Pet insurance is a pivotal part of keeping your pets healthy. Many people overlook the importance of coverage for working dogs such as trained hunting dogs, even though they are at increased risk for injuries and illnesses.
Hunters spend a lot of time, money, and resources to ensure their dog gets the proper training needed to assist them while hunting, as well as to provide a source of companionship. Hunting dogs are disciplined but they’re also very active. While out hunting, these dogs are exposed to the dangers of the wilderness and weather elements, which puts them at a higher risk for accidents and injuries.
Almost any dog can be trained to assist hunters, but the more common breeds you’ll see as hunting dogs include those in the Retriever, Pointer, Setter, Spaniel and Hound families.
4 common injuries & illnesses among hunting dogs:
1. Orthopedic injuries. The most common and costly to treat injuries include cruciate (ACL) tears, sprains, fractures and muscle strains. Treatment for a torn cruciate is surgery. Some fractures can require surgical plating or pinning, and minor fractures can be casted or splinted. Sprains and strains generally respond to rest, anti-inflammatory medication and time.
Real Pets Best claim: Hershey, a Labrador retriever, suffered a cruciate ligament injury while hunting last fall and was presented with a hefty vet bill of $2,497.96 of which Pets Best paid $1,888.82.
2. Wounds. Running through brush can lead to lacerations and blistered paws. Depending on the severity of the laceration, sedation or even anesthesia can be required in order to repair the wound with stitches. Antibiotics and pain relievers are generally indicated as well. Blistered paws usually heal with time and rest, but can occasionally require antibiotics.
Real Pets Best claim: A Brittany Spaniel named Macy, suffered from a laceration while accompanying her pet parents on a hunt. Her vet bill was $775.00 and Pets Best paid $540.00.
3. GI illnesses. Unfortunately, even a highly trained hunting dog may still ingest something it shouldn’t. Dietary indiscretion can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. “Stress” related diarrhea is also common. Treatment for GI illness depends on the severity of the disease. A patient that is vomiting won’t be able to keep medication down and generally needs to be hospitalized for intravenous administration. GI illness can also lead to debilitating dehydration which can require IV fluids to correct. Some dogs with only minor illness will do fine on a bland diet, probiotic and intestinal antibiotic for the condition.
Real Pets Best claim: Bruiser, a Golden Retriever in Nebraska, suffered from colitis all hunting season due to stress. His bill was $124.00 and Pets Best paid $99.20.
4. Plant material foreign bodies. Fox tails, cheat grass and goat heads can all make their way into a dog’s ears, eyes and between toes causing painful infections. Treatment depends on where the plant material is found. Sedation is often required to delicately remove it from ears and even eyes. When the foreign body is between toes antibiotics and pain relievers are often needed to clear infections. Sometimes multiple attempts to retrieve the offending foreign body are needed.
Real Pest Best claim: A Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon named Dixie suffered from a cheat grass infection last fall. Her vet bill totaled $546.87 and Pets Best paid $334.30.
To help ease your mind about unexpected injuries and vet bills your dog could incur while hunting with you, ensure you have a pet insurance policy before hunting season starts.
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*Please note the above article is for informational purposes as hunting injuries are a common claim Pets Best sees. The article was not intended to provide an opinion on hunting.