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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Save ALL urges pet owners to be readyand to know what to do during emergencies

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Have you ever been in a position when your pet was engaged in an accident, whether at home or on a walk, and you did not know what to do? While we hope this is never the case, there may be situations when we need to offer first aid to our pets.

However, in order to do so, you must first learn how to efficiently perform first aid treatment before arriving at the vet.

The majority of crises will necessitate veterinary care, but in rare circumstances, you will need to know how to stabilize your pet before arriving at the vet clinic. It is critical to note that any first aid therapy given to your pet at home should always be quickly followed by veterinarian care. First aid is not a replacement for veterinarian care, but it may save your pet’s life until veterinary care can be administered.

Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL, an animal welfare group registered with the Securities Exchange Commission, recommends putting together a simple pet first aid kit and keeping it in a safe, easily accessible location in the home. Another kit may be kept in the car just to be sure you have what you need during emergencies. Caravans and boats are additional areas where a pet first aid kit might come in helpful if your pet travels in them on a frequent basis.

Andrew Linklater, DVM, DACVECC, BluePearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital, in his article, “Emergency Care for Dogs and Cats” in the MSD MANUAL website says, your call to the veterinarian is the first step towards receiving emergency care. Prepare to describe the emergency scenario. Your veterinarian may advise you on how to provide first aid and move your pet securely. With the assistance of a veterinary specialist on the phone, you may be able to discover life-threatening respiratory, breathing, and circulation issues. Follow the guidelines for prompt treatment and transfer. Calling beforehand also allows the veterinary team to prepare for your arrival.

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A domestic cat is treated for burns. (Photo taken from iStock royalty-free images)

Some emergencies that require immediate veterinary care include:

· Poisoning

· Severe pain

· Severe or uncontrolled bleeding

· Difficulty in breathing

· Eye injuries

· Suspected bone fractures or inability to move a limb

What can we do in a scene of an emergency and how do we transport the patient to the nearest vet clinic?

Linklater reminds us that at the scene of an injury, you can administer basic medical treatment. But we must keep in mind also that any injured or in pain animal may bite or scratch. Approaching injured animals should be done with caution, and you should first take safeguards for your own safety.

He tells us that muzzle on a dog is frequently a smart safety measure (except for patients with chest injuries or a dog with a short nose (brachycephalic breeds like Pugs)); one may be readily manufactured from a piece of fabric or a ready-made muzzle can be included in the first aid box.

Another first to check, of course, is if the patient is conscious and breathing. Linklater instructs us on how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It is initiated with a series of chest compressions at a pace of 100-120 compressions per minute, according to him. Rescue breathing is done through the nose. Close the animal’s mouth, place your lips over its nostrils, and take 3 to 4 deep breathes at first. Continue CPR with a cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths if the animal does not start breathing on its own. Continue in this manner until the animal begins to breathe on its own or you reach veterinary help.

This dog ingested chocolate which is toxic to dogs and cats. (Photo taken from iStock royalty-free images)

Bleeding, cuts and wounds

Wounds can be incisions, punctures, or abrasions, and they can all cause bleeding.

Wounds are a regular pet emergency, and knowing how to respond is important. If your pet permits it, gently wash the area to remove any debris with saline or water. Apply direct pressure to the wound with a sterile wound dressing or cotton pad for at least three minutes (or until the blood begins to coagulate). Secure the dressing or pad with a bandage (or, if you don’t have any, a clean t-shirt or sock). Make certain that the bandage is not overly tight. Elevate the damaged leg, if possible, to reduce blood flow and facilitate clotting. If the bleeding persists, keep the initial dressing or pad in place and cover with a second pad and fasten with another bandage. Take your pet to the veterinarian.


According to Linklater, burns might be difficult to diagnose since the fur makes it difficult to examine the lesion. Large, deep burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns require quick treatment, as do burns to the airway or face. Apply cold water to the afflicted region and cover it with a non stick dressing.


Choking dogs or cats may cough loudly, slobber, choke, or paw at their mouth. They may also display indications of anxiousness by keeping their lips open. If you suspect your pet is choking, do not put your fingers in its mouth since you might get bitten or push the object farther in. Instead, Linklater suggests pounding the animal between the shoulder blades or delivering multiple fast, squeezing compressions on both sides of the ribcage.

A domestic cat with an infusion tubing in her paw. (Photo taken from iStock royalty-free images)

A foreign object penetrating the patient’s body

Linklater warns us not to remove foreign things that have pierced the head, chest, or abdomen. Prevent the item from moving or penetrating any farther. If an arrow has pierced the abdomen, do not allow the shaft of the arrow to move during transport. It may be essential to steady the shaft of the arrow slightly outside the body and, while holding it firmly, cut portion of the shaft off, leaving at least 2 inches (5 cm) outside the body wall.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a potentially fatal disease that needs immediate medical intervention. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, Linklater advises us to remove your pet from the hot surroundings as soon as possible.

