Tips for a Speedier Recovery  

GreGREyhound and Spaniel; Doctor Fop; Herring,
John Frederick, Sr. (1795-1865)
Image courtesy PicturesNOW!

Suzanne Stack, DVM


1. Home Care  

Greyhounds are sensitive dogs that recover quicker in their home environment. As soon as the hospital isn't doing anything that you couldn't be doing at home, get him out of there! If need be, you can schedule to return for daily progress checks with the doctor. If home care is possible, it's a mistake to leave a greyhound in the hospital "til he eats." He'll eat much quicker at home where he's happy and you are able to cook him up something more tempting than hospital prescription diet. Many sick greyhounds who won't touch a bowl of food will polish off single bites placed one at a time in front of them on the floor.   

2. Force Feeding  

Because of their docile nature, just about every greyhound can be force-fed using the following technique. This is a lifesaver for ill dogs who don't feel like eating but is never to be used on a vomiting dog.  

Buy a firm, rubbery brand of canned food. All Hills and Iams products work well for this (except A/D, too sloppy). The only "store brand" I can do this well with is Pedigree Puppy. If you're trying to put weight on, buy the most fat, protein, and calories you can find if there are no dietary restrictions. Hills N/D cancer diet at almost 600 calories per can is a great choice. If not N/D, try to find a puppy formulation. Puppy formulations, on average, contain 1/3 more calories than adult.  

Put cans in fridge so that contents become firm. Using a butter knife around the edges, shake the can and work the roll of canned dog food out in one piece. (you can also open both ends of the can and just push it out one end) Put on a plate and slice into 5-6 slices like you would jellied cranberry sauce. Cut each slice in half.  

Back the greyhound into a corner so he can't leave (if he's down, just sit next to him). Standing over or beside him, stick each half-slice as far back in throat as possible and down the hatch. Yum, yum.  

It's important to do it just as described with the refrigerated, sliced food. Canned food "meatballs" become too mushy to feed easily. It only takes a minute or two to feed a can this way.  

Just feed one can in each sitting, but feed 3-4 cans daily as needed to maintain weight and keep the poor greyhound from going any further downhill. Don't let anyone talk you into a feeding tube. There is absolutely no need for this in a greyhound as just about every one of them will allow this method (they hate to see you coming after a while, though). It would take you hours of tube feeding gruel to get the contents of 3-4 cans into the dog.  

3. Hydrotherapy

The big bruises and hematomas that greyhounds are prone to following dog fights and surgeries (particularly amputations) dissipate much more quickly with a hydrotherapy regimen. Twice daily (more is better) for five minutes run a warm shower hose or in summertime, the outside hose, over the wound. It is OK for sutures to get wet on these ugly bruised wounds.  

4. covering wounds  

Use large sized t-shirts or long shirts with sleeves to cover wounds wherever possible as greyhounds do so poorly with Elizabethan collars. Tube tops work great for neck bandages.  

5. Torn ears  

Avoid general anesthesia and surgery to repair by using Nexcare Waterproof bandaids on torn ears.  

6. Ex-pens  

Ex-pens (exercise pens) are far better than crates for injured/broken greyhounds whose movements need to be restricted for long periods of time. They are lightweight and versatile, so that you can move the greyhound to the center of activity rather than him being stuck wherever the crate is. Be sure to buy one that simply unhinges between two panels so that you can open it up wide for him to go in and out rather than having to push him through the door opening that some ex-pens have. 3' is the ideal height - it's over his head so he won't try to jump but it's easy enough to reach over to take bowls and toys in and out. Pet Edge (the old New England Serum) sells their good ProSelect model for $47.



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