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What are Internal Injuries?

An open wound can sometimes be easier to deal with because it is visible and the solution might be relatively straightforward for your veterinarian to determine. But internal injuries can be  harder to deal with, and internal bleeding caused either by a car accident, a fall from a high vantage point, fighting, or disease can produce severe trauma to your dog’s body and they may go into shock.

If you know the cause of your dog’s distress it will be quicker to diagnose and treat, but no matter what the cause your dog needs veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Internal injuries may come from your dog being hit by a car causing trauma, due to dog fights, or additionally, some diseases cause internal bleeding and injury.

Symptoms of Internal Injuries in Dogs

  • Early signs can be a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing 
  • Depression 
  • Black diarrhea
  • Gum change in colors – pale or blue is very serious
  • Your dog may go into a coma indicating shock 
  • Whimpering on being touched or moved
  • Glazed eyes
  • Inability to focus
  • Coughing or vomiting up blood 
  • Bruising or scrape wounds 
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy 
  • Heart attack 

Types  

  • Sudden trauma can cause internal injuries; contact with a moving vehicle, falls, dog fights and sadly, human abuse can all cause internal injury within your dog. 
  • Trauma can cause damages to the internal organs, broken bones including the neck and spine, and internal bleeding that can cause your pet to go into shock 
  • Apart from trauma, there are varying types of medical conditions such as a tumor, or damages to the spleen (common in older dogs) that can cause internal injury 
  • Poisons are also known to cause types of internal damage and internal bleeding
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Causes of Internal Injuries in Dogs

  • Falls off a deck or balcony – dogs can suffer internal damages during falls from high elevations; this is becoming more common as more people and their dogs live in high-rise apartments 
  • Poisons like rat bait or human medications contain anticoagulants that prevent the blood from clotting which can cause internal damages and bleeding 
  • Fractures of bones -  for example the spine, that can cause damage to internal organs 
  • Tumors of the spleen or other areas can cause internal bleeding 
  • Trauma – your dog gets hit violently by a vehicle in an accident 
  • Lacerations of the kidney, spleen or liver are quite common 
  • Attack from another dog or dogs 
  • Abuse by humans
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Diagnosis of Internal Injuries in Dogs

If your dog has been hit by a vehicle or fallen from a height, you need to get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Using an old door or a plank makes an ideal platform to maneuver your dog onto and offers support while being transported to the clinic. If you know the cause of your dog’s situation then that will help your veterinarian to diagnose what is wrong. Whether it was a physical injury, or caused by ingesting a poisonous substance, or some other cause, at least that will give your pet specialist something to start on immediately. 

A thorough physical examination will be done unless your dog is in urgent need of life giving support first. If your dog is going into shock, immediate action will be taken by your veterinarian to avoid damages to the internal organs. Depending on your pet’s situation, diagnostic tests may include a complete blood count (CBC), X-rays, abdominal radiographs, electrocardiogram (EKG) and a serum chemistry profile. While broken bones are obvious signs of trauma, it is the internal damage that is vital to determine. Bleeding internally from punctured organs needs urgent attention.

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Treatment of Internal Injuries in Dogs

The treatment will depend on the cause of the injury. Trauma via vehicle injuries may require that your dog is hospitalised, especially at the beginning of treatment. Oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids may be required. Medication for any pain will help and your specialist may recommend a course of antibiotics. Your dog may also need antiarrhythmic drugs if his heart is beating erratically which is a symptom of stress and trauma. Other treatment may require blood transfusions if your pet has lost a lot of blood. 

Surgery may be required in the case of disease (cancer and tumors), broken bones (especially spinal bones or neck bones) and other injuries that your dog may have. Poisons need careful attention to remove or limit the amount of damage that they can do to your dog’s system. Your veterinarian will be able to advise on the correct treatment from the results of the diagnostic tests. The first few days are the most crucial, and your specialist may keep your dog in hospital until he is confident that the treatment is working.

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Recovery of Internal Injuries in Dogs

Your pet will be limited to rest and recovery with exercise restrictions during the first few weeks of rehabilitation from his accident or illness. If the damage has been extensive, your pet may be restricted to a cage to prevent too much movement. Any bandages must be kept clean and dry. Wounds should be checked for redness, swelling or discharge material. Internal injuries may restrict the diet; soft easy to digest food is best. 

If your pet has suffered external wounds as well, they may have stitches and you need to ensure your pet will not annoy them and damage themselves. Poison victims may feel quite low for a few weeks but hopefully if they haven’t suffered too much due to the internal injuries they will bounce back after a short time. Always follow your veterinarian’s advice and treatment guidelines to enable your pet to heal quicker.

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Internal Injuries Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Labrador Retriever

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Bloody Stool, Mucous In Stool, Frequent Defecation

Poss. Abd. Trauma/GI upset or imbalance

July 5, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Hello, this could be many different things a few common things that it could be are HGE or gastroenteritis. Both would need your dog to see a vet for medication to help them recover. I would recommend taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

July 5, 2021

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Coton de Tulear

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Twelve Months

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

he got attacked by another do no visible symptoms just worried about the no visible

June 20, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Hello if there is no obvious puncture wounds or laceration you can just keep watching him to see if he shows any signs of distress

June 20, 2021

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