Self Help Guide to Emergency Conditions
Here are a few pointers to help you take care of your pet in case of situations when your vet is perhaps not reachable.
- BEE STINGS:- In case of Bee stings usually with a mild bite or two, relief can be provided with warm compresses or bicarbonate of soda and antihistamines (anti allergic) to relieve the swelling. Some animals, however, react violently to a sting or bite. They should kept warm until one reaches the veterinary clinic.
- BURNS:- Superficial burns can be treated by washing the area with bicarbonate of soda solution and then applying vaseline to the area to coat it and keep it clean. If possible the area should be covered to prevent secondary infection from setting in. Where there are extensive burns, all the necrotic (dead) skin and hair have to be removed. The areas are then covered with Vaseline bandages and your veterinarian gives antibiotic therapy.
- DIARRHEA:- In simple diarrhea the bowel movement is loose, with a normal color. The disorder is usually cause by such things as overeating, a sudden change in diet or an emotional upset. Some pets can’t take milk, and in diarrhea milk should be immediately removed from the diet although buttermilk is good. Fried or greasy foods upset some pets; also spoiled or decayed foods. Very nervous and emotionally disturbed pets can have diarrhea almost at will. Any time something goes wrong in the household they have diarrhea. A bland diet should be given, which will include most starchy foods, (rice, macaroni, noodles, grits) flavored with any type of lean meat. The diarrhea should be cured within 48 hours if it’s a simple type. If it is not, professional consultation is needed
- DROWNING:- In case of drowning the first thing to do for a pet who has been under water too long is to hold him upside down and let the water run out of his mouth and nostrils. Then apply artificial respiration, and in extreme cases mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It may be necessary to continue for some time half an hour or an hour, or as long as the heart continues beating. After the pet starts to breathe by himself, you have to treat him for shock and keep him warm against pneumonia. The animal may show foreign-body pneumonia caused by water in the lungs. It is best to get the pet to your veterinarian after he is revived so he can be examined and complications prevented.
- ELECTRIC SHOCKS:- For Electric shocks, when a pet is knocked unconscious by stepping on or chewing into a live wire, be sure the electric current is turned off before you do anything to help the pet. Then you must try to stimulate his respiration which is the first thing to stop in electrical shock. As long as the heart is beating, you can possibly revive a pet who is not breathing. Give artificial respiration either by pressing on the rib cage in a rhythmic motion or by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- FOREIGN OBJECTS:- If your pet swallows any foreign objects, it will usually come out with your fingers but if the object does not come out with your fingers, the pet will likely have to be put under and anesthetic and forceps used. If the foreign body is down past the throat, your veterinarian has special instruments that go down into the esophagus and windpipe.
- HEART ATTACK:- Heart attack can occur while a pet is strenuously exerting himself out in the yard or relaxing in front of the fire. The animal will gasp for air and go into an unconscious state. The tongue max turn blue, indicating insufficient oxygen. In emergency treatment give artificial respiration and a stimulant, such as warm coffee or brandy, to get the heart and respiration going again. Applying pressure to the chest cavity does tow things, it empties the lungs, and it massages the heart (pressure on the chest cavity presses on the heart muscle and is almost like open-heart resuscitation)by pounding on the hest cavity firmly, but not roughly, the heart muscle can sometimes be stimulated into beating. When the animal regains consciousness, he should be treated as a shock case and kept warm, as his body temperature will drop rapidly if he is left uncovered. A veterinarian should be contacted, as the animal’s heart needs digitalization and other forms of stimulation of a more permanent nature.
