, swelling, sloughing of the skin, skin ulcers and blisters. Tissues that are affected by frostbite may become gray or pale in appearance. The area will also feel hard and cold. Once it starts thawing, it may become red. In cases of severe frostbite, the tissue may become black in a few days time. When this happens, there is no pain that occurs. Pain and discomfort only occurs when the tissue becomes warm. In case you suspect frostbite in dogs, treatment must begin immediately. First warm the affected part with warm water. Ensure that the water is not too hot. You can also use warm compresses over the affected area. Do not use heat directly on the body with a hair dryer or heating pad. Once the area has been warmed, dry it properly with gentle movements. Avoid massaging or rubbing the body. Then have the dog examined at a pet clinic or by your veterinarian. If you have to take your pet to the clinic, keep him warm during that time with a blanket. Avoid giving the dog any medication unless it has been prescribed by the veterinarian. Human pain relieving medications may prove to be toxic to animals.

To prevent frostbite in dogs, it is important to keep them in dry and warm housing. Also have your dog examined by a vet to check if any medical problem or medication may make him more vulnerable to frostbite.
Submitted by N on August 19, 2011 at 02:05


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