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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018


Shock in Dogs

What is shock

Shock is defined as the body's physiological response to a trauma, accident, illness, or injury. Shock is an emergency situation and can be life threatening, therefore it is extremely important to get to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

When in shock, the dog's body will try to compensate by speeding up the heart rate in order to keep blood pressure from falling. Additionally, the blood vessels to the outside of the body will narrow. This is to conserve blood, oxygen, and nutrients so that the vital organs can still receive normal blood flow.

Signs of shock

  • Weakness

  • Collapse

  • Unconsciousness

  • Pale color to lips, mouth, tongue

  • Feeling of coolness to skin and legs

  • Rapid, weak pulse (over 140 per minute)

  • Rapid breathing (over 40 per minute)

  • Staring eyes and dilated pupils

If any of these signs are present after an accident or potentially during an illness get to the vet immediately. Time is vital.

How to treat shock

If you are unable to get to the vet, do the following until you are able.

  • Keep the airways open, perform cpr if necessary. Place the dog on his side with head extended and gently pull out tongue. This will open up the airway.

  • Place legs on towel or pillow to elevate legs. You want to try to keep the head lower than the rest of body.

  • Stop visible bleeding. Bandage or splint any extensive wounds.

  • Check gums for color, respiration rate, and heartbeat.

  • To conserve body heat, carefully wrap the dog in a blanket.

  • If unable to get to the vet within 30 minutes and the dog is conscious, give fluids orally. Mix room temperature water with sugar and give an appropriate amount based on the size of the dog every 30 minutes.

  • Take respiration rate and heartbeat every 30 minutes and keep a record of results.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!

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