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Basic First Aid

In Case of Emergency   |   Emergency Tips   |   Basic First Aid   |   Common Household Toxins

Bite Wounds: Bite wounds are often more severe than they appear, and frequently are not recognized as an emergency. Serious internal damage may occur without major external wounds. Large wounds can be bandaged with a clean towel or cloth, whereas small wounds can be cleaned to remove dirt and other foreign material.  If an object that caused a penetrating wound to the chest or belly (i.e. knife) is still in the body, it should be left there for removal by a veterinarian.

Burns: Burns may cause serious and life threatening injuries to animals. Immediately remove the pet from the heat source and wrap it in towels soaked with cool water while transporting it immediately to a veterinary facility for medical care.

External Hemorrhage (Bleeding): Bandages may be applied to areas of bleeding until you are able to get medical care for your pet by placing a clean sheet, towel, or piece of clothing over the wound.  To avoid restricting blood flow or breathing, bandages should not be wrapped too tightly.

If a bandage becomes blood soaked, apply more bandage material but do not remove what is already in place.

If you have been directed by a veterinarian to place a tourniquet, it is imperative to release the tourniquet every 5 minutes to avoid permanent limb injury.

Eye Emergencies: If the eye has been exposed to any type of irritants or if the globe is exposed, keep the pet calm and avoid struggling. If it does not stress the pet, flush the eye(s) well with eye flush or plain water while transporting it to the veterinary clinic.

Foreign objects penetrating the eye should never be removed by the pet owner.  Pets with a foreign object in their eye should be brought to their veterinarian immediately if during regular business hours, or LIVS during the evenings, weekends or holidays.

Fractures: Immobilize pets by placing them on a stretcher or in a confined area (carrier or a box) and transport to your veterinarian immediately if during regular business hours, or LIVS during the evenings, weekends or holidays.

Heat Stroke: Hot, humid weather, poor ventilation, strenuous exercise, obesity, breeds with short length muzzles, and pre-existing conditions all increase the risk of heatstroke. Animals suffering from heatstroke need immediate attention to bring down the body temperature. The animal should be cooled with room-temperature water baths or wrapped in towels soaked in cool water. DO NOT PLACE ANIMAL IN COLD WATER. Owners should transport their pet immediately to a veterinary clinic for medical care.

Hypothermia: Frostbite and hypothermia can occur in minutes in frigid temperatures. Frostbite usually affects the ears, tail, scrotum, and feet. Signs of frostbite can range from the skin appearing bright red in the early phase to pale grey color. If the damage was severe enough, the skin or foot pads could peel.  Hypothermia can cause severe life threatening consequences. Signs of hypothermia are skin that is cold to the touch, change in behavior, excessive shivering, or a coma-like state.  Keep your pet warm by wrapping him/her in a blanket while being transported to the veterinary hospital.

Poison: If an animal has ingested or been in contact with poison, the owner should read the active ingredient usually found on the label. Poison Control Centers should be contacted for specific antidotes and treatments.  The Animal Poison Control telephone is 800- 548-2423. They charge a fee of $45.00 to a major credit card for this service.

If a pet has ingested a toxin, the owners should follow the directions of a veterinarian over the phone until able to get to a veterinary hospital. If your veterinarian directs you to induce vomiting in your pet, hydrogen peroxide and syrup of ipecac may be used for this purpose.

If the pet has been externally in contact with poison, remove the animal from the source while wearing protective gloves and clothing. Wash the animal with copious amounts of water before arrival at the hospital. Check all animals in the home for contact with the poison.