SPORTING DOG HEALTH: YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE IN THE FIELD
The fall colors are fast approaching which means the bird-hunting season is right around the corner. For those discerning hunters that chase their tail-wagging companions around, it is important to recognize the environmental elements a sporting dog can face afield and the precautionary measures that can be taken to help alleviate risk in a trip to the vet office.
For a sporting dog, eyes, ears, and footpads are three areas that see the most abuse and can lead to irritations and infections that prove quite troublesome. In my years of guiding wing shooting trips and training pointing & flushing breeds alike, here are some tips to keep your hunting partner running the whole season:
Eye Care: Weeds, grass, and brush are elements at “eye-level” to our sporting dogs and can scratch their cornea or engulf debris into the Lacrimal caruncle (inside corner of the eye)—causing redness, irritation, leading to infection. Take the time after the hunt to inspect the eyes of your sporting dog for any debris or irritations. In many cases, seeds will work their way into the corners of the eyes, causing serious issues. An excellent flushing agent to keep eyes healthy is Vetericyn Plus Eye Wash. This solution does not sting and is the optimal solution for daily eye cleansing and moisturizing.
Ear Care: Ears can go months without proper cleaning and irritations can become troublesome quickly. As with eye maintenance, our dogs ear health is just as important and should be done daily after any hunting activity—whether it be in the field, duck blind, or from underwater exposure. Chronic irritation or severe pain should be addressed with a veterinarian; however daily flushing of ears is the first step to keep ears healthy. The Vetericyn line also includes an Ear Rinse product. Based on hypochlorous technology like the complimentary eye wash, this is a completely non-invasive ear cleanser for your sporting dog since it does not harm healthy tissue and can mechanically work loose dirt and debris found in the ear.
Torn Pads & Cuts on Feet: Very painful to any dog, but especially true of a sporting dog. This condition is equally painful for the owner to watch. Running the pads off of your dog or extensive hunting over abrasive terrain can happen at any time. Most commonly this happens early in the season when pads are not properly conditioned and your dog’s energy is through the roof. Depending on the severity of the pads, offloading or taking the weight off the lower extremities is very important for quicker recovery. In any case, soak gauze in Vetericyn’s sprayable Hydrogel solution and wrap pads to retain moisture—providing optimal healing conditions.
Good luck this fall hunting season and be sure to keep a bottle of Vetericyn liquid and hydrogel in your bird vest as your first line of defense for eye and ear cleansing and managing those tough wounds and cuts from the field.
Scott Van Winkle has been a professional wing shooting guide for over 15 years and has experience training a versatile array of hunting breeds. A strong passion for animal wellness, he now works for Innovacyn, the leading manufacturer of innovative wound and skin care solutions for animal healthcare markets.