Canine Car Collisions
February 16, 2012
In seconds your life can be changed forever. As distractions
increase for drivers, so does the number of car accidents.
Unfortunately, pets are often affected by distracted drivers and
can incur serious injury.
"On average, here at the Texas A&M Small Animal ER, we tend
to see at least three to five animals that have been hit by a car
each week," said Dr. Brooke Smith, veterinary resident instructor
at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
"Most of the victims are medium to large dog breeds that were
playing somewhere off leash and ran into the road or dogs that
escaped from the back yard," Smith added. "We do see smaller dogs
and cats, but unfortunately due to their size and the amount of
trauma a vehicle can cause, they sometimes pass away before they
make it to the hospital."
If you do see an animal hit by a car, please call your local
Animal Control Officer on duty immediately.
"Animals that have sustained serious trauma will be in a lot of
pain," Smith says, "and there is a high risk that a good Samaritan
will be bitten while trying to help the hurt animal. Animal Control
Officers are trained to handle these situations."
If you witness your pet getting injured by a car, ask someone to
assist you to place the animal in your car and bring it to the
nearest emergency care facility. However, if your pet is in a lot
of pain there is a possibility that it may bite you. Smith
recommends placing a blanket or towel over its head to ensure your
safety when helping your pet. It is always good to know where the
nearest 24-hour veterinary care facility is in case of emergency
situations like this.
One important point to take away from this topic is to have your
pet microchipped and to keep your contact information current with
the company that supplied the microchip.
"It is a misconception that pet owners think once their pet is
microchipped, that we can track the chip itself," said Smith. "We
simply scan the chip with a special reader and it gives us a number
of the chip. We then call the company, pass along the number, and
they contact you directly. If you, as the pet owner, have not
contacted the company to give them your current information, we
will not be able to find you. If we cannot get your permission to
treat your pet, it may not receive the care it needs to
Smith also advises pet owners to provide their pets with collars
that clearly state a current phone number to call in an emergency.
She mentions that a rabies tag is not always useful as most
emergency cases occur after hours when veterinary clinics are
Owners can take precautionary measures to avoid serious car
"Other recommendations are to never place your pet in the back
of a moving vehicle, unless it is placed in a pet-safe kennel,"
said Smith. "Even the best trained dogs can jump or fall out of
truck beds and can sustain serious and/or life-threatening
"The most common injuries involving vehicular accidents are bone
fractures, skin lacerations and abrasions, and life-threatening
internal bleeding," Smith added. "Treating these kinds of
conditions is very expensive, and many times pets have to be
euthanized because their owners cannot afford the care required to
save their lives. The best treatment is prevention - placing your
dog in a pet-safe kennel in the truck bed can save his/her
Owners should also keep their dog on a leash when in public. It
is also important to keep an eye on the dog while it is outside or
to secure a barrier for the dog to avoid sporadic running toward a
nearby road. Prevention is always the best treatment plan to ensure
your canine companion is happy and healthy.
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