Dog health care article, basic first aid for your pet, what to do in case of emergency (part ii)

Just a reminder, before we continue on helpful Basic First Aid tips, the concept of this column is to help you provide care and treatment of your pet until you can obtain professional help through your veterinarian.

Bites (snake) -get your pet to a veterinarian immediately -keep both yourself and the pet quiet and still -if possible bring the dead snake with you. The head is essential to establish the type of snake to get the correct type of anti-venom. -some veterinarians will recommend a tourniquet, others feel they are useless as the poison has already entered the bloodstream. If recommended, do this after you are on your way. Time is essential.

Bites (cat) -cats carry a certain bacteria in their mouth -watch for “cat scratch fever”. All cat caused wounds should be thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible after the infliction.

Bites (big dog little dog) -in a situation where a big dog was fighting with a little dog, it is a good idea to have the little dog checked by a veterinarian. There may be underlying injuries not as apparent as a bite wound.

Bites (small wounds) -clean the wound and use sterile dressings. Contact your veterinarian.

Bites (large open wounds) -if the situation ever occurs where the dogs insides are outside, keep the evisceration moist with saline or water. Use sterile dressings. Do not try to replace the organs yourself. Try and control the bleeding and treat for shock. Transport immediately to a veterinarian. Try and keep both yourself and the pet as calm as possible.

Bloat -This is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary assistance. Breeds with stomach tuck-up are more at risk (Boxers, Great Danes, Retrievers), than other breeds. The stomach turns and twists the intestines which cuts off circulation, etc. Watch for a bloated stomach, retching and white gums. A recommendation lately is to elevate the food dish as a possible prevention to this condition.

Broken toe nails -try to clip off the broken end. Use a commercial remedy, or corn starch to stop the bleeding. Bandage the paw to keep the wound clean. Change bandage frequently and watch for infection.

Blistered or cut pads -evaluate the size, depth, location of the wound, the source, amount of bleeding and check to see if there are contaminations such as glass, etc. in the wound. Is the wound a burn? Does it just need cleaning and bandaging, or does the wound need sutures?

Chemicals -Any time you suspect your pet has ingested any type of chemical, such as antifreeze, slug bait, flea sprays, rat poisons, etc. contact the veterinarian immediately. Identify the product and take the package to the veterinarian with you. Depending on the chemical the veterinarian may recommend you induce vomiting with a couple of tablespoons of peroxide. He will not recommend vomiting if your pet has ingested caustics, acids, or petroleum distillates.

Hit by a car -always seek veterinary attention, even if the pet seems fine. Injuries could be superficial, or there could be spinal or internal injuries. Stabilize the pet and take it to a veterinarian.

Diarrhea -dogs and people get diarrhea from time to time. Usually Vomiting there is no real concern and can be treated with medicines such as Kaopectate (consult your veterinarian for dosage amounts for the size of your dog). Diarrhea becomes an emergency when it lasts more than 24 hours, if there is blood in the stool, if there is vomiting, if the dog is listless, not eating or acting ill, or if there is a fever. In these instances, immediately contact your veterinarian.

Drugs -Any time a dog eats any type of human medication it is an emergency. Also, non-prescribed drugs such as marijuana or hallucinogens can cause severe problems. Locate the bottle the drug came in and contact your veterinarian immediately. It is important to stop the absorption of the drug immediately The veterinarian will likely recommend you induce vomiting by giving a couple of tablespoons of peroxide. Mustard also works.

Electrocution -this usually happens with bored puppies looking for something to chew on. Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep electrical cords either unplugged or tucked away. Provide your puppy with ample toys and a restricted area in which to play safely. Electrocution will show very few signs of injury, but usually there is pulmonary injury to the heart and lungs. Any time you suspect electrocution immediately contact your veterinarian.

Eye injuries -this is a big emergency that requires immediate appropriate treatment in order to save the eye. If the eyeball has come out of the socket, do not try to replace it yourself. Rely on your veterinarian to do this. If the eyeball remains out of the socket too long the cornea will dry out, and it may not be possible to save the eye. On the veterinarians advise, first aid can consist of applying eye drops or ointments to keep the eye moist. Tap water, or anything not recommended by the veterinarian can cause damage.

Fractures -any bone in a dogs body can be fractured. Fractured limbs are quite common. Fractures require treatment by your veterinarian. Attempts to immobilize the fracture with splints can cause more injury and pain for your pet. It is better to immobilize the whole pet and transport it to the veterinarian with a minimum amount of movement. Fractures are usually accompanied with shock, keep your pet calm and warm.

Return next week for more helpful tips.

Remember: Do not panic, stay calm, assess the situation, evaluate the pet (do you need to muzzle it), and do not make the situation worse. Keep your veterinarians telephone number in a handy location, and drive safely.