Understanding The Importance of Pet First Aid

Understanding The Importance of Pet First Aid

Pet first aid is the immediate care given when a pet is injured or suddenly takes ill while at home and, when necessary, with veterinary help. This knowledge can mean the difference between life and death; temporary and permanent disability; expensive veterinarian bills and reasonable home care. It is estimated that 25 percent more pets can be saved if just one basic skill or technique was applied prior to receiving veterinary care.

Learning the skills and techniques of pet first aid are best learned by lecture, demonstration and hands-on skill practice. Generally, the skills and techniques of pet first aid are every similar to human first aid. The key differences are size, anatomy and communication.

Three Medical Emergencies It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, a veterinarian or somebody walking down the street, there are only three situations you will ever have in a medical emergency:

• The first and most common situation you may experience is when an injured pet needs first aid care.

• The second- and more serious -situation is when the injured pet requires Rescue Breathing.

• The third- and most serious -is when the injured pet needs CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

The Primary Pet Assessment is a first aid skill that will allow you to assess the pet’s condition with a physical and visual exam. Within the first 15-25 seconds of your assessment, you will be able to identify the severity of the situation, the injuries that are present and the protocols of care you should follow.

Situation 1

When a pet has a heart beat and is breathing

An injured pet has a heartbeat and is breathing needs first aid care. The pet could be conscious unconscious. Injuries that would require first aid care include heat injuries, cold injuries, bleeding, shock, bee sting, snake bite and poisoning, to name a few. Pets that do not receive immediate first aid care, tend to get worse, not better. Once you begin to administer first aid care, you must stay with you pet and continue to monitor their condition until you can contact your veterinarian.

Situation 2

When a pet has a heartbeat, but is not breathing

If your pet is NOT breathing and has a pulse, you would need to begin Rescue Breathing. This makes sense because your pet has a heartbeat, but it’s just not breathing, so you will rescue it by breathing for it. Your pet will be unconscious except or conscious choking. Your pet could NOT be breathing and have a heart beat because of sudden blunt trauma to the head and/or chest, accidental shock from an electrical source, prolonged confinement in an unventilated space, near drowning, accidental poisoning and allergic reaction or suffocation.

Situation 3

Injured pet has no heartbeat and is not breathing

Pets that are NOT breathing and have NO heartbeat would need CPR. Clinically speaking this condition is defined as dead. However, in the medical world we have two types of dead, clinical and biological. Clinical death is where your primary pet assessment indicates they have no heart beat, and they are not breathing, yet the cells of the brain and heart are still alive and viable. Biological death is where the cells of the brain and heart have gone so long without oxygen-rich, nutrient-rich blood supply that they are dead or no longer viable. This is an extremely time-sensitive situation. Other than in extreme cases such as morbidity, decapitation or extreme exposure, you can tell the difference between clinical or biological death. Therefore, if your pet is NOT breathing and has NO heartbeat, it is best to begin CPR.

What is most important?

Most importantly, in any situation you encounter, do the best you can with the resources you have. And, always remember, prevention is best, being prepared is the key, education and training are a must and quick intervention is necessary for saving the lives of our beloved four-legged, furry family members!

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