My dog was hit by a car this week

So, the inevitable happened: my deer and jackrabbit chasing greyhound was hit by a car on Sunday evening. She was pursuing a deer who decided that jumping a fence and crossing a highway was a better evasive maneuver than zig-zagging through the brush. Turns out it was a good move for the deer, not so much for my dog.

I did not see it happen, but I was told that the car that hit her was traveling around 50 MPH and did not stop. Two cars that were behind that vehicle did stop (thankfully) and secured her. They got her to lay down, covered her with a towel, gave her some water, and called Animal Control. Shortly thereafter I arrived (having been looking for her in other areas). She had numerous surface cuts/abrasions and one of her rear legs was sort of dangling.

The Animal Control agent brought her to an emergency animal clinic where she had a physical examination and x-rays. Amazingly, her only internal injuries appeared to be a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and a broken femur on her hind leg. They tapped the air out of the chest, put her on an IV of fluids and painkillers overnight, and the next morning she was transferred to a specialty hospital to address her broken leg.

She is still at the hospital currently awaiting surgery. Her femur is broken cleanly in two (like you would break a kit-kat bar) so she needs a plate installed to provide stabilization. The pneumothorax is still present which is delaying any action. They may need to insert a tube into her chest to equalize the pressure. The broken leg needs to be addressed by Thursday, regardless.

I feel like crap–a mixture of guilt, sadness and anger–but also relief that no one was hurt. There could have easily have been an accident due to the large animals running across the highway, but in this case it looks like only my dog was injured.

She is a great dog and one resilient bitch. It saddens me greatly that even if she makes it through the surgery, this is likely the end of the one activity that gave her joy. Up to this point The Chase has been her rasion d’être.

Sorry to hear it, but glad she’ll be ok.

I hope your dog recovers fully.

But, keep the dog inside or in a fenced yard if she runs deer. In most places it’s legal to shoot dogs that are running deer. Up north here most folks won’t think twice about it, and the law and public opinion will be solidly on their side.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery

Thanks for the well wishes buttonjockey308, Telemark, and Khadaji.

I am lucky enough to be adjacent to 800+ acres of nature preserve and fallow land here in central Texas which for most part provides a safe enclave for off-leash hikes. The deer are present year round and had provided almost daily exercise for my dog.

Keeping a dog in a fenced yard and leashed is, of course, the only way to ensure safety; that is the germ of much of the guilt. I had previously weighed that risk against the quality of life benefit this activity could provide and decided with proper precautions it was worth it. Prior to this, we had gone on over 5,000 miles of hikes in the area without incident.

Right now, the waiting is just stressful. I cannot imagine what she is going through, locked up in a cage in a strange location, not knowing what is happening, either doped-up or in pain; and all the time having a leg that just flops around since it is no longer connected.

I’ll join those wishing for a smooth recovery.
But …

I have to question whether it’s right to view deer as exercise machines for your dog.

You have an unfortunate example of how this can be bad for the dog (and for motorists). I’m pretty sure it isn’t great for the deer, either.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

Fair enough, I can understand that position, although my own may vary.

With regards to the deer, I do not see it as being much different than letting a cat chase mice outside. I neither seek out or stock the wildlife in the area, nor do I make any effort to entice my dog to pursue animals. She is just allowed to do what she is genetically programmed to do. It is natural for her to chase–it is what she wants to do more than anything. The deer are quite adept at dealing with the situation. It is a natural part of life for them as well.

Yes, sadly, this is true.

Why is that? Because running deer can result in car accidents? (I’m assuming the threat is deer hitting cars and causing accidents, normally.) Just curious–don’t live in a deer heavy area myself.

Anyway, hope the dog’s okay! It always sucks having a loved one or pet injured.

Because dogs often wound deer, or the deer are injured running away from them. Human-caused mortality to native species is quite commonly subject to considerable regulation - and this properly extends to damage caused by the pets humans keep.

The difficulty arises from the fact that she’s doing this in an area where hers is not one of the native species.

