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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Pet Talk: First aid capability and knowledge can save pets' lives

  • Capability and knowledge in providing first aid for pet emergencies can be life saving for your dog or cat.
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  • Capability and knowledge in providing first aid for pet emergencies can be life saving for your dog or cat.
    First aid is not a substitute for veterinary care but immediate and competent initial care for an illness or injury prevents deterioration of the pet’s condition and buys time to get the pet to professional care.
    Excessive bleeding can be scary.
    The source may not be evident if the pet is bloody all over.
    Our dog Penny, once came out of the woods in the Canadian wilderness limping and bloody.
    Her face, chest and legs were saturated with fresh blood. I thought this might from a critter she had killed but immediately realized that she was weak and in distress. After cleaning her I found that she had sliced one of her footpads’ wide open. We were too far from vet care so I had to tend to her.
    The wound was cleansed and pressure applied with gauze pads.
    A “Vet Wrap” elastic bandage held it all together and stopped the bleeding.
    My vet, in a telephone consultation, said that this kind of wound does not get sutured and healing would occur as long as the foot was kept clean and dry.
    After a few days, her energy returned and the wound closed up over a few weeks.
    The above anecdote describes a basic approach for care of bleeding injuries that might occur because of dogfights, car accidents or other trauma.
    Pressure held in place until the blood starts clotting is required.  Hold in place three minutes before checking.
    If the bleeding on a limb is severe and has arterial spurting, a tourniquet between the wound and the body will stop blood flow.  
    Loosen it for a few seconds every 15 minutes so that blood to the area is not completely cut off.
    A chest wound where air is visibly leaking from the lungs, needs to be sealed off.
    A layer of plastic wrap held in place with Vaseline can temporarily accomplish this.
    Protruding abdominal organs should be gently placed back inside the abdomen and held in place with a saline soaked clean cloth.
    Internal bleeding may be present after trauma.
    Blood in the urine or from nose, mouth, rectum accompanied by signs of collapse, requires immediate transportation to vet care.
    Keep the pets head level with the body and cover with warm blankets.
    Accidental ingestion of toxic substances is a preventable cause of illness and death of dogs and cats.
    A list of these potentially toxic substances is too long to include.
    An excellent pet poison helpline web site provides information about potential pet poisons and the management of ingestion of these substances.
    Page 2 of 2 - The website http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/ is available 24/7. There is a $36 fee for their services if you call them in an emergency.
    Their number is 800-213-6680. Some common signs of poisoning might include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, loss of appetite, coughing up or vomiting blood, pale gums, racing heart rate and collapse.
    For burns, flush the area immediately with large quantities of cold water to prevent further damage from chemicals or heat. Place an ice water compress to the burned area while transporting to the vet.
    Signs of bee sting include yelping or scratching at the site and redness. If your dog is stung, remove the stinger with a flat surface like a credit card.
    A cold compress and some rest is often sufficient but be on the alert for allergic reactions.
    Objects stuck in a pet’s airway may need a Heimlich type maneuver.
    Observe closely if they are choking but able to cough and breathe and if the pet cannot breathe because the object is fully lodged, immediate on the scene action is necessary to save their life.
    Place both hands on the side of your pet's rib cage and apply firm quick pressure, or strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times to shoot as much air out of the lungs as quickly as possible to push the object out.
    If your pet is seriously ill or injured, contact a local vet immediately for instructions.
    If the emergency occurs after hours and your vet does not offer 24-hour services, they will probably refer you to an area emergency veterinary hospital. One of the most recommended Kansas City area emergency hospitals is Blue Pearl with locations in Lee’s Summit, K.C Northland and Overland Park. Web page: http://bluepearlvet.com/kansas/ Their number is 913-642-9563. VCA Mission Animal Referral and Emergency is another recommended option. (Note: They were formerly called Mission Med Vet). Web page: http://www.vcaspecialtyvets.com/mission-referral-emergency/our-hospital. Their phone no. is 913-722-5566 or toll free: 800-790-7766.

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