Friday, September 16, 2011

Eye Ulcerations from Underground Skunk Spray

It's that time of year -- more terriers being hunted with the cool weather, and more skunks being found to ground for the same reason.

Skunk toxic shock is the major worry (see here for notes about that), but corneal damage and eye uclerations from the acid in skunk spray is another issue. 

A quick feview of the "eye facts" as I know them (and all of my dogs have been skunked multiple times underground):
  1. It is probably a myth that skunk spray can cause permanent blindness. When gotten into the eyes the spray often causes temporary blindness, and burns like crazy, but there are no documented cases of skunk spray alone causing permanent blindness in a dog.
  2. If your dog does end up with ulcerations of the cornea, crate the dog for several days and load it up on antibiotics (cephalexin is fine). The only thing to fear is infection. The important thing is to let the eye rest and heal.  Where to get cephalexin and at what dose?  See here for information about basic antibiotics for working dogs.
  3. After your dog is sprayed, expect your dog to have small blisters and ulcers around sensitive areas such as lips and ears -- this is normal and will go away. It is caused by the extreme acidity of skunk spray.
  4. Feed and water your dog well and keep it warm and rested for at least a week after a skunk encounter.
  5. Road flares placed in a skunk den are said to kill the animal, but if your dog has just been sprayed and stink is pouring out of the hole, you may just want to get the hell out of there.

While you are thinking about Fall and Winter hunting with your terriers or other dogs, you might as well read, circulate, and even print out a copy of this page on Releasing Your Dog From a Trap.  Remember,the dog you save may be your own!


seeker said...

So, when pulling a dog off a prey animal, like a skunk, racoon or opossum, should we use the 'pick them up by the tail' method you described in an earlier post about dog fighting?

It makes sense to me but do you have other thoughts? I don't hunt but sometimes the critters come to us in the back yard due to the water.

And yeah, I get it that I may be sprayed too.

Debi and the determined TX JRTs

PBurns said...

Terrier tails are docked so they can be tailed out of holes. I do this at every dig all the time, not problem. All my dogs are used to being pulled out by their tails. I scruff terriers up too -- very comfortable for them if you know what you are doing. Obviusly, I have small working terriers -- none weighs more than 12 pounds -- so there are not heavy weights.

I also tail out groundhog and possum rather routinely (did it twice today with groundhog) before dispatch, but with fox and raccoon, I prefer to use a pole snare to avoid the chance of rabies from a quick slash. Another factor is that when you are holding a snared coon or fox, their heads tend to hang at genital height. Men do not have to be told this twice before they learn to love a pole snare ;-) Fox, for the record, are NOT built like dogs, but like cats. Raccoons should be though of as "thin men in a fat man's suit."