Gunshot Injury Average Cost

From 263 quotes ranging from $1,000 - 10,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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What is Gunshot Injury?

A gunshot injury can all look very different depending on the type of gun used to injury your dog. You may notice anything from slight bleeding to a full wound with entrance and exit obvious.  Your dog can present with pain, discomfort, disorientation, and crying or may not present with any symptoms at all depending on the severity of his injury. Most likely the gunshot injury will not resemble any other injury or concerns.

A gunshot injury would be defined as any injury your dog receives from a gun. This could be an injury to any of his body parts and can result in mild to severe damage.

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Symptoms of Gunshot Injury in Dogs

Symptoms can vary greatly for a gunshot injury based on what type of gun was used, bullets, and distance. However, some symptoms to look for are:

  • Minimal noticeable damage – Most of the damage due to the gunshot will not be seen by you, this is due to the bullet pulling debris, hair, skin, dirt and more into the wound with it
  • Bleeding – You may notice very little to a large amount of bleeding from your dog at the site of the wound
  • Bullet wound – At times the actual wound is visible and you may even be able to see the bullet
  • Lacerations – You may only notice cuts or scrapes along your dog’s skin and fur

Causes of Gunshot Injury in Dogs

The cause of your dog being injured by gunshot can vary. Some of the ways your dog can be shot are:

  • Self-defense – Someone may believe your dog is a threat to them if he got loose or chased them and they may use a gun to protect themselves
  • Accident – Your dog may unfortunately be in the wrong place, wrong time and have been caught up in gunfire; if your dog goes out hunting with you or was loose while others are hunting, he may have been injured by accident
  • Random acts – There are times when there is no reason or cause for your dog’s injury

Diagnosis of Gunshot Injury in Dogs

While you may be able to identify that your dog was in fact shot at, you will not necessarily be able to determine the extent of the damage done when he was shot. If you suspect your dog was injured by gunfire it will be very important to bring him to the veterinarian immediately.

Some information that will best help your veterinarian diagnose and treat him correctly will be if you know what type of gun he was shot with, if you have a sample of the type of bullet, and the distance your dog was from the gun. It will also be important to share with your veterinarian if you know for a fact that your dog was injured via gunfire or if you suspect it.

Your veterinarian will want to perform a few tests to ensure he is completely aware of the entire situation. A full physical examination will be done on your dog to see any concerns that your veterinarian may notice without further testing. Once our dog has been put under anesthesia your veterinarian may want to explore the wound to see any further damage that he was unable to determine by physical exam. 

A culture may be taken from the wound as well to identify what, if any infections may be a concern.  X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and more imaging techniques may be used to see underlying and deep tissues damage, these imaging tools may also be used to see any broken bones or other injuries. These tests will be performed under anesthesia typically to ensure the safety of your dog and the veterinarian.

Treatment of Gunshot Injury in Dogs

Treatment will be broken up into stabilization, cleaning of the wounds, and deeper wound treatment. Initially the veterinarian’s main concern will be stabilizing your dog and ensuring he is safe to move forward with treatment. Once he is stable the team will move on to cleaning his wound and finally to determining how to treat his deeper injuries. 

Stabilization

The goal here is to ensure your dog’s immediate safety. This may be stopping blood loss, lowering high heart rate, and getting him comfortable. This may be achieved via medications for pain management or putting him under anesthesia to be able to move on to the next steps in treatment. 

Wound treatment

Once your dog is stabilized, the next step will be to treat the wound superficially. This will be done by cleaning the area surrounding the wound and treating any injuries there. Once this is done the hair around the gun wound may be trimmed to ensure full access to the site. The wound itself will then be cleaned and any debris removed including hair, dirt, skin, bullet or bullet fragments. 

The wound to outside of your dog’s body will most likely be left open as it will heal better this way and allows for unhealthy tissue to be removed. Drains may be used if needed to allow the wound to continue healing. Because bullets drag outside contamination into your dog’s body, it is very important to get it cleaned as soon as possible and continue applying any dressings to the area as recommended by your veterinarian. 

