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Summertime Trauma: The Hit-By-Car (HBC) Dog

Posted August 25, 2013 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

For more from Dr. Justine Lee, find her on Facebook!

As an emergency critical care veterinary specialist, I spend most of my time working in the ICU and ER. Unfortunately, in the ER, I see a huge spike in trauma to dogs and cats during the summer…particularly on days with nice, sunny warm weather. (As an FYI, NFL football Sundays and full moons seem to be particularly busy shifts in the ER, too!)

Some examples of common summertime trauma?

  • The hit-by-car (HBC) dog or cat
  • "Big-dog-little-dog” (BDLD) attacks
  • Cats attacked by predators (e.g., dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, neighborhood kids)

The good news? Thankfully, with the improvement in quality of veterinary medicine, many of these trauma cases survive. These cases can be rewarding to treat as an emergency doctor, as you physically are saving a life.

That said, I’d rather not see trauma cases in the first place. That’s because they can be life-threatening and cause significant pain and injury to your dog or cat. Also, trauma cases can be very expensive for you to treat, as they often require emergency stabilization, oxygen therapy, pain medication, blood transfusions, diagnostics (like blood work, x-rays), minor or major emergency surgery under general anesthesia, heart and blood pressure monitoring, and life-saving 24/7 care. This can add up into the thousands of dollars.

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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.