Dog Bite Analysis Wanted

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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 4:23 pm

Not sure what forum to put this is so if it needs to be moved, please do!

Today was an exciting day. I take the first play session of the day down today at work. It includes a female boxer about 2 years old, Beaumont (my puppy) and a 16 month old Saint Bernard. Everyone is playing really well and having fun. I didn't see anything that made me worried. Beaumont and the boxer love each other and are wrestling and playing, with the SB chasing behind them. All getting along well and being good dogs.

It comes time to leash them up and head back and I call to them. Beaumont and the boxer continue to wrestle but the SB comes running up the hill to me, all goofy like. I turn around to grab leashes and out of no where the SB goes all cujo on me and grabs my left forearm and crocodile rolls me onto the ground and procedes to bite down on my arm at least four times that I can feel. He finally lets go so I back up and notice the other two dogs running up the hill to see what's going on. I grab them by their collars (the last thing I wanted was a dog fight on top of all this!) and I have no idea if the SB is hurt or what. As I grab the other two dogs, the SB starts coming at me again, snarling and snapping. Then, he's fine....like someone flipped a switch.

I continue to hold onto the other two dogs and scream for help on the radio. My assistant manager and the owner both get there at the same time. We have my asst manager take the other two dogs back to the barn, and leave the SB in the fenced in play area so we can assess my injuries. He chewed up my arm pretty good, with about 9 punctures and lots of scrapes. My boss went and leashed him up and put him back in his kennel with no issues. He checked him for any injuries and didn't find anything, no soreness at all.

So, a little background on Thor the Saint Bernard. He's 16 months old, neutered and definitely doesn't have enough training. He's pushy, and does things like stands in the way when you're trying to get out of the kennel and is constantly playing the leash game. No one has had any major issues with him and we've seen no aggressive behavior until now. When we called the owners the first thing the dad talked about was putting the dog down. Now, that leads me to believe that there's been a previous incident that they haven't told us about.

What do you guys think? I'm really curious to hear opinions. Photos of my chewed up arm to follow, I'm off to take a valium.
~Jeanine

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 15th, 2008, 4:27 pm

I know nothing about that, but good lord! I'm so glad you're "okay." Sounds like it could have been a lot worse. :(
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 4:28 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I know nothing about that, but good lord! I'm so glad you're "okay." Sounds like it could have been a lot worse. :(


It was pretty scary! That's a lot of dog to be trying to kill you, ya know?
~Jeanine

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Postby Jenn » August 15th, 2008, 4:34 pm

:shock: Oh my!! How horrible, I soooo hope you heal well, and feel better soon. :(
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 15th, 2008, 4:50 pm

I'm so sorry this happened to you...Ugh...you must really be hurting right now... :(

My thoughts are...seizure related? I've heard of dogs having issues during seizures. If it were an Aussie or collie type dog, I'd think drug reaction, due to the MDR-1 gene...but I haven't heard of this in SBs. The fact that you describe the behavior like "flipping a switch" sounds like some sort of wiring problem in his brain...
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Postby katiek0417 » August 15th, 2008, 5:00 pm

My thoughts are a some type of "sudden rage" syndrome...apparently can be prominent in St. Bernards:

http://members.lycos.co.uk/ragesyndrome ... israge.htm
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Postby lil_red » August 15th, 2008, 5:01 pm

I'm really very sorry this happened to you but it sounds like you had enough wits about you to make sure you got out of it. Hope you feel better soon.
As for interpreting whether or not the dog's done it before or not, I really can't say, and I don't know that the owner's solution for putting him down is really an indication of such. There are many owners with unruly, untrained dogs that insist that they just have "bad" dogs that are "untrainable" because they refuse to ever become the pack leader and the dog does as it pleases so their solution is to "just put it down." I have a feeling that if he had really bit someone else prior, some sort of legal action probably would have already been taken. Just my own opinion, really.
I'm just trying to put myself in the owner's shoes, but I am so sorry to hear that you got hurt for what would seem to be no reason, and hope you recover quickly and well. :mrgreen: I am grateful that you are still able to tell us your story though... :wave2:
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 5:04 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I'm so sorry this happened to you...Ugh...you must really be hurting right now... :(

My thoughts are...seizure related? I've heard of dogs having issues during seizures. If it were an Aussie or collie type dog, I'd think drug reaction, due to the MDR-1 gene...but I haven't heard of this in SBs. The fact that you describe the behavior like "flipping a switch" sounds like some sort of wiring problem in his brain...