- HEAT STROKES:- Heat strokes particularly occurs for short nosed breeds, such as Pekingese, English Bull pet, Boston Terrier, Pug and Boxer. The Pomeranian also seems susceptible. A common mistake people make is to leave their pets in parked automobiles while they go shopping for a “few moments”. The causes of heatstroke in susceptible animals are high atmospheric temperatures, high humidity, and lack of ventilation. The first signs of heatstroke are excessive panting, weakness, inability to stand, and dilated pupils giving a blank expression. In later stages the tongue turns various shades of blue, it is difficult for the pet to get air and he becomes cyanotic. One must move the pet into fresh air or into a cool, ventilated area. The pet’s temperature usually goes up to 106 degrees or more, so he has to be cooled as fast as possible. If there’s a bathtub available, get him into it but don’t have the water so cold initially as to shock him. It is preferable to soak the animal with wet towels to allow the heat to evaporate slowly. Apply ice packs to the head. Then rush the animal to your veterinarian for oxygen, intravenous saline and glucose injections, and general treatment for shock. To prevent heat stroke when traveling in a car without air conditioning, keep the windows open and allow the animal to lie on towels which are kept soaked with cold water. At home be sure to provide the animal with adequate shade and protection from the sun. Avoid strenuous exercise in hot weather. The addition of salt to the diet during the summer months is advisable, as the pet’s body loses salt rapidly in hot weather. A pinch in the dinner every night is all that is needed.
- EAR INJURIES:- Ear injuries usually entail cuts and bruises to the ear flap received in a pet fight (in which case there may be punctures and tears) or in blows to the head (in which case there may be a hematoma or hemorrhaging). When there is a hematoma, the ear flap sells, and a soft mass can be felt inside the ear. Because of its painfulness the pet shakes his head continually. The more he the shakes it, the more it hemorrhages and the more it sells. The best emergency treatment until you reach your veterinarian is cold packs to the ear.
- EYE INJURIES:- Eye injuries should be treated with great care. Any injury to the outside covering, the cornea, or the eyeball should be looked upon as an emergency. Keep the eye moist with cold – water packs and keep it covered (the pet will try desperately to scratch it) until you get to your veterinarian.
- FOOT AND LEG INJURIES:- Foot and leg injuries are common. To avoid having a lame pet the rest of his life, an injury should be properly attended to immediately. At the first sign of limping the leg should be carefully examined from the paw up. Although the pet’s pad has a tough covering it is vulnerable to penetration by such foreign objects as glass, metal, and wood splinters. Any would to the pad should be washed thoroughly with an antiseptic and then bandaged to prevent further dirt and debris from entering the wound and to keep it from opening further. Often wounds to the pad have to be sutured and are slow – healing because of the constant pressure of the pet’s weight on the wound.
- FRACTURES:- When dislocations, fractures, and sprains to the leg are not readily diagnosable, and X-ray should be made. Heat should be applied and aspirin given to relieve the pain. If limping continues more than 24 hours or is more severe, the injury is more serious than a simple sprain. Even certain sprains where the ligaments are torn require surgery to repair the ligaments and splints for immobilization.
- TAIL INJURIES:- Often a pet will get his tail caught in a door or cut by a sharp object such as the edge of a metal wall or a fence. These injuries are painful and tend to be difficult to treat because of constant wagging (and hence bruising). Antiseptics should be applied, and the tail bandaged with a thick padding.
- PARALYSIS:- Paralysis is a disturbing sight. The pet is unable to move and sometimes is unable to swallow. It can be due to a variety of causes, such as cerebral hemorrhage or food poisoning. Spinal-disc rupture can cause a complete paralysis of the rear parts. This is seen mainly in Dachshunds. A severe infestation of ticks can cause a generalized paralysis. For emergency treatment, move the pet carefully and get him immediately to your veterinarian.
- BITES:-For bites, such as snakes, put a tourniquet between the bite and the heart. Cut open the area with a blade (razor of knife), and if possible carefully suck out the venom. Soap and water is the best detergent for the wound; and then rush the pet to your veterinarian. With antitoxins and cortisone, most snake-bitten animals can be saved.
- VOMITING:- A pet who is vomiting is very thirsty, but the more water he drinks the more he vomits. Remove all water dishes and replace them with a few ice cubes in a dish. Treatment during the recuperative period should involve a bland diet to help nature heal the lining of the stomach. Remove all commercial pet food from the diet. No milk should be given. And no bones, a basic diet can be cooked rice, grits, noodles, or macaroni, chicken, or lamb. Cooked cereals such as oatmeal and other baby cereals and baby foods are excellent. Buttermilk, cottage cheese and other cheese are also acceptable.
*AS PROVIDED BY KCI (louis l. vine dvm)