Reduce their body temperature by watering them down with a hose or bucket, but avoid getting water in their eyes. Evaporative cooling will be aided by a fan blowing over their moist skin. Wrapping a moist towel around them will prevent any heat from escaping. Ice baths should be avoided since they might rapidly chill them and restrict blood vessels. Wetting the surfaces around your pet will assist to reduce the ambient temperature. Provide some water.


Hypothermia, on the other hand, is caused by excessive cold exposure. It typically occurs when an animal has been lost or left outside in extremely cold weather for an extended period of time following another accident or injury, such as a vehicle collision. Slow pulse, short breathing, confusion, collapse, and unconsciousness are all signs of hypothermia. In most cases, shivering is not an indication of hypothermia in dogs. If the animal is wet, fully dry it before wrapping warm (but not hot) water bottles around its body. The skin may be frozen or frostbitten if it is white and numb. If you suspect frostbite, carefully defrost the affected region without rubbing it or applying warm water, according to Linklater.


Airway, respiration, and circulation are examined and stabilized for all forms of trauma, according to Linklater. Control of bleeding, oxygen if necessary, and pain treatment are all given priority. After stabilization, the neurological system, chest, abdomen, and bones are thoroughly examined. If necessary, blood tests, urine tests, and imaging such as x-rays or ultrasound, may be done. Trauma to the eye is another prevalent emergency.

Animals that have been traumatized (such as when they are hit by a vehicle), frequently have various injuries, some of which are not immediately visible. According to Linklater, whenever the animal is moved or checked, the neck and spine should be maintained immobile in case there are spinal fractures or other issues that cannot be detected. Bandages or splints can be used to wrap or splint broken legs. Because many issues may not manifest themselves for up to 48 hours after trauma, your pet should be closely watched in a veterinary facility.

Eating something poisonous

Brendan Howard with his article, “How to Know if Your Dog Has Eaten Something Toxic” tells us that if you suspect your pet has eaten something dangerous, attempt to remove it from their jaws as soon as possible. It is dangerous to attempt to make your pet vomit at home. Determine how much your pet has eaten and contact your veterinarian. If your vet suggests urgent treatment at their clinic, bring the packaging of what your pet has eaten with you since it will aid your vet’s treatment.

If you have access to activated charcoal near you, this is one thing that may be given to a poisoned pet as first aid. Before administering, though, ask your vet first over the phone if it may be administered as first aid for your pet’s specific case. For that, you would need to tell the vet exactly what toxin your pet ingested. Also, you would need proper instruction of the dosage needed.

Snake bite

The article “A Guide To Snake Bites On Dogs (Symptoms, Signs, and Treatment)” from the Animal Emergency Service website gives their best information on how to treat snake bites.

Although the symptoms and indicators change slightly depending on the breed of snake, the following are the most common signs of a dog snake bite:

· Collapse followed by apparent recovery

· Lethargy

· Muscle tremors, shaking and reduced eye blinking

· Dilated pupils

· Sudden onset of weakness/wobbliness (ataxia)

· Complete paralysis

· Inability to control bladder and bowels

· Irregular bleeding from the nose, bit site, mouth

· Discoloured, dark urine (often bloody)

Top snake bite first aid recommendations for dogs:

· Don’t freak out, and keep your dog calm.

· Seek veterinary help right away.

· Call your local vet and let them know you’re on your way (if they don’t have snake anti-venom, they can refer you to a vet who does).

· Assuming possible, place a strong bandage above, below, and over the bite site (assuming you know where your dog was bitten). This helps to prevent the poison from going to the heart.

· Remove your dog’s collar if the bite wound is on the face or neck, as the region may enlarge.

· Try to limit your dog’s mobility and activity.

What you MUST NOT DO if you discover your pet has been bitten by a snake:

If you can identify the type of snake, notify your veterinarian so that they can deliver life-saving anti-venom. Excessive excitement in your dog might exacerbate the symptoms of the venom owing to the adrenaline coursing through the body. Do not try to suck the poison out of the dog’s bite wound because if the venom enters your circulation through an open wound in your mouth, it might be fatal. Applying a tourniquet will halt the supply of new blood to the limb, causing serious health problems and perhaps causing the limb to perish.

Pet first aid courses are an excellent method to expand your knowledge and practice your abilities in preparation for a real-life crisis. Your pet’s life depends on it.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

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