Yep, that's what I think too. Structurally the dog is a mess so I'm assuming he's poorly bred. He's definately a big puppy who's just starting to figure out that he's a BIG puppy, ya know? But nothing that would have make me think he'd bite me. That's why I figured maybe he hurt himself. THAT'S a dog bite that I can understand. As it was, while he was chomping on my arm, it was like it was in slow motion and I remember just standing there looking at him chew on my arm and thinking, "Why is this dog biting me?" I know with most bites there are warning signs, and dogs don't just snap. But if there were warning signs with this dog, I sure missed them.

Here's a link to the photos:

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=25542&p=273618#p273618
~Jeanine

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Postby katiek0417 » August 15th, 2008, 5:07 pm

Yikes! I'm really thinking sudden rage
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Postby Marinepits » August 15th, 2008, 5:11 pm

I've heard of this happening twice with StB's over my years at vet clinics -- both times the dogs were put down. A two hundred pound dog with rage issues is NOT something to screw with, that's for sure.

I know of several Springers with Sudden Rage Syndrome and they have been manageable within certain situations and with dedicated owners. My brother ended up putting his down because of the baby, but Chivas was manageable for a couple of years before that.
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Postby gayrghts » August 15th, 2008, 5:12 pm

Erin i was thinking the same thing.... some type of seizure or spasm if he's not done that before....

but that's a huge dog to be dealing with this with....

I'd suggest using a muzzle till you know for sure what the problem is....

btw have you started any antibiotics???

did you ICE your arm that will help for at least 24 hrs
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 5:13 pm

katiek0417 wrote:Yikes! I'm really thinking sudden rage


It would make sense. Super scary. I don't even really mind a dog that you KNOW you have to watch. It's a lot more scary when it's unpredictable like that. I'm trying to get as much info as I can so my boss can pass it along to the owners.
~Jeanine

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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 5:15 pm

gayrghts wrote:Erin i was thinking the same thing.... some type of seizure or spasm if he's not done that before....

but that's a huge dog to be dealing with this with....

I'd suggest using a muzzle till you know for sure what the problem is....

btw have you started any antibiotics???

did you ICE your arm that will help for at least 24 hrs


Hubby is picking up ab's now. I started icing it as soon as it happened and will continue 15 min on and 15 min off through the night. :)

Thor has been transferred to a kennel that can do his 10 day quarantine. The parents will be home right about that time.
~Jeanine

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Postby Marinepits » August 15th, 2008, 5:16 pm

Was Thor UTD on his rabies vaccine?

Are YOU rabies vaccinated?
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Postby iluvk9 » August 15th, 2008, 5:19 pm

Sorry about the dog bite. :shocker:
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 5:22 pm

Marinepits wrote:Was Thor UTD on his rabies vaccine?

Are YOU rabies vaccinated?


Yes, we require all dogs be UTD on vaccines, and WA state requires a Rabies vaccination. I have NOT had a Rabies vaccination, but it's also almost unheard of in this area. However I am sporting a brand new Tetnus shot.
~Jeanine

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Postby gayrghts » August 15th, 2008, 6:11 pm

I know that i was a split second thing.... but was he acting upset WHEN he was biting?

ie growling, snarling, or was he just chewing....

some of your posts sound almost like he was just out of his mind and chomping on something like a toy....
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 15th, 2008, 6:16 pm

gayrghts wrote:I know that i was a split second thing.... but was he acting upset WHEN he was biting?

ie growling, snarling, or was he just chewing....

some of your posts sound almost like he was just out of his mind and chomping on something like a toy....


Yeah he was screaming like he was in a dog fight and chewing on my arm at the same time. He then just let go and laid down and stayed laying down for a bit. He seemed a little 'out of it' for an hour or so after the bite. After an hour was fine and wagging his tail for my boss.
~Jeanine

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Postby airwalk » August 15th, 2008, 9:13 pm

Sudden rage is not unheard of in SB's..but Kat frankly, I'm with you. We find often when an owner jumps immediately to euthanasia, there have been some type of incidents in the past that they aren't talking about.

Sorry this happened to you, what a scare. I'm really glad everyone came out of it sort of okay!
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Postby DropkickPA » August 15th, 2008, 9:58 pm

Dang, that's a LOT of dog to wrassle with! Hope you're okay, your heart must have started going a mile a minute once it was done with!

With your descriptions of all of his dominant behaviors (not allowed to leave his kennel, leash game), it sounds like a combination of dominance aggression and some funky misfires going on in the brain (the post attack behavioral change), and I am sure poor breeding has a lot to do with it.
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