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When Things Get Hairy

Local Veterinarians Discuss Common and Uncommon Cases



Spend any time in Bend, and you'll realize it's jam-packed with adventure-seekers and their dogs. Sometimes, those adventures go awry for our furry friends, leading to an emergency visit to one of Bend's many veterinarian clinics.

Local veterinarians say dog emergencies tend to be seasonal: mushroom toxicity in the early spring, cheatgrass and heat exhaustion throughout the summer, and blue-green algae poisoning near the beginning of fall. Stephanie Wahlund, head technician for the Riverside Animal Hospital, relayed the story of a wood—cutting accident. The dog owner found the just-right tree, but his best friend found the just-wrong angle and ended up pinned beneath the felled tree. Fortunately, the dog achieved a full recovery, with the help of the animal hospital.

Now that pot is legal and easily accessible, local vets say they are seeing more dogs that have ingested edibles. Dog owners bringing in their sick, disoriented pets used to be more coy about this specific problem, generally mumbling, "Where could they have gotten into that?" when they heard the diagnosis. Dr. Deborah LaPaugh of LaPaw Animal Hospital reminds pet owners, "Dogs aren't built like people." For them, marijuana use is far from recreational.

Dr. Byron Maas of Bend Veterinary Clinic has seen some horrific injuries that dogs eventually walked away from. One particular patient was brought in after it wandered too close to train tracks and was clipped by a train that sent it rolling down a hill. Dr. Maas described it as a "de-gloving injury" affecting nearly two-thirds of the dog's fur and skin. The damage was extensive, and it took more than two months to nurse the dog back to health, but it eventually left the clinic on all fours.

Whether your thrill-seeking canine has an ill-fated run-in with a porcupine or swallows a barbecue grill brush (yes, this has actually happened), local vets are on hand to get Fido back on his feet again. Of course, the best cure is prevention. Vets remind dog owners to routinely check furry friends for infections and injuries, and to pay attention to changes in behavior, in order to keep those tails wagging.

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