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Post capture necrosis of the feet caused by soft-catch traps – incidents, cause and prevention.

Byrne, D. and Allen, L. (2008) Post capture necrosis of the feet caused by soft-catch traps – incidents, cause and prevention. In: Proceedings of the 14th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference, 10-13 June 2008, Canberra, ACT.

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When recapturing satellite collared wild dogs that had been trapped one month previous in padded foothold traps, we noticed varying degrees of pitting on the pads of their trapped paw.

Veterinary advice, based on images taken of the injuries, suggests that the necrosis was caused by vascular compromise. Five of six dingoes we recaptured had varying degrees of necrosis restricted only to the trapped foot and ranging from single 5 mm holes to 25% sections of the toe pads missing or deformed, including loss of nails.

The traps used were rubber-padded, two–coiled, Victor Soft Catch #3 traps. The springs are not standard Victor springs but were Beefer springs; these modifications slightly increase trap speed and the jaw pressure on the trapped foot. Despite this modification the spring pressure is still relatively mild in comparison to conventional long spring or four-coiled wild dog traps.

The five wild dogs developing necrosis were trapped in November 2006 at 5-6 months of age. Traps were checked each morning so the dogs were unlikely to have been restrained in the trap for more than 12 hours. All dogs exhibited a small degree of paw damage at capture which presented itself as a swollen paw and compression at the capture point. In contrast, eight wild dogs, 7-8 month-old, were captured two months later in February. Upon their release, on advice from a veterinarian, we massaged the trapped foot to get blood flow back in to the foot and applied a bruise treatment (Heparinoid 8.33 mg/ml) to assist restoring blood flow. These animals were subsequently recaptured several months later and showed no signs of necrosis.

While post-capture foot injuries are unlikely to be an issue in conventional control programs where the animal is immediately destroyed, caution needs to be used when releasing accidentally captured domestic dogs or research animals captured in rubber-padded traps.

We have demonstrated that 7-8 month old dogs can be trapped and released without any evidence of subsequent necrosis following minimal veterinary treatment. We suspect that the rubber padding on traps may increase the tourniquet effect by wrapping around the paw and recommend the evaluation of offset laminated steel jaw traps as an alternative. Offset laminated steel jaw traps have been shown to be relatively humane producing as few foot injuries as rubber-jawed traps.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Corporate Creators:QPIF
Additional Information:© Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.
Keywords:Wild dogs; wild dogs traps.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Carnivora > Canidae (Dogs)
Veterinary medicine > Predatory animals and their control
Live Archive:12 Jun 2009 02:29
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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