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The first step in saving your dog's life is to have enough sense to know when to pick him up. Really. All of the best medical techniques known to man will be useless to you if you have let your dog go to the point of no return in his match. The key here is to realize that your dog will continue to go downhill, even after you pick him up. Think about it. If you roll your dog for ten minutes, he seems fine when you pick him up - but how does he look a couple of hours later? All sore and limping, doesn't he? Well, what do you think happens when you pick up a dog when he's at death's door? The answer is he continues to go downhill and passes through death's door in a few hours. The result: another good dog lost to his owner's stupidity. You must understand, if you care about your dog's life, that he will continue to go downhill another 10% - 20% after you pick him up. Therefore, you must factor in this process as you watch the match.

One of the best ways to factor this in is to make a habit of picking up your dog the minute the idea pops into your mind. For if the thought that "I'd better pick him up" pops into your mind, there is probably a reason. If you are going to be wrong, it is far better to error on the side of your dog's life than it is to error on the side of your dog's death...It is far better to pick up a dog 15 minutes too early than one second too late...It is far better to be MAN ENOUGH to lose some money, like a good sport, than to be STUPID ENOUGH to lose both your money and a game dog. Remember: you cannot breed to a dead dog, you cannot match a dead dog, and most people would be uninterested in purchasing a dead dog, so even if you have no heart or compassion at all towards your friend who's in there trying his hardest for you...even as a business decision, it is still a dumb move to let your dog get killed in a match. Hopefully, however, you have some moral integrity and do not get off on watching a fine animal lose his life.

Assuming that you're a concerned enthusiast, when your dog is losing, his life depends on your judgment. The first step in exercising good judgment is to know when to pick up. One of the best ways to learn this is to do a little fighting yourself. Take up boxing, or wrestling, or some other form of human fighting (where you're really in there fighting an opponent), so you get a sense of what it's like to get your own butt kicked. This will do wonders in teaching you the difference between when you're simply losing (but can still mount a comeback), as opposed to when you are so tired and beat up that things need to be stopped. This has a remarkable tendency to give you an eye for where your dog is when he's in the trenches. You will note that most of the people who lack the heart to get in there and save their dog also lack the heart to fight for real against a quality opponent themselves. They may carry a gun, or pick on the weak - but you will observe a tendency to avoid a real challenge. Why? Because heart goes both ways - if you have a good heart towards others, you'll have it in the trenches. If you see people who don't have a good heart towards others, you'll find it lacking when they're in deep themselves too.

OK, enough soap-boxing.... So you've decided to pick up your dog - or he just won a tough match - and he's pretty banged up, chopped up, and needs your care. You were smart enough to bring all of the appropriate supplies to the match...RIGHT?!? Uh, what are those supplies? Okay, fair question, they are:

