Photo: Oso, our German Shepherd male, being prepped for surgery after being attacked by a feral hog. Note the puncture wound oozing blood on his abdomen.
This morning Oso and Maya, our German Shepherd siblings, decided to go hunting. They like cottontail rabbits, a lot…for lunch. This time of the year there are numerous baby rabbits that make convenient bite sized snacks for them.
Sometime later Oso appeared at our house covered in blood. A quick look over found three gashes, which from past experience with dogs and feral pigs were caused by the slashing of a large hog’s tusks. Thinking Oso didn’t need immediate care, I asked him where his sister Maya was. Oso looked toward our north pasture. I set out to find her after telling Oso, “Stay!” About a fifth of a mile away I found Maya slowly walking toward the house. I checked her over finding only a long gash on her right hip. I escorted her home.
At the house, I cleaned blood from Oso and discovered three bad gashes. Two were into the muscles of the hip and shoulder and the third under his right jaw. Then, I noticed a large clump of clotted blood floating in a puddle of blood where Oso had been laying. Searching through his thick coat, I found a fingertip sized puncture just behind his rib cage on the right side. I feared internal organ damage. As usual, when we need emergency vet care it is always on a weekend. I placed a call to our vet (if you live near Victoria, Texas I highly recommend https://www.facebook.com/cvcvictoria). Fortunately, he had already planned to be in the clinic. I loaded up Oso and Maya and struck out for Victoria about a half hour away.
Arriving at the clinic, we were greeted by two of their techs and escorted back to weigh the dogs. A blood trail identified our path through the clinic. Our vet, Dr. Mark (actually Dr. Mark Besancon), looked the dogs over. He was concerned especially with Oso’s puncture wound. The techs prepped both dogs by shaving the hair around the wounds. While Maya had only the hip gash, they found seven wounds on Oso. His coat has hidden the others. Dr. Mark probed the puncture wound and recommended surgery to determine the extent of the damages. He also recommended suturing the other gashes suffered by the dogs.
Maya was sedated and sutured and returned home with me. Oso went to surgery where it determined that the puncture had entered the thorax putting him at danger of collapsed lung. Oso will stay at the vet’s until Monday.
Feral hogs are a major agricultural pest in south Texas. And, they can be dangerous. A few years ago, a rancher near Laredo was almost disemboweled by a boar. We’ve had other dogs injured by them. I’m hoping Oso and Maya avoid them in the future.