Clinic Stories

A Wound Reopened

Our pets sometimes fight, occasionally to the death. You may picture two aggressive dogs in a street fight or a couple pit bulls thrown into the fight ring. That does happen but mostly animals fight over stress in a confined territory. So a rat will attack the snake that isn't ready to feed, a hamster will eat its young, or two cats in the same house will brawl. A common problem situation is when a puppy is introduced to an older adult dog. The older dog quickly establishes dominance over the whelp. But with time the older dog gets weaker and the younger dog matures to prime condition. The younger dog challenges but the older dog refuses to yield. The outcome can be deadly.

One of the most poignant cases I had was about ten years ago. Clients were walking their dog when a smaller dog got out of his fenced in area and attacked. The larger dog fought back and killed the other dog. The police were called and the clients came in to have their dog's bites treated. They seemed to be unreasonably upset about a situation that they could not have prevented. “What will happen now? Will our dog be put to sleep?” they asked. The police officer had told them that they were blameless and finally they revealed the cause of their concern. The dog had belonged to their son who died in the World Trade Center a bit over a year earlier. The dog recovered from his wounds, but I'm certain they never recovered from theirs.

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