Deeper treatment

Just because an entrance would appear small or the bullet completely exited your dog’s body does not mean there wasn’t any internal damage. Your dog’s internal organs can be injured, there may be bullet fragments or pellets deeper in his body that can become infected, and there may even be broken bones.

In the event these things happen your veterinarian will treat each issue as needed, some of which include surgery to remove any dead or severely damaged tissues or bullets. Setting bones may be necessary as well. 

Lastly, your dog will be given a course of antibiotics as gunshot wounds are considered contaminated no matter how “clean” they are. Euthanizing is rarely necessary and if the wound did not cause a fracture, treatment is kept conservative. Less aggressive measures are used if your veterinarian can access the bullets to remove them easily.

Recovery of Gunshot Injury in Dogs

Your dog’s recovery time will vary depending on the severity of his injuries. If no surgery was required, he will have a much quicker recovery versus invasive surgery. Gunshot wounds have a good prognosis if treatment is done in a timely manner. Depending on where your dog’s injuries are will also play a role in his recovery. If he is injured in his stomach or back, recovery may take longer or be more difficult. However, if his injuries are in his limbs or chest area the recovery will most likely be easier for him.

Your veterinarian will direct you on any necessary changes to his immediate needs such as dressing changes, medication management, restrictions and more. Follow up with the veterinarian will largely depend on treatment administered to him and will be discussed with you at the time of services.

Gunshot Injury Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Roxy
pit bull terrier
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lazy

My my dog has been shot in the back with a 9 m seems to be okay and pain she's breathing normal she's responding not bleeding didn't bleed much at all actually she's drinking water that I give her with a syringe

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
I'm not sure what your question about Roxy is, but she should probably see a veterinarian if she was shot at close range by a gun. If she isn't drinking, or eating, and seems painful, she probably does need medical attention.

Roxy is eating , drinking what I hand feed her. She responds to everything good , she tries to get up and walk. Her spirits are high but she's in a lot of pain off an on . Will she be ok, what can i give her to help with pain and sleep , also we think the bullet isn't in very far , she bled very little , no money for a vet but not giving up yet . Will she walk since she jumps up a little, can use all limbs

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Sam
German Shepherd Dog
Seven Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pain

Hello! Once again, I'm an author, and had a previous question answered, but another has emerged, as they so often do. Sam was shot in the shoulder, and the bullet ended up in a muscle. He went untreated for about ten days, and traveled for the majority of that time. As he didn't become septic, how long would treatment last, if it was possible?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
I'm not sure how to answer that question, as the treatment wound depend on the damage inflicted. If there was no long term tendon or ligament damage, and all he needed was wound debridement and antibiotics, he would most likely be healed in two weeks.

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Sam
German Shepherd
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Crying
Bleeding

Hey there! I'm an author and one of the characters in my story is a dog. As a stray he suffers from untreated seizures, and he was recently shot. In order for him to survive at least a week without veterinary care, where would the ideal place for the bullet to enter be? Would his seizures constantly reopen the wound? Would the injury and ensuing internal damage make his already progressing seizures worse? Thank you!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
If Sam were shot and the bullet ended up in a muscle, he would be able to survive for a week as long as he didn't become septic with infection. The seizures would likely not affect the wound, but he would be painful for sure.

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Boone
Lab mix
1 Year
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Gun shot wound

Medication Used

Pain Meds, Anti-Inflammatory

My dog was shot yesterday in the face with a .22 below his right eye. X-rays showed fragments near the entry and the bullet is no behind his skull. It went through all soft tissue and didn’t strike anything major. Is it possible to leave the bullet in to not cause more damage? Our vet said that most dogs shot that are military dogs, keep the bullets in and scar tissue forms around the bullet to prevent infection or lead toxicity. Just wanting a second opinion. He started to eat and drink again about 15 hours afterwards and is acting closer to normal.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
It is possible to leave the bullet if it isn't causing any damage at this point. That may be less traumatic than going to get it surgically. Since I cannot see Boone, it would be best to talk to your veterinarian about the options for him, but he may be fine to leave it there.