  1. Solu-Delta-Cortef + Dexamethasone (Azium) (Prednisolone or Flumethasone).
    Anti-Inflamatory/anti-shock injectibles. Reduce swelling and discomfort - and with Solu-Delta-Cortef can bring one back from a scary downhill turn for the worse. A MUST HAVE if you're matching for real. Azium is usually all you need; Solu-Delta-Cortef if it's really bad.
  2. Pain Killer (Lidocaine) or anykind.
    Obvious what this does. Not critical to have, but helps.
  3. Vitamin K Injectible.
    Promotes blood clotting and can help stop bleeders, as well as unseen internal bleeding that can occur from all-out wars. MUST HAVE.
  4. Four Bags Lactated Ringers + 4 I.V. Catheters & Set-Ups.
    Replaces the fluids that get lost in a grueling war. MUST HAVE.
  5. Injectible Antibioctics.
    Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, or plain Penicillin Procain are used to prevent infection of wounds. MUST HAVE.
  6. Lassix.
    Aids in urination after a match. Sometimes the strain of a match can cause a dog's kidneys to shut down. Lassix can prevent this. Be careful not to over-do, as the dog can piss away all the fluids you're trying to put in with the ringers. This is what caused the dead game Truman to die - too much lassix and not enough fluid replacement. Can be critical to have, but is best not used if you don't have to.
  7. Gauze and Leg Tape (Type used on horses).
    Used to secure the Ringers to the leg of the treated dog, or as a bandage if necessary. MUST HAVE.
  8. Pound Flesh or Caustic Powder.
    Helps stop the bleeding of arteries along with the use of a tourniquet. MUST HAVE.
  9. Albacillian or Baytril.
    Extremely powerful antibiotics that can actually reverse the process of gangrene in dying tissue.
  10. Hydrogen Peroxide.
    Mixed with betadine and used to syringe into the holes in your dog to flush out dirt and toxins, cleansing the wounds to prevent infection. MUST HAVE.
  11. Betadine.
    See 10 above. MUST HAVE.
  12. Prepodyne Swab (for ears).
    Ears can swell and fill with fluid. These help by enabling cleansing of ears and applications of betadine/peroxide, etc.
  13. Iodine Shampoo or Betadine Surgical Scrub (for bathing).
    For washing your dog off after the show, cleaning him from head to toe to prevent infection. MUST HAVE.
  14. Sutures (both silk and gut), Staple Gun and Removers.
    For closing more serious wounds (after treatment of same), both to prevent infection and to speed up healing, also reducing scarring. MUST HAVE.
  15. Derma-Clens.
    Another helpful skin cleaner.
  16. Granulex Spray.
    Helps prevent wound infection and aids in clotting of bleeders.
  17. Scalpel and/or Surgical Razor. To cut away dead tissue to prevent infection/gangrene. MUST HAVE.
  18. Surgical Scissors.
    Same as 17, and can be used to cut tape also.
  19. Sterile Gloves.
    To be used while treating wounds, suturing, etc. to prevent infection.
  20. Sterile Vaseline or KY Jelly.
    Can aid in temperature-taking, insertion of catheters, etc.
  21. Thermometer.
    Used in monitoring the temperature of a dog in shock.
  22. Super Glue.
    Used for repairing split ears and tailtips.
  23. Two Clean, Dry Blankets.
    One for covering a dog after the fight while he receives his fluids, and the other used after he gets his bath and wound treatment, so he can be kept warm while he is resting. MUST HAVE.
  24. Two Clean, Dry Towels.***
    For drying the dog after his after-match cleaning bath. MUST HAVE.
  25. Leather Shoestring or Equivalent.***
    To be used as a tourniquet in case an artery is hit. MUST HAVE.
  26. Two Dozen 3cc Syringes w/ 22-Guage Needles.***
    For all of the needed injections. MUST HAVE.
  27. CytoMax + Canine Peak Condition (or Peak Performance).
    To mix with water to feed/water your dog after a match to give life-sustaining fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients. MUST HAVE.
  28. Oxygen Set-up.***
    For dogs in critical condition, only to be used by a vet or vet tech. Not for amateurs - and unnecessary if you pick up your dog at a reasonable time.
  29. Blood Transfusion Set-up.***
    Same as 28 above.
  30. Epinephrine ("Epi").***
    Adrenaline injection to start a failed heart. As with 28 and 29 above, used only in the most extreme emergencies - that should be unnecessary if you pick up your dog at a reasonable time with plenty of Life in him. [Mis-use of Epi is what killed GR CH Sandman after his legendary fight with GR CH Buck...]

**Special thanks to Ironline Kennels for the basic idea of this list on which I elaborated!**

OK, so you have these supplies, or at least the "MUST HAVEs" in your Jumbo Vet Box (usually a converted fishing tackle box). Now here's what you do. Step One: get him to a quiet (and warm) room and get his first clean, dry Blanket over him. This is to keep his body temperature level and warm to prevent him from going into shock. Speak kind words to him in a reassuring voice. He may not be able to understand your words, but believe me he understands the emotion that's behind your words. The power of emotion and closeness cannot be overstated in your dog's will to live. Any child feels better if his mother is close by when he is sick, and any severely traumatized dog feels better when his owner is close by reassuring him. It makes a BIG difference whether your dog is left behind in a cold crate to sleep in his piss while you go out and party (don't laugh this has happened more times than you might think) - or whether you're right there petting him and praising him for the good job he did, or tried to do.

