Road Accidents and Trauma

Pet Health

HIF Australia
We all know that it's natural for our pooches to be terrified of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms. Regrettably though, these sounds can cause them to become anxious or afraid; even worse they can indirectly pose a risk by causing them to run away. In this short clip, Veterinary experts, Dr Melissa Meehan and Dr Chris Preston discuss the various steps we can take to ensure our pets feel safe, secure and most importantly protected when these situations occur.


Video Transcription

Dr. Melissa Meehan: Whenever I hear fireworks or thunderstorms, I think of all the terrified dogs that are going to scramble out of their backyards and end up running frantically on the streets. Not only is it traumatic to arrive home and find that your beloved pooch is nowhere to be found. But it's even worse to receive a call from an emergency centre, and finding out they've been hit by a car and require lifesaving surgery. Chris with road trauma, how many would you see per week?  

Dr Chris Preston: This emergency centre which is in the centre of Melbourne, would probably see maybe five or more a week on average. Some weeks you are going to see ten and then none the next week, but we see a lot of road trauma here.

And what are the most common road injuries that you see?

Limbs. So this is an example of a classic case, fairly big dog that got smashed up. This is a dog’s humerus, the forearm, so my upper arm and that's a complicated break. Its segmental, there is a fracture plain up here and down here, but legs, forelimbs, hind limbs and dislocated hips would be the big category.

Dr. Melissa Meehan: And what proportion can you say? For example with this, just look how many pieces this leg is in. You would think that would be an amputation for sure. Did you manage to fix it?

Yes we did. The irony is that almost all the trauma cases with fractures can be fixed, but not all of them are fixed because of the cost. Chest, abdominal and generalised wounds probably less so, but the majority you can fix, but not all of them.

The problem with this sort of thing, with road trauma, is that the owner is unprepared. They are often mentally in shock and they have to make a quick decision. In fact if they procrastinate, the cost increases.

In our hospital we like to get these surgeries done within a day or so of the injury and send them home as quick as we can within reason.

Dr. Melissa Meehan: There are a number of ways you can protect your dog during fireworks or thunderstorms. Always ensure that they feel safe, and they are in a secure part of house where they can’t escape. Turn on the radio or tv to make them feel relaxed and to block out some of those nasty sounds. Thundershirts are great at making dogs feel safe through light compression of their body.

Make sure your pooch is microchipped and always has ID on with your phone number to allow for quick identification if they should escape. And, if you do happen to see your dog running frantically around the streets, try this little trick. Open the door, you don’t have to get out, and see if they’ll jump in. I’ve used that a lot of times and it works really well. You can then secure them in the car and take them to the local vet. But, of course prevention is far better than a cure.

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Category:Pet Health

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