Illnesses & Injuries

The medical advice tendered here is purely out of our own experience and the veterinary advice we have sought in those particular situations. This has been published on this website purely as a reference guide; we maintain that the best thing to do would be to take your animal to a TRUSTED veterinary professional, or at the very least, to describe the situation in detail to a vet and perhaps send pictures, and follow their advice. If all else fails, please ask your vet if the medicines described here would be safe for your particular animal, for her particular illness. It is difficult to take matters into your own hands, unless you know exactly what you are doing.

To accurately notice the signs of illness, one should ideally notice the body language of a dog when it’s well, so that slight differences in behaviour and demeanor can be adjudged.
 
In general, some common signs include:
Inactivity/lethargy
Changes in behaviour – such as a formerly affectionate dog becoming aloof etc
Drooped ears/lowered tail
Lowered appetite or not eating at all
Sleeping more than usual
Apparent weight loss
For tablets and capsules, making a small ball of cheese/paneer or inside some meat is the best way.
 
For small quantities of liquids such as medicinal syrups, a little can be added to dahi/diluted milk etc as per the dog’s taste.
The dog will be very warm to touch – however this is not the most reliable way, as during the summer, the dog will naturally have a higher body temperature.
 
You can check the inside of the ears and the belly. One of the tell-tale signs is that the insides of the mouth also feel hot – this can be felt if the dog licks you or if you lightly graze the area when you pet the dog. 
 
The other tell-tale sign is a dry nose.
 
All this is usually accompanied by a loss in appetite and lethargy (if not, it is often the best form of treatment to leave the dog to heal itself, while giving some supplementary treatment).
 
When signs of illness are observed, the first thing to do is to visit a trusted vet and get the dog medical attention. However this may not always be possible with a street dog. In this case, at least try to get a hold of a vet over the phone and send pictures. 
 
The following may be considered for reference –
 
A small teaspoon of Baby Cronin may safely be given (5 mL) to bring down the temperature, if a fever is confirmed. A quarter or one-eighth of a tablet of paracetamol is also safe to use on an adult dog, per its weight
(don’t give the paracetamol tab if it’s a puppy though). 
 
Please also ensure the dog has access to clean, drinking water.
 
Feeding her twice a day on a diet that is cool and light on the body is a good idea – dahi chawal/roti or chicken broth work well. Even plain dahi is wonderful (Often a dog may not start out having homemade curd. It’s a good idea to buy store bought dahi for the first couple of days and then switching over to homemade).
 
A supplementary treatment of Himalaya’s Liv 52 tablets and any probiotic capsule such as Vizylac can also be safely given (these can be given in general, as a small course for a healthy dog too. But do make sure you give these especially if a dog is ill and on an antibiotic). 
 
If blood work can not be done to determine the cause of infection, consult a trusted vet and give him/her details of the dog and the situation. You may ask them if an Amoxycillin 375 tablet can be given once a day for 5-7 days, as this would take care of many relatively minor infections. 
 
But as this is an antibiotic, consulting a vet before-hand is prudent.
 
If the temperature is alarmingly high, please do your best to take the dog to a vet. Or perhaps arrange for a paravet near your area to have a look.
 
Under no circumstances must ice be used to bring the temperature down as this is counter productive. Room temperature water can be used to soak a towel (make sure the towel isn’t sopping wet) and the dog may be wiped with it.
 
Please do NOT do this unless it is summer and the temperatures are already high.
 
IMPORTANT
If, however, the fever is accompanied by rapid, unexplained weight loss, bloody or diarrheal stools along with frequent vomiting and distinctive (often yellowish or green) eye discharge and nasal discharge please immediately consult a vet and do not attempt to treat the infection yourself. It could likely be canine distemper or canine parvovirus, neither of which affect humans, but are extremely serious illnesses for a dog.
 
The only course of action in such cases is religiously keeping up a schedule of IV fluids once or twice a day, per the vet’s instruction. Seek his/her professional opinion if any additional medication should be given. It may also be asked if the supplements (Liv52, probiotic or something else) should be given.
For adult dogs that are otherwise alright, but don’t have much of an appetite, are vomiting and/or diarrheal (without blood), Liv 52 and a probiotic are often enough for the dog to heal itself in a couple of days.
 
Failing this, blood work and a visit to the vet may be necessary. As this is not always possible to do, a Metrogyl 250 tablet can be administered twice a day for 3-5 days but it’s always a good idea to check with the vet if this is safe to do for your particular case.
 
Observe if there are any external signs of injury. (If so, please treat that according to “Wound Care” mentioned in the “External Parasites” category.)
 
To bring immediate relief to the dog, please give her Meloxicam syrup (puppies – 1 to 3 small drops, adults – 4 to 6 per the weight). This will take care of both the pain and the internal/external inflammation.
 
The next thing to do is to take her to the vet to determine if a plaster or bandage is necessary (if it’s a fracture, this is crucial).
 
Otherwise, a supportive treatment of joint support or calcium should be given (especially if it’s a puppy) along with a few days of the meloxicam.
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