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Hypothermia – a lesson from Bajka's adventure

Somebody has commented that we knew what to do after Bajka's long bath in cold water. Not at all. Everything we have done we did instinctively.

There was an interesting coincidence. A friend of mine  told me that in the newest issue of "Psy Myśliwskie" ("Hunting Dogs") magazine have been published two articles about hypothermia: first about a mishap during winter hunt when a wounded dog had run into swamps (everything ended happily), and the second one – a comment by a vet. Of course I bought it, as usual, and read immediately.

So now I think it is a good opportunity to write about it. I don't wish such a experience on anybody. But in any case.

First of all it turned out that the best thing we did was not to force her to walk. After long staying in cold water whole blood in the body is concentrated in the chest to feed heart, lungs and brain. During walking the blood starts to circle and flow to capillary tubes in the most distant parts of the body. The result can be very dangerous – a dog can collapse. That is why we shouldn't also rub his body. We should warm a dog carefully, step by step. I made Bajka a warm shower. The best is at first warm a neck and a head (with big blood vessels feeding brain) using f.e. warm towel, hot-water bottle. We have to dry his body and keep it warm. We can give a dog a warm sweet water (f.e. with honey) to drink.

In case of loss of consciousness we should massage his heart and give artificial respiration. And of course as fast as possible go to vet.

I know there are members of this site who are vets so maybe they can write more.

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Dear Ania

You have such a strong connection with Bajka that you would instinctively "know" how to care for her. It is kind of you to post this topic to help others. 

I pray you and Bajka have many, many more adventures together, except Bajka does not get into trouble.

Best of wishes to you and Bajka from Susan and Hobson

Thank you for sharing

This forum is very handy. It's written first of all by people with their own experience. Many times I read here very old topics and found a lot of interesting information.

For me this is a kind of doggish encyclopedia (not edited, ha...ha...:-)

It was obvious for me to write here. And once more I don't wish somebody such a experience.

Thanks Debbie, Susan, Monique

Thanks for sharing, Anna!

I recently read about a young man surviving 9 hours in an avalanche. Normally survival rate is less that 3% after 2 hours... The avalanche victim was rescued with a core body temperature of around 25°C and in hospital he was treated by slowly allowing the body to regain normal temperature over 5 hours by applying warm air outwardly and warm infusion. No speedy warm-ups there either! 

Thanks Susan for commenting.

Cold  animals can survive, the problem really is in the speed of warming. In the story presented in Psy Myśliwskie the hunter found his young bitch after a half an hour. She went out of the swamps on her own. But later in the car she lost consciousness and hunter and his colleaque massaged her heart and ventilated her more than half an hour. The bitch survived:-)

Thanks Anna for sharing!! I agree this forun is very handly, and certainly it is my first point of reference when I encounter some problems or I have some doubts:)

I hope something like your bad adventure never happens to us (poor you!!), but with these little devils who knows.. Oberon is a water-rat and he tries to jump in rivers and pounds all times, even when outside is freezing, with our shame! And, as Chantal said, these "Mr I know everything I can do everything" dont even think a little minute before to jump into a  trouble;)

I have a question about the center of gravity. In humans,  you are not supposed to have the person laid back in horizontal position after a hypothermia: all blood goes toward the heart and it can be really dangerous, so you are supposed to have the person with the body upright (at least, this is what we know in our poor knowledge of first aid..). I guess dogs are different since their position in the water is similar to their position in normal conditions (i.e. the body is horizontal anyway). Do you, or somebody else, know about? Can the dog stay horizontal, lying down at rest,  while you gentle warm it up?

anyway, extremely well done during your " scaring adventure" and thanks again for posting and sharing!



what i mean is that heat applied to arms and legs can force the blood toward hearth and brain, in humans, and this can be fatal. similar considerations are valid for humans resting horizontal, i.e. all blood flows toward the hearth......But I am really not sure about how this relates to your advice to warm necks and big vessels first.. sorry for the naive question ;)

Thanks Silvia and Cornelia for comments:-)

Silvia, the information about heating neck and head goes from vet's comment in the article.

 Body position and center of gravity?  Thinking logically horisontal position is natural for dog's body. We have been carried Bajka all the time in horizontal position, also in the bath and later in the bad she was lying horizontally. Bajka likes shower, and doesn't like hair dryer (strange noise:-(). She needed bath because she was very dirty (so was I:-)!)

Medical/anatomical problems I can't solve"-(

thanks!! i think the answer of cornelia makes perfect sense (i.e. is the difference in body mass and where is concentrated in humans and dogs that makes sense, more than the position). btw: the water-rat definition of oberon comes from cornelia, and we happily adopted it since it describes sooo well our devil;)

oberon likes everything, warm showers, towels and hair dryers..I think he just love our attentions when he is wet, whatever is the form;) but we introduced him to the hair dryer since he was a puppy, is necessary living in town and  in a wet country as the uk;) actually we spent hours with the hair dryer on at the center of our living room and going around in circles asking "what is this?" when he was just a few months old.. turned out to be a good investment of our  time;)

thanks again for sharing this!!




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