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Dear Daisy Dog

Alex, our new puppy, chewed an electrical cord and got a nasty shock. He’s still in the hospital, but the vet is optimistic that he will recover.

We usually put him in his crate when we can’t supervise him, but somehow we just weren’t watching him well enough when he was out last night. Please warn people of the hazards of electrical cords.

Daisy Responds

Your letter warns people better than I could.

When a dog or cat chews an electrical cord, the tongue, roof of the mouth and lips are often badly burned. Seizures can also occur.

The greatest concern, however, is the possible buildup of fluids in the lungs. These fluids make breathing difficult – or impossible.

The fluid buildup, called pulmonary edema, usually occurs within the first two days. The fluid fills the air sacs, preventing oxygen from making contact with the blood in the lungs. Gums turn blue or gray, and the pet can actually drown in his own lung fluids.

It’s good that Alex is at the animal hospital. Your veterinarian is listening to his lungs with a stethoscope and may also be radiographing (x-raying) them to detect pulmonary edema.
For other readers: If you see your pet chew a cord and get shocked, it’s important to turn off the electricity before you remove the cord from your pet’s mouth.

More often, people don’t see their pets chewing the cord. Instead, a young pet is found unconscious or having difficulty breathing.

Give artificial respiration if your pet isn’t breathing (close your pet’s mouth and breathe into his nose), and get to the veterinarian’s office immediately.

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