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Marli
Mutt
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Hi
My dog has been shot over a day now
We’ve taken him to some vets here (we’re a small island and have beautiful volunteers that help our animals the best they can)
They scanned him and advised that he has one bullet lodged in his stomach and don’t think it has effected his organs
He’s drinking water and managed to eat a little bit today and he peed.. his stomach is swollen

We’ve put him on a lead so he doesn’t move around too much
He’s still bleeding out a bit as the vets said they can’t stop it .. he has 4 holes wounds

They can’t get the bullet out

We’ve brought him back home.. he seems ok

I’m just worried that it’s still in him... would he be able to recover with a bullet still in him? 😥
Thank you

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
I'm sorry that that happened to Marli. Without knowing more about the location of the bullet or his condition, I can't really comment on how he will recover. Since you had him seen by a few veterinarians very recently, it would be okay to call them and ask what to expect with his recovery and how they feel that he will do. I hope that he is okay.

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Forest
Great Pyrenees
7 Months
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

My puppy Forest was shot. He refuses to use his back legs even though he was hit in the chest. The vet said that he should be able to use his hind legs and not be dragging them.Even though he has a broken vertebra he should be using them. They also refuse to do an MRI due to fact that he still has bullet fragments in him. Do you think it could've come from the man hitting him with something, the blow from the shot, or something else? Also the entry shot was almost underneath him and the exit wound was almost to the top of him. He is also a great runner and very fast.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations
It is difficult to say what may be causing this level of paralysis if the spinal cord itself is not affected; I would look into myelography to see if there is anything in the vertebral canal which is pressing on the spinal cord leading to paralysis, but we would also see incontinence as well if that was the case. Any traumatic injury is difficult to treat and manage as the problems created are never in line with textbook issues; but if your Veterinarian believes that Forrest should be walking I would look into visiting a Specialist. Another option is to have a CT done as no magnetic field is created. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Duke
German Shepherd
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Many scabbed holes in his body
Bloody eye

Medication Used

Triple antibiotic ointment
Carprofen
Amoxicillin

My dog was shot last night by birdshot we took him to the hospital to have him checked out they put him to sleep to get some of the pellets out but they said there are still about 20 in there and we are pretty sure it was with lead pellets should we be in a rush to get them out? They did an X-ray to make sure none hit his heart.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations
It is more dangerous for a dog to swallow buckshot than to have it lodged in body tissue; every attempt will be make to remove as much as possible but you need to be practical and sometimes leaving some buckshot there is the best course of action. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Hector
American Staffordshire Terrier
18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dog was shot 2 days ago and the x-rays shown that his joint below his hip on his back leg is shattered. I don't have money for any surgery which the vet said probably wouldn't do much good. But,the swellings awful and it's leaking as well. Just wondering if I can do anything for the swelling. I was given antibiotics and salve and pain medicine.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations
The pain medicine most likely will help with inflammation and swelling, but ideally given the situation rest would be better than anything else; preventing Hector from walking will stop him from having to use the leg which would cause more pain. Surgery is the next step in an ideal world, I would recommend you speak with charity clinics and other non-profits in your area to see if they can assist you and Hector. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.aaha.org/pet_owner/lifestyle/cant-afford-critical-veterinary-care-many-nonprofits-can-help!.aspx

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Roxy
pit bull terrier
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Pain When Lifted

My dog was shot 36 hrs ago , she's been drinking and eating but I don't wanna give to much because she can't walk, she hasn't pottied at all. Will she eventually just go ? Also she's has use of everything , very responsive , but can't walk . The bullet is about 2 " from her spine , little blood at first but that's all . Will she walk again

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
I don't have any way of knowing if Roxy will walk again without seeing her. She should see a veterinarian right away if she was shot by a gun and isn't using the bathroom or walking.

