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First Aid For Greyhounds

Taught at Gulf Wars X by:
Lady Caitriona inghean Ghiolla Phadraig
Atlantian Hound Marshal
Mistress of the Hounds

(Presented here with the permission of the author)

Most coursing events go by without a single injury. But there are other times when an injury will occur and knowing what to do can help your hound immeasurably. The first thing that you must learn to do is to NOT panic! A calm owner is best for your hound and others. Knowing a few simple pet first aid techniques can be the difference between life and death for your hound. Please note these first aid techniques are NOT a substitute for professional veterinary care! If your hound is seriously injured, get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Be Prepared:

This may sound simple but knowing what to do before an emergency happens will go a long way in saving your hound. Before showing up for the event, get the vet on call phone number. Write it down and put it in your hound first aid kit, oh and by the way - Get a first aid kit for your hound!

Hound First Aid Kit:

This is a listing of what should be included in every well-stocked hound first aid kit. Everyone will have their own view of things so some people may have different things, but this is a good basic list to start off with. Most of these items are readily available over the counter.

A muzzle
Sterile gauze dressing
Hydrogen peroxide
Sterile eyewash
Topical antibiotic ointment
Round end scissors
Rectal thermometer
Cold pack
Vet wrap
Buffered aspirin
Isopropyl alcohol
Ear cleaning solution

All of this stuff now needs a good home. I suggest a multi-tray toolbox or fishing tackle box. These seem to work well and they tend to float for a little while. (Yes, I have had my med. kit fall into a pond!) On the inside of the lid tape an index card, on this card write your phone number, address and name (SCAdian and mundane). Also put down a name and phone number of someone who can take care of your hound if you are incapacitated in some way. It is also wise to write down the names of your hounds and any information about them such as allergies or medical conditions that they may have. Then finally, write the name and phone number of your hound's veterinarian.
Here is a list of common medications for hounds and their dosages. Please remember though ... this is NOT a substitute for veterinary care. Do not self medicate your hound for serious injury - get your hound to a vet!

Benadryl: 1-2 mg per lb. every 8 hours
Buffered aspirin: 5 mg per lb. Every 12 hours
Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting: 1-3 tsp. every 10 minutes until hound vomits
Pepto Bismol: 1tsp per 5 lb. per 2 hours
Immodium: 1 mg per 15 lb. 1 to 2 times daily
Mineral oil as a laxative: 5 to 30 ml per day& do NOT use long term

Never give Tylenol to your hound! This is very toxic to all dogs and can damage their liver. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) is also toxic and damages the liver. Only aspirin is safe and buffered aspirin is preferred to prevent stomach upsets.

Liquid medicines should be given with a syringe. Put the loaded syringe into your hound's cheek and hold its jaws closed. This will prevent the liquid from getting aspirated into your hound's lungs - causing more trouble!

It will be a good thing for all, if you keep a copy of your hound's vaccination records near. Most events (mundane and SCAdian) require proof of immunization before your hound will get to be on site.

Finally, LABEL all your medications clearly! Believe me, this will help in the long run! Make it a practice to go through your first aid box once a year and get rid of all medications that are out of date and replenish your supplies. Also, clearly LABEL your first aid box for canine consumption! The local chiurgeon does not need to be treating someone who mistakenly took hound medicine! (Although most med. in your first aid box should be perfectly safe for the unwary human also.)

If in doubt, see your veterinarian!
Your hound's health is too precious to play guessing games with!
Remember that first aid is just that - the first aid given as you get your hound to the veterinarian for proper medical care.


Examine your hound. Your hound can not speak to you and tell you what is wrong. But his body language will tell you just about everything that you need to know. It is up to you to know what your hound is like normally so that you can immediately spot when something is wrong with him. To do this you need to know how to:

Take your hounds temperature (normally it is about 101 to 102)
Know your hound's normal breathing rate (10 to 20 breaths a minute at rest on average)
Know your hound's normal heart rate (between 70 and 120 beats per minute)
Tale your hound's pulse rate (along the femoral artery)
Check your hound's gums, tongue and inner eyelid for problems (capillary refill time)

Once an accident has occurred there are some things that need to be known. Your loveable, soft hound will probably be in pain. He will probably not be in the mood to cuddle. Approach the hound with caution, a normally friendly hound may become aggressive when in pain or frightened. Carefully approach the injured hound and attempt to muzzle him before you do anything else. I can't emphasize this enough! Once your hound is muzzled, then you can start first aid procedure in safety. Remember, you can't help your hound if you are also injured by a bite wound!


ABC -- Airway, breathing and circulation
Heat stroke
Spinal injury
Eye injuries

This is the most basic kind of assessment. Wound treatment will do no good if your hound is unconscious and not breathing. If the hound is not conscious and is not breathing first check for obvious neck and spine injury. Then open the hound's mouth and check for obstruction in the throat. Pull his tongue forward and check for breath sounds. If he is not breathing then you must breathe for him. Circle the hound's muzzle with your hands, make sure his mouth is closed then breath into his nose for two to three seconds. DON'T breathe too hard, just watch for his chest to expand. Repeat this every five seconds until he starts to breathe on his own. Next check for a heart beat.

