Features August 2012 Issue

When to Seek Veterinary Care After Your Dog Has a Close Call at the Pool

Did Your Dog Have a Scary, Sinking Moment in the Water?

“If the dog comes out and he’s fine, he’ll shake it off,” says Jules Benson, DVM. “You need to watch him for the next 24 to 48 hours, because that’s when aspiration pneumonia (caused by water going down into the main-stem bronchi) can occur. Especially if it’s water other than a pool, where there could be bacteria or protozoa in the water. If they aspirate any of that and it goes into the lungs, the bacteria spreads and multiplies. This begins an infectious process and the dog becomes notably depressed, lethargic, might be feverish and exhibits a loss of appetite. The history of, ‘He fell into the pool,’ or ‘He fell into the river’ can be really useful to a veterinarian.”

“If the dog ingests enough water where he’s nauseated or doesn’t want to eat afterwards, he needs to go to the vet,” adds Cynthia Jones, DVM. “Most of the chlorinated pool water isn’t an issue, but the exertion of trying to stay afloat, plus the stress and the shock of a near-drowning experience, can be a problem.”

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