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Drowning (Near Drowning) in Dogs



Clear any airway obstructions and give mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on the site of the accident. Professional medical treatment will need to follow immediately. Your dog will need to be treated on an emergency inpatient basis, with oxygen supplementation given at the hospital. If your dog has severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia, or imminent respiratory fatigue, a ventilator may be required for respiratory assistance.


Gravitational drainage or abdominal thrusts (i.e., the Heimlich maneuver) are not recommended in the absence of an airway obstruction owing to the high risk of regurgitation and subsequent aspiration of stomach contents. Fluid therapy and acid-base/electrolyte management are crucial for bringing the fluid balance back to normal levels. If your dog is hypothermic, your veterinarian will gradually rewarm the dog's body with blankets over two to three hours. Prolonged parenteral (intravenous) nutrition may be required for your dog if it is suffering from severe brain or lung injury.


Living and Management


Generally, dogs will not have a good prognosis if they are comatose when brought to the veterinary clinic, have severely acidotic blood (pH less than 7.0), or if they require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or mechanical ventilation. Dogs that are conscious upon arrival at the clinic will have a good prognosis, as long as no further complications ensue. 



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