Monday, October 25, 2021

Surfdogs: Beach Pet Care

Animal Hospital of Nags Head

Dear Dog Owners,
I've had the pleasure of owning and working at a small animal veterinary hospital here on the Outer Banks for the past fifteen years. Our wonderful beaches and sound areas offer our dogs many different ways to rump and play, yet there are certain hazards that are somewhat unique to our area that you should know about.

#1 Sprained Tails
If you have a breed of dog that enjoys crashing through the waves (Labs, Goldens), there is a chance that a wave could slam him down on his butt and severely sprain his tail. Initially he will act fine due to the excitement of the moment, yet later in the day the pain becomes very obvious. Your dog will carry his normally proud wagging tail in a most unusual manner-typically tucked between the back legs and touching the abdomen. When he goes to lay down he will circle multiple times indicating that he anticipates pain when the tail hits the floor. Treatment for this syndrome is anti-inflammatory drugs and tincture of time.

#2 Heat Prostration
Although heat prostration can occur anywhere, the incidence here at the beach is higher. People rush into the grocery store for a loaf of bread and all twelve check-out lines are ten deep; so the anticipated 5 minute visit takes 15 minutes. If your dog is in the car on a hot summer day especially if ht is a short faced breed (Pekingese, Pugs, Bull Dog), his temperature can spike to 106-109f within fifteen to twenty minutes. Treatment for this condition can sometimes work, yet many of these dogs will die.

#3 Tramas by Car
Our beautiful beaches and sounds areas lead us to believe that we are far from the hustle bustle of the cities, so we tend to give our dogs a little more freedom as they run and play. Although the beaches and sound areas seem very spacious north and south, our island is very narrow, and if your dog wonders several hundred yards, east to west he will encounter a very busy highway. Being killed by a car is by far the number one cause of death in dogs on the Outer Banks. Please, Please, Please keep your dog on a leash at all times!!!

Now go for a swim yourself.

Barrett Welch, DVM (Retired)
Animal Hospital of Nags Head (Sold)

Vol. 1 page 6
(Renamed business at this location January 2020 Sound Veterinary Hospital)

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