Coma is a depressed level of consciousness. It begins with confusion, progresses through stupor, and ends up with complete loss of consciousness. A dog in a coma is insensitive to pain and cannot be awakened.
Your dog will be completely unresponsive, unconscious, while still maintaining a pulse.
Coma occurs with oxygen deprivation, brain swelling, brain tumor, encephalitis, and poisoning. Many diseases that cause seizures progress to coma. Following a head injury with cerebral concussion, coma can occur without progressing through the earlier stages.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is a common cause of coma. it tends to occur in toy-breed puppies and adult hunting dogs after a long day in the field. A common iatrogenic cause is giving too much insulin to a diabetic dog. Another cause of coma is prolonged hypothermia.
Coma related to high fever ans heat stroke is a serious complication that leads to permanent brain damage and is usually preceded by seizures. Vigorous efforts must be made to bring down the fever. Coma is also especially ominous when it is associated with brain trauma or when it occurs in the late stages of kidney or liver disease.
Common poisons that may cause coma are ethylene glycol (antifreeze), barbiturates, kerosene, turpentine, arsenic, cyanide, orgaophosphates, plants, chocolate, and lead. A dog found in a coma in a closed car or in an air tight space may have smothered or developed carbon monoxide poisoning.
Diagnosis is made by observing the dog's condition.
First determine the level of consciousness and whether the dog is alive. If the dog shows no signs of life, begin CPR. An unconscious dog can choke on their vomitus, so pull out the tongue and clear the airway with your fingers, if the dog has a foreign body, such as a piece of meat, obstructing the airway, treat as described for Choking. Wrap the dog in a blanket and proceed to your veterinarian at once.
There is no prevention for this condition.
If you believe your pet is in a coma, bring the dog to an emergency clinic immediately.
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