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Oden
English bull mastiff
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing heavily
Disorientation
Shaking legs when climbing
Lathargic

My dog was shot 3 day ago with a lead bullet. I did not realize till yesterday when started show symptoms of
The following. Im not sure if he Is fighting off an infection? Or his body is just very tired from being shot?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations

When a dog, human or any other being is shot, numerous different complications may occur including: infection of wound, shock (from the injury), poisoning (from the material of the projectile), collateral damage (blood loss, nerve injury etc…) and pain (being shot is painful); the location of the wound, depth, caliber etc… will have a bearing on severity. Regardless of the situation you should take Oden for an examination and for pain medications, antibiotics and supportive care where needed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cookie
Lab mix
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dog was shot yesterday and she ended up staying overnight at the vet. She had a perfect exit wound in her hind right leg. They had her on an IV drip, and pain medication (also they cleaned and bandaged the wound.) (No broken bones.) The vet perscribed her Naproxen 1/2 dosage and antibiotics. She seems to be breathing really heavily, very thirsty, and somewhat anxious. Since she has come home she has been bleeding a bit from the inner wound (which is bandaged.) Could the symptoms have to do with the pills, the blood loss?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations
Breathing heavily is most likely due to pain and the increase in thirst may be due to being thirsty from breathing heavily, I am sure when you breathe heavily you’ll notice your mouth gets dry quicker leading you to want to drink. Small bleeding may occur from the wound, but if you are noticing large quantities of blood you should return to your Veterinarian; also severe blood loss will also cause a decrease in the overall efficiency of blood to carry oxygen which may lead to an increase in respiration, but most likely the heavy breathing is due to pain. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Becky
German Shepard/lab
About 10
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

A dog strayed into our property an appeared to had just been shot 4 days ago right in the middle of its side (German Shepherd/lab) Was either a BB or pellet. No exit wound. She is has not been eating and is now foaming from the mouth. She will lay down , but mainly just wants to stand. Could she have lead poisoning. Can not afford to take to Vet. Don’t know what to do. Any help will be appreciated. Do not want to take to animal shelter in fear they may euthanize her when she can possibly be saved.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3000 Recommendations
Firstly a gunshot wound is painful whether it is a BB gun or regular gun; if Becky was shot in the thorax there are other possible issues like pneumothorax, punctured lung among other issues which are not ‘treat at home’ problems. If the thorax is punctured allowing air into the chest cavity it would need to be closed and any lung damage would also need to be corrected. Lead is a common problem with BB’s, pellets and some other shot which can cause symptoms of lead poisoning; there is little advice I can give apart from go to a charity clinic for assistance. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bella
Pit bull
9 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Passing Stool
Sleepy

My dog was shot 5 days ago with a B.B. gun to the stomach and we took her to the vet they needed to go and see if it hit any organs they weren’t 100% sure if it did and we didn’t have the money for the surgery:( they gave us pain meds to see if they would help they were working but today she was sleeping and she stretched and started yelping it scared me she is moving wagging her tail, but I’m not sure what to she is having a hard time pooping. Should i take her back for more examination??

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It would be a good idea to have a recheck exam for Bella, yes. Your veterinarian will be able to assess her vital signs, see if she needs further treatment at this time, and help her feel more comfortable. I hope that she is okay.

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Tristan
Brittany (Spaniel)
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

none

We rescued a beautiful Brittany, Tristan, in August. We noticed a small bump on top of his head and thought it might be a cyst or a mole. I had Tristan at the vet yesterday for expressing the anal glands and asked about the bump. The vet said it is most likely a small pallet from a BB - they see it all the time in stray dogs that are adopted. She did not recommend taking it out and said to keep an eye on it if anything changes. Tristan blood work is great and he is really healthy. Should we consider taking it out anyway?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1415 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If the lump is actually a BB pellet, those tend to be fairly inert substances to the body and don't usually cause damage over the long term. It might be a good idea to have an x-ray taken to be sure that is what it is, and if there was any damage associated with the original injury. If everything looks okay, there isn't any reason to have the pellet removed, although if he is ever under anesthesia for another purpose, that would be a good time to have it removed. If the lump seems to be getting larger, draining or causing problems at any point in the future, you could have it removed at that time, as well. I hope that everything goes well for Tristan!

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Kilo
Pit Mix
3 Years
Moderate
Has Symptoms
Broken Leg
My dog was shot a few days ago by what looks like a .22 and suffered a broken bone and there are fragments of the bullet scattered throughout his hind leg. We took him to the vet but because of the cost of the surgery to correct his bone, we had to bring him home with a splint, antibiotics, and pain meds. I want to find help for him, but I can't afford it. I was denied by carecredit as well. Is there a place that helps injured pets.