Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blunt Force Trauma

It's been nearly a year since I added anything to this site, and the staff and I extend our deepest apologies to our loyal readership for being so lax. I will try to add bits and pieces in a more timely manner henceforth.

Now, on to a subject that everyone who runs gundogs, whether hunting the big woods, or in various FT games needs to be aware of, and prepared for, and that is the incidence of blunt force trauma. This point was driven home to me this season.
Dogs are quite prone to this injury, because of the speed at which they comb the woods, and the layout of their anatomy. The lungs are positioned very close to the front of the chest. If a dog running flat out encounters an object that can injure, this is the area that will take the brunt of the force.
My Sandy, the English Setter was running the grouse woods at high speed, as is her nature. This dog requires GPS, and luckily, she was wearing it. She was well off.. Out of bell range, but the Astro showed her at about 400 yards, and not moving.. Could she be on point? It was only our second day out on the season, and this would have been the first bird encountered. I started to make my way to her, but the GPS showed her headed back in, so I just waited.. She got back as close as she could, and collapsed on her side. Being only the second day out, I thought she just ran herself out... She was pretty tired when we quit the previous day.
But this was more than that... Her gums were gray. A touch showed poor capillary refill time. This was serious. I carried her out of the woods. We got back to the truck, I loaded her up, and headed for camp, where I called the closest Vet... 45 miles away, who said the bring her right down.
My wife and I wasted no time.. We were off immediately! We thought we might lose her on the wat down. Gums still very gray, and CRT very poor...
The Vet took her in immediately. The Tech started feeling her, asked her age?? 8 years, and stated she was starting to get "lumpy bumpy," which happens to many dogs as they age. I know this dog better than I know myself... My hands are on her all the time, and she had no bumps! But, here was a bump the size of a baseball on her chest! The area proceeded to get shaved to reveal a huge bruise. What happened was now starting to become obvious.
The Vet, a very nice gentleman, and very competent, confirmed our worst fears.. She needed to stay in hospital overnight, on IV fluids. He hoped that she would not crash overnight..
This dogs has not spent a night away from us in the last seven years, so it was a tough decision, but necessary.
We called about 9PM to check on her.. Contusions on her lung from blunt force trauma!

My wife and I obviously spent a horrific, and sleepless night!

The next morning we called.. She was alive and doing reasonably well. We drove down, not knowing if the Vet would release her. The staff was expecting our arrival, and brought Sandy out to us immediately. A consult with the Vet allowed us to bring her home, but three weeks rest was insisted upon. These folks had never had to live with a hard headed Setter that loves to run, and thinks she's in shape to do so..

So, in the end, it turned out well in our case. But, be prepared! Know what to look for and don't take chances. Know the location of the nearest Veterinary Clinic in the area you're working, and have the phone number handy... It just might save your friend's life...

Out thanks got out to Dr. Landenberger and his staff as Schroon River Animal Hospital in Warrensburg, New York... We're forever in your debt!

The photo shows the patient covering the woods at a speed that sometimes gets her in trouble!


  1. I'm glad to read that both your dog and you are still with us!

  2. Thanks Michael...

    We're all still kickin', although sometimes I have trouble rememberin' my name..LOL


  3. Great post Bill! Always good to check the gums.

    My Cassi ran right across a hole, catching the far side of the hole in her chest. Even though I could not see her when it happened, I could hear the air leave her lungs. Took her a day to recover, but she did. For the rest of that trip to Montana she dialed it down a notch.