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Healthy Pets

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Top 10 Dog and Cat Injuries

How to avoid these common injuries in your dog or cat.
By Pamela Babcock
WebMD Pet Health Feature

Gwyn Donohue of Arlington, Va., was hiking along the Potomac River with her dog, Sundae, in January, when the mixed-breed broke loose and fell through the ice about 25 yards from shore.

Sundae pulled herself out after 10 frantic minutes. Fortunately, Donohue had American Red Cross Pet First Aid training and knew what to do.

To raise Sundae’s core temperature, she wrapped the dog in her down vest and used pet waste bags to fashion a belt to secure it. Back at the car, she continued warming the dog with an emergency blanket from her pet first aid kit.

“I knew lack of responsiveness was a sign of hypothermia, so I kept talking to her to make sure she reacted quickly,” Donohue says. Sundae’s emergency may have been out of the ordinary, but the dog pulled through fine.

But there are plenty of other ways your cat or dog can be injured. According to Petplan pet insurance, the top three for dogs are rupture of the cruciate ligament in the knee, lameness, and foreign body ingestion.

For cats, the list includes abscesses, foreign body ingestion, and bite wounds.

Here’s a closer look at 10 things that can go wrong:

1. Foreign Body Ingestion

Dogs will try to eat anything – rocks, broken glass, corncobs, shoes, underwear – even sand. Cats may like string or yarn.

“You name it – if a dog can fit it in its mouth, it’s been eaten, swallowed, and then removed by a veterinarian,” says Jules Benson, BVSc, MRCVS, vice president of veterinary services for Petplan.

Dog chew toys should be large enough that they can't be swallowed. A cat or dog that’s vomiting repeatedly or doesn’t want to eat for a day should be evaluated.

“Many of these will pass and dogs will poop out some amazing things, but some will not,” says Gregg Griffenhagen, DVM, a visiting clinical instructor in the department of emergency medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

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