Now that the hunt season is over for most of us it should be time to look your hounds over for a little work. Most of them tend to suffer minor injuries while hunting and may be anything from a muscle strain to broken nails or more serious.
Some Things to Look For
At the end of the hunt day, I examine my hounds from front to back looking for signs of problems. A hound walking without a limp is not necessarily a sign that all is well. Looking for cuts and or abraisions is an obvious thing. Important to these running hounds is solid feet condition. Cuts on their pads or between their toes is something to look for. Hard turns in the field will cause the stopper pads to blister off or wear off and this can be a painful condition to them. If the weather had been wet, their toes can become impacted with mud and if this is not removed can dry there and become very painful and rub sores between their toes and could have them out of running condition for several weeks. Broken or cracked nails is a big issue. Please take the time to trim your hounds nails and keep them at a normal length. The longer they get, the more prone they are to breaking. Dew claws are a constant problem. For the life of me, I don't know why more breeders don't have them removed as small pups as this would avoid numerous problems with the working sighthounds as adults. Cactus or burrs like the goatweed burrs will be very painful to your hounds too. Look them over carefully and remove them whenever you find them. It is a good idea to carry a good old Leatherman Tool with you for this purpose as extracting them with your bare fingers will usually result in getting them out of your hounds feet and into your fingers! My hounds seem to think they know the fastest way through a fence or around some other obsticles when coursing some game which usually results in some minor flesh wounds. If these are not looked after, they can get more serious and why risk a good hounds health just because you did not take a few minutes to clean these wounds up. A little scrubbing with some Betadine solution or chlorhexidine gluconate antiseptic should help. If you have to install sutures or staples to close a skin flap, always make sure that you leave the bottom end of it slightly open to allow drainage. Keep in mind that I am not a Vet and so a serious wound should have a Vet's examination. Another field neusance to the running hound is the yucca. These pesty plants have the leaves or stems ending in a very hard and sharp point like the end of a dagger or spear. Hitting one of these at speed will produce some very painful sores when poked and the tips of these plants break off in a leg bone or the chest of your hounds. They are tough to remove too. These are just a few items to look over. If you are involved in any type of hunting sport, your equipment will require maintenance. Take the time to do this for your hounds and it will pay big dividends over the course of the hounds hunting career.