The first thing to worry about would be any bleeders (arteries) running. If there are none, cool. If there are, apply the Shoestring tourniquet 2 inches above the wounded limb fairly tight (but don't overdo this). Use the Granulex or Powder to place on the wound, and then apply PRESSURE. [If it's a head, chest, or armpit bleeder, then you can't use a tourniquet. In this case, give a Vitamin K injection to help the body's clotting abilities - and it's also a good idea to do anyway, in case of any unknown internal bleeding.] Once you have any bleeders under control, or if there aren't any, the next thing to do is check his gums to see if they're pink. If they're white, your dog is in shock and needs fluids. Press your finger against his gums to see if there's any color coming back. If the gums are pink, get white when you push them, and come back real pink again, you're probably all right. If they're pale with little or no color, he's probably in hypo-volemic shock, or headed there. At this point, you administer the IV fluids. With the Betadine, carefully cleanse the area to be treated (usually the front leg vein, sometimes the hind leg vein - or even the jugular in severe cases...if you know what you're doing; this is NOT recommended for the amateur). IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THESE THINGS, THEN BRING SOMEONE TO THE MATCH WITH YOU WHO DOES UNTIL YOU LEARN YOURSELF. YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS MATCHING A DOG IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO CARE FOR IT AFTERWARDS - OR CANNOT BRING SOMEONE WHO DOES KNOW HOW.

Anyway, then while you're running the fluids into the dog at a slow/moderate drip (making sure the fluids are body temperature - and to do this the bag should have been held by your second, under his shirt, during the match to keep it warm), you inject 5 cc's of Azium in the 1000 ml bag of fluids (Lactated Ringers) you're running [for a 50 lb dog (adjust the amounts proportionally based on the size of your particular dog)]. This gets the Azium in there at a gradual rate. NOTE: if your dog is really bad, substitute the Azium with Solu-Delta-Cortef, which does the same thing (anti-shock, anti-inflamatory), but is stronger. Give the dog his intra-muscular antibiotic injection and another 3 ccs of Azium seperately via a sub-Q (under the skin) injection.

This will stabilize your dog for the ride home. If he is really bad off, stay with him for the night right where you are. If this is impossible, take him to the nearest cheap motel so you don't travel with him too far in a weakened condition. Whatever the case, keep him wrapped and warm in his Blanket, gently put him in his crate, and go to where you're spending the night (home, the motel, where you are right there, whatever.) If you have a truck, do NOT but him in the back if you don't have a shell. You friends can sit in the back where it's cold - your dog needs to be warm. Drive easy so as not to unbalance your dog. Once you arrive at your destination, gently carry your dog in and run a BODY TEMPERATURE bath or shower, neither too hot, nor too cold - BODY TEMPERATURE. Utilize the Iodine Shampoo or Betadine Surgical Scrub for bathing the dog from head to toe and rinse him gently, but thoroughly. Then gently dry him thoroughly with your clean towels. At this point, see if he'll drink a cup of water with a little CytoMax and Peak Condition in it. If he does, GREAT; if he doesn't, try plain water. If he doesn't drink this either, don't panic. Remember, you're speaking kind words to your friend the whole time, praising his efforts, and confidently telling him he'll be all better soon. [I'm telling you, this makes a difference.] Whether he drinks or not, then take him outside and see if he'll urinate. If he urinates, you do NOT need to use the Lassix. If he deficates too, so much the better - his innards are working. There may well be blood in the urine, but that should clear in a day or so.

