There seems to be an epidemic of large egos in the dog world lately.  We’ve seen a lot of big dog vs. little dog staking territory conflicts.  Most of the time the big dog wins, but occasionally a particularly feisty little dog inflicts great damage to a larger canine.

Several types of wounds can be inflicted in a dog fight which is why a trip to your family veterinarian is prudent to check for injuries.

Bite wounds, lacerations, and skin tears to or on the surface are easier to see and most likely easier to repair.  The other injuries are those that are not as readily apparent like head trauma, fractured ribs, internal hemorrhage, internal organ damage, or wounds that extend into the chest or abdominal cavity.  Unfortunately, we have seen all of these types of injuries, but fortunately, not all on the same dog.

All of these injuries can be life threatening and require veterinary care.  So even if there doesn’t seem to be a serious wound on the outside that requires immediate attention you should watch your animal for the following signs.

  • Differences in pupil size
  • Rigid limbs
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Unusual eye movement
  • Bleeding from the nostrils
  • Bleeding from the ear canal
  • Seizures
  • Head tilt
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Hard belly
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting

Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound, neurological exams, abdominocentesis (a needle in inserted into the abdomen to see if fluid can be withdrawn) and many other diagnostic tests may be needed to determine the type and severity of injury your animal may have received.  From these diagnostic tests a treatment plan is established to support your animal and provide the care necessary for healing.  Pain medication and IV fluids will be administered as necessary to keep your animal comfortable and help aid the healing process.

If you are witness to the dog fight do not place yourself between the fighting animals.  Avoid getting bit by learning how to break up a dog fight. Here are a couple websites with some good ideas.

The moral of the story…the bite is always way worse than the bark.