Dog frostbite

Frostbite is the result of the blood vessels freezing, which then causes the affected zones to not receive the oxygen and nutrients that they need. This freezing of the skin and blood vessels can then quickly lead to gangrene. In the worst case scenario the circulation is never regained and the affected part shrivels and dry gangrene set in (but there is no inflammation). In frostbite cases that are less severe the although the affected part had frozen the body tissue was not damaged and it is possible for there to be full recovery. But in this case it is also possible that the affected part becomes severely and painfully inflamed and gangrene can begin in the traumatized tissue. If there are obvious signs of freezing but the skin is still loose and able to move across the muscle then this indicates that the frostbite is not too serious. However if the skin is frozen solid and will not move across the muscle then this indicates that the frostbite is very severe. While waiting for expert medical attention you can give the SAR dog warm to hot water, tea or coffee to drink. Never give a dog any from of alcoholic beverages.

Do not do anything to the frostbite affected areas other than bathing them in slightly warm water. Never use hot water, ice, cold water, oil, dry heat or massages to treat frostbite, as you will only further damage the affected tissue. Once the affected part has defrosted you should dry it off gently and carefully, and then cover the SAR dog with a soft blanket and let it rest. Do not use a heater. Watch the SAR dog for signs of shock or other complications. If it stops breathing begin AR. Seek immediate medical attention.

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