If he does not urinate, bring him back in and lay him down and cover him with the second clean, dry Blanket. Set up another IV Catheter and run another 500 ml of BODY TEMPERATURE Ringers in him and add 1 cc Lassix to the bag if he didn't urinate (don't add Lassix if he did). While the fluids are running, now is the time to individually treat EVERY wound on the dog. Put on the Surgical Gloves. Take a 3cc syringe and remove and discard the needle. With the syringe, suck in 1 1/2 ccs of Betadine and then another 1 1/2 ccs of Hydrogen Peroxide and shake up the mixture in the syringe. Apply the opening of the syringe to EACH AND EVERY puncture hole and squirt in a little of the Beta/HP mixture. The Betadine kills all gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, virus, and fungi that may have entered the wounds, while the bubbling action of the Peroxide helps spread it around in there. Keep refilling syringe with this mixture as necessary.

If the dog has deep lacerations that require sutures (I prefer to use the Surgical Staple Gun), use the Gauze pads and only the Betadine and cleanse the open wounds. DON'T FORGET TO CHECK YOUR DOG'S MOUTH FOR WOUNDS TOO, as they can become gangrenous if left unattended. If your dog has mouth wounds, take the Gauze and dip it in 75% Hydrogen Peroxide and 25% Betadine and scrub out the entirety of the animal's inside cheeks, gums, and mouth. [Most pit dogs instinctively know you're trying to help them and do not mind any of this. If your particular dog can't stand this, then you should already know this and have given him the pain killer right after the match - and brought a muzzle, if necessary - neither of which usually is necessary with the more typical, pain-tolerant, happy, game pit bulls.] After you cleanse the wounds thoroughly, but before you either Stitch, or Staple, any deep lacerations (as needed), use the Surgical Scalpel or Scissors to cut off any necrotic (dead) tissue that appears unable to heal.

After the wound treatment is complete, let the dog rest for another two hours and take him outside again to see if he'll urinate this time. Even if he can't walk, you can physically hold him up and walk him. The action of walking him is critical, as it enourages his kidneys to function. Conversely, just letting him lie in one spot for hours will cause his organs to stop functioning if he is badly off - and you'll wake up to a dead dog. If he urinates, great. Put him to bed in his blanket and go to bed yourself. [It will help your dog's spirits if he gets to sleep with you.] If he still does not urinate, you can put him back under his blanket and go to bed - but you need to set an alarm for every two hours to take him out and see if he will. Again, the moving around keeps his innards working too. If the match was over at 11:00 pm, and your dog hasn't urinated by 5 am, give him another 1/2 cc of Lassix, plus another hit of Azium (or Solu-Delta-Cortef) in another 500 ml of Ringers, plus try to see if he'll drink the cup of water/CytoMax/Peak Performance drink (or at least a cup of plain water). Eating/drinking encourages elimination.

If the dog has not urinated by 10:00 am the following morning, you need to take him to a vet. Make up whatever "kennel fight"..."I found him in an alley like this" story you need to, but get him to a vet. If you have an understanding vet, who knows what you're really doing and will back you, so much the better. Under no circumstances let your vet put the dog under, as he will 99% be too weak to come back. If you have to leave him at the vet, make periodic visits every 4 hours to let your dog know you're with him - and insist that someone walk the dog around every two hours both to encourage urination and to prevent kidney failure.

If your dog finally does urinate, either at home or at the vet, you can procede with home care. Keep him under a blanket resting, trying to walk him every two or three hours, so that his organs keep functioning. Keep feeding him the water/CytoMax/Peak mixture (or plain water) until he accepts normal food and drink. Keep giving him a bag of Ringers every four hours until he eats and drinks. Give him Azium every 12 hours until he eats also. Once he eats and drinks, he should be fine - but keep him indoors, warm and rested, until his wounds are healed pretty well. Give him his injection of Antibiotics every day. If he is gangrenous, use Baytril - it works wonders. Once his wounds begin to scab over, and are no longer "weepy", discontinue the Antibiotics. To help this, use the Granulex or pure Betadine on all wounds daily, the 75% HP, 25% Betadine scrub in his mouth, until all are healed over. Remove all sutures/staples after two weeks.

Put your tough, little warrior back on his chain and be damned proud of him!