Carbon monoxide is as toxic for dogs as it is for humans. The odourless, colourless gas is absorbed into your dog's bloodstream through inhalation and reduces the amount of oxygen circulating around their body. This can lead to brain damage, heart failure and eventually death. Here's what you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning in dogs:
Your dog can be exposed to carbon monoxide in any of the following ways:
- Being enclosed in the garage while your car engine is running
- Unventilated heaters that use propane or kerosene
- Fumes from poorly ventilated barbeque grills and gas ovens
- A house fire
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning will vary depending on the duration of exposure, but may include the following:
- Sleepiness and general lethargy
- Difficulty breathing
Your vet will take a detailed account of your dog's health history and symptoms. They may also ask you if you are aware of how they were exposed to carbon monoxide, and you should be honest with the vet as this can save time and help save your dog's life. The vet will take blood from your dog to check how much carbon monoxide is in your dog's system. Blood tests can also show if your dog has high levels of acids in their blood, which is often found in dog's who have had prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide. An electrocardiogram, which can detect abnormalities in your dog's heart such as increased or decreased heart rhythms, may be carried out to determine if their heart has been damaged.
Your vet will treat your dog with pure oxygen, which will bring the oxygen levels in their blood back within the normal range and remove the poisonous carbon monoxide. Oxygen can be administered to your dog though a face mask or through small plastic tubes inserted into their nostrils. Oxygen therapy has a quick recovery rate, and your dog will be able to breathe easier almost as soon as they start receiving pure oxygen. Your vet may also give your dog intravenous fluids to promote blood flow to their heart and brain and reduce the acidity levels of their blood.
When you take your dog home after treatment, don't expect them to immediately fall back into their usual exercise routine. Your dog may need some time to fully regain their energy levels, so take them on short walks and give them plenty of relaxation time.
If you suspect your dog has been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, get them out into the fresh air immediately and take them to your local vet surgery. Carbon monoxide poisoning can quickly take your dog's life, so swift treatment is vital. For more information, contact a business such as Baw Baw Paws Vet Clinic.