If there is no heart beat, you will have to perform CPR on the hound. Kneel with the hound's back to you. With the hound on its right side, put your palm of one hand over the palm of the other on the left side of his chest& just behind the elbow. Press down one to three inches with a firm and smooth motion. If you have a helper give six compressions per each breath, if you are by yourself this will change to ten compressions per breath given. For lighter dogs this number and technique will be different!

Shock is an extremely life threatening state. Quick action is necessary to save your hound. Stop any blood loss and keep the hound warm and quiet. If there is not a spinal or neck injury suspected, elevate your hound's hindquarters to increase blood flow to the brain. Signs of shock are blue gray gums with a slow capillary refill time, labored breathing, no response to stimuli and rapid panting. Sometimes there will also be a noticeable cooling of the hound's feet and ears. Get your hound to a veterinarian immediately.

Carefully check your hound's throat and mouth and attempt to remove the obstruction. Be mindful of your fingers. If the hound is unconscious, lay him on his right side and stretch out his head and neck, then put your palms below his ribcage and give 5 to 6 quick compressions downward and outward. Check the hound's mouth, if still blocked repeat this maneuver. Be aware that you may have to perform CPR and assisted breathing on your hound once the obstruction is removed.

First calm and restrain your hound. Assess the burn type. First-degree burns will have scorched fur and red skin. Second-degree burns will have fur that is burned off and the skin will be blistered. A third degree burn is the most serious and will be marked by complete fur loss, the skin will be obviously charred and the hound will feel NO pain in the affected area due to nerve damage. For first and second degree burns, apply a cool compress and cover the area with an antibiotic cream. The larger the burn area, the more serious the burn. For third degree burns do the same, do NOT rub the skin, as this will cause more damage! Get your hound to a veterinarian as burns can be a source of infection and the more serious the burn the quicker your hound will go into shock.

Be sensible, don't leave your hound in a closed car on even a mild day. Temperatures in your car can quickly climb to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. If your hound is listless, staggers when he walks, pants and drools excessively, then heat stroke is indicated. Use tepid water to cool your hound with, NOT ice water which can cause immediate shock. Check for dehydration. Take your hound to the vet!

Check for a fracture by looking for abnormal swelling, deformity in a limb, limping or a bone showing through the skin. Immobilize the affected limb. Do NOT try to set the fracture. More injured occur when an inexperienced owner tries to helpfully set their hound's broken leg. Get your hound to the vet!

First stop bleeding with a compress. If needed, a tourniquet may be used but be aware that if left on for longer than 30 minutes, loss of limb is almost a certainty. If your hound is suffering from a puncture wound to the chest, listen for air moving through the chest wall as he breathes. This type of wound is very serious and needs immediate attention. Place a gauze pad or plug and place on or in the wound then get the hound to a vet. If your hound has been punctured by a stick or arrow, DO NOT REMOVE the stick or arrow. Keep your hound as still as possible and secure the object with gauze or tape. A paper or foam cup will make a good brace for this, cut a hole in the bottom and place the cup over the stick, tape firmly in place. Go immediately to the vet, do not pass go or collect 200.00! For minor wounds a good antibiotic cream may be all you need, but call your vet, he may decide that your hound needs an additional antibiotic.

Did you know that chocolate and onions are poisonous to your hound? Well, they are! If your hound has decided to eat that can of Lysol then a visit to the vet is a certainty. However, some signs of poisoning may not show up for hours later. So being observant and preventive measures can be a lifesaver for your hound. Make sure that all poisonous material is not accessible to your hound, but if somehow the unthinkable happens then there are two things to do. First, try to find out what kind of poison your hound ingested. If your hound vomits, save some of it somehow and get it to the vet. Your vet can often tell the poison by doing tests on this, if you do not know what poison it was that your hound decided to eat. Secondly, determine if inducing vomiting is a viable plan. If the poison is corrosive, then DO NOT induce vomiting. If you are unsure, rush your hound to the vet.

Most snakebites occur on the face or legs. Your hound will be swollen, extremely painful to the touch in the affected area, and may get progressively weaker. Do not make incisions over the bite marks and try to suck out the venom. Do not apply ice. Do not use a tourniquet. If you know the type of snake that bit your hound the treatment will be easier. There are four types of poisonous snake in the lower 48 states, rattlesnakes, water moccasins (or cottonmouth), copperheads, and in the coastal areas the coral snake. All poisonous snakebites are serious and call for an immediate trip to the vet. Keep your hound as calm as possible to slow the progression of the venom through his blood stream.

If your hound gets an eye injury you must keep him from pawing at it and aggravating the wound more. This calls for a calm but firm restraint. Flush the eye with a saline solution, this may remove any foreign debris and solve the problem. If the eye is swollen apply a warm compress to the eye for relief. Cut eyelids and other serious eye injury should be looked at by your veterinarian. Cover both of your hound's eyes with a compress and gently tie them down with gauze. Keep your hound calm and quiet and take him to the vet. DO NOT attempt to remove any item that has penetrated the eyeball!

I hope this helps you and your hound live a longer, more healthier life. Please remember that preventative medicine is the best though!

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