In many places tt is legal to kill dogs that run deer. If a hunter observes it he can shoot the animals on sight. The reason is that dogs will harass and kill deer, not for food but just because that’s what they can do. Even if they don’t kill the deer the stress makes it hard for them to feed, raise their young, establish territory, etc. Packs of dogs are even worse. These dogs can be pets, that have plenty to eat at home.

We don’t let people do that, and we don’t let dogs do it either.

It’s illegal to hunt with dogs in Texas, but I don’t know the rules on rogue or nuisance animals. But it’s unsafe for the dogs (as you unfortunately found out) and disastrous for the deer.

Best wishes for your doggie!

My BFF, before I knew her, had a rescue greyhound that was Awesome, I am told. But, one night she slipped out the door and went off to chase a car. That was that.

The latest update from the hospital is that she has recovered sufficiently from the pneumothorax that they are going ahead with the surgery tomorrow without the need to insert a chest tube. I am crossing my fingers that things are straightforward from this point.

One last update.

She made it through the surgery and came home yesterday after spending an extra day recovering at the hospital. They were worried that she was in excessive pain because she was whining so much, but she calmed down and has not whined at all since I brought her home. I think she just wanted to escape the torture chamber of the critical care facility.

She has a massive suture that crosses most of her leg, which is still a bit swollen. This mandates the use of an Elizabethan collar for two weeks. Her attitude is great though; she is very ambulatory and even puts some weight on the leg when she walks. She has a healthy appetite and is able to void without problems. It looks like she is on the road to a strong recovery.

It is great to have her back. She definitely is my best friend.

JKilez, as a doglover I’m thrilled to hear she’s recovering well. But as more than just a doglover, I urge you to consider the other input in this thread and discontinue allowing your dog, an imported species artificially “subsidized” by human care and feeding, to terrorize deer, a native species only trying to get by and raise their offspring. If your dog were hunting deer in order to survive, I’d never suggest any such thing. But that’s not the case.

As far as the cat-mouse analogy, I don’t think many people would agree with you. Roaming domesticated cats are decimating the wildlife of this country. A mouser’s territory should end at the walls of the house: any mouse that invades my house is fair game. But a cat should not be allowed to roam freely and destroy native wildlife for mere sport. Neither should your greyhound be allowed to terrorize the local deer.

But again, I’m glad she’s recovering well.

Thanks, lissener.

In this particular circumstance, the morals or ethics of allowing an animal to chase prey is moot for the time being. One obvious reason for this is that it will probably be months before my dog can run again. Even when fully healed, chances are she will not be able to run at a sufficient speed to give chase to a deer.

There are a number of people in the thread Do dogs ever catch squirrels and the like? who apparently let their dogs chase animals, so I believe there would be some debate about this topic. A couple of differences between most of the posted examples and my dog is that she often chases larger/faster game and she never kills what she catches, only subdues (as I noted in that thread).

The greater issue for me, though, is potentially causing harm to humans due to a traffic accident stemming from this activity. I would have been devastated if someone was injured due to a degree of irresponsibility on my part. While animals crossing the highways is a fairly common road hazard around here, in this case it was artificially instigated by my actions. It is this concern that will force me to use a leash even on the trails.

I just want to add that I am still feeling really shitty about the whole thing right now. It is not just the circumstances of the accident, but also the tremendous cost involved in bringing her back to health. An expense that I can hardly afford at this point, but nevertheless feel obligated to outlay as I was aware of this risk.

I had never dreamed that I would spend so much to save an animal’s life. Previously, I would have scoffed at people who did so, thinking that they were overly sentimental. After all, pets should be pets, not family. It makes me feel weak that I could not take a harder position.

Sorry about your dog and your wallet.

We were trying to teach our new cats how to go outside and stay close to the house. One of our cats is a real killer and would run out of sight the second we let her out and go kill something. We stopped letting her out because of this, didn’t really seem fair to the local fauna.

Glad to hear that she’s home and healing up. I hope it’s a full recovery.

As mentioned above, running deer is often disastrous to the animal and their fawns. Even if the animal doesn’t get caught, the stress and exhaustion can make it impossible for the animals to feed or care for their young. It’s also illegal and may get your dog shot. I don’t think there’s really much point in defending the practice.