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Hunting dog hypoglycemia is a metabolic condition in which a hard working dog's blood sugar drops dangerously low. The dog becomes weak and uncoordinated. In severe cases, the dog may seizure or lose consciousness. Diagnosis can be difficult because by the time the dog is seen by a veterinarian, the dog's metabolic regulatory mechanisms may have elevated the blood level to a normal range and the dog may have recovered. If your dog is prone to this condition, consider changing your pre-hunt feeding schedule and offering small amounts of high carbohydrate food during the hunt.

Snake bites are a risk in certain regions. In my area there are no indigenous poisonous snakes, so I don't have any first hand knowledge on this topic. If you will be hunting in a region with poisonous snakes, contact a veterinarian in that region for their advice on first-aid in the event of a snake bitten dog.

It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and we would all like to prevent injuries to our dogs, if possible. The importance of preseason conditioning can't be stressed enough.

Ideally, a hunting dog should be kept in reasonably good condition all year. Overweight, out of shape dogs are at a much greater risk for injury. Feed a quality diet with highly digestible protein. The percent protein on the bag can be misleading as it only tells total protein levels, not digestible protein levels. Poor quality diets can have very high total protein but this does your dog no good if it is not digestible. Quality diets can have protein digestibility nearing 90%. You'll need to call the dog food company's 800 number and specifically ask the digestibility level of the protein in the food you are feeding. High quality proteins provide strong, healthy muscle, skin, and coat - and thus, a strong, healthy dog.

Water is also extremely important to a hard working dog. Even in cool weather, a large amount of water vapor is lost through respiration. Make a point to water your dog frequently on all hunts, more, in hot weather. Even slight dehydration increases the risk of injury. Keep your dog's nails trimmed short to reduce the risk of broken or torn nails.

Finally, most hunting dogs have a very high pain tolerance and injuries can go unnoticed. Make a habit of thoroughly examining your dog during breaks in the hunt and after every hunt. Start at the nose and end at the tail, run your hands over the dog - feeling and looking for hidden injuries. Find minor injuries before they worsen.

I never cease to be amazed at the athletic abilities of our canine hunting companions. Years of selective breeding

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