The sound of crinkling leaves underfoot signals the start of upland bird hunting and fall field trials, a favorite time of year for many sporting dog enthusiasts. Lurking in the grouse woods or along the edges of a prairie where bobwhite quail can be found are unseen dangers to dogs.

“Subtle little things can cause disaster for dogs,” says veterinarian and hunting enthusiast Joe Spoo of Sioux Falls, S.D. “Lacerations and puncture wounds from hidden dangers such as barbed wire fences are the leading cause of injuries that we see. A dog running through the woods or a field also is at risk for a stick, cattail, corn stalk or similar object to become impaled in his body.”

There are other subtle dangers that are not easily recognized but can be potentially life-threatening. These include leptospirosis, a zoonotic bacterial infection spread by the urine of an infected animal; ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne illness similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever; and grass awn migration disease, also known as mean seed disease.

To learn more about these diseases and ways to prevent them, the AKC Canine Health Foundation is supporting research as part of its Canine Athlete Initiative. Podcast features (akcchforg) presented by the researchers plus one by Spoo on common field dangers to dogs and how to prevent injuries were part of the Foundation’s Field and Hunting Dog Health Awareness campaign. Here is a review of the research studies.

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(Used with permission from Today’s Breeder, Nestl√© Purina PetCare Company.¬†Issue 83)


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