The best health insurance you can give your pet is preventive health care. Preventive health care is much more than just vaccinations. Preventive health care includes proper nutrition, exercise, weight control, internal & external parasite control, skin and coat care, and dental hygiene. It has been estimated that simply keeping your pet’s teeth clean can add 2 years to its life. Annual blood profiles and urinalysis for all pets over 6 years of age will allow earlier detection of problems before they become life threatening.
Preventive health care also includes being prepared for an emergency. Even though you can’t protect your pet from all dangers, you should pet-proof your home and learn how to handle an emergency.
The first step in being prepared for an emergency is knowing what veterinary hospital to contact in the event of an emergency. Parkway Animal Hospital always gives emergencies priority. Should something happen to your pet call (919) 460-0741 to notify our staff of your emergency. This allows us the chance to have all the equipment and medications ready for your pet the moment you arrive. Our staff routinely practices these emergency protocols and will be ready and able to help with any situation that arises. Should an emergency occur after hours our phone system will connect you to the Animal Emergency Clinic of Cary located at 220 High House Road, their phone number is (919) 462-8989. We work closely with this emergency clinic and will be notified of your pet’s condition the following morning. Any treatment provided at this clinic is recorded in your pets record at Parkway as well. Should your pet need continued monitoring following an emergency, arrangements will be made to transport your pet from one hospital to the other.
Remaining calm in an emergency situation is most important for a successful outcome.
A basic emergency first aid kit can be assembled in a Ziploc® bag and should include:
• Elastic Bandage Roll (4) for bandaging & controlling hemorrhage
• 2 Gauze Sponges to apply directly to a wound
• Triple Antibiotic Ointment
• Nylon Cord for a Muzzle
• Ipecac Syrup (for inducing vomiting)
Additionally a basic first aid kit for treating pets at home might include:
• Activated Charcoal (for coating the gastrointestinal tract)
• Pepto Bismol (for diarrhea)
• Dial Soap (for washing wounds)
• Ivory Soap (for washing the skin from contact with poisons)
• Rectal Thermometer
How to Muzzle A Dog:
Make a large loop by tying a loose knot in the middle of a gauze bandage roll or string. Hold the ends up, one in each hand. Slip the loop over the dog’s muzzle and lower jaw, just behind his nose. Then quickly tighten the loop so the dog cannot open its mouth. Next, tie the ends under the lower jaw. Make a knot there and bring the ends back on each side of his face under his ears. Tie the ends together behind the ears at the back of the head. After tying both ends behind the dog’s head, take one end and bring it down the middle of his face. Slip it under the loop around his nose, bring it back over his head, and tie to the remaining end. Since the dog perspires through his tongue, do not leave the muzzle on any longer than necessary. Small or short-faced dogs can be prevented from biting by wrapping them in a blanket, coat, or large towel and covering the head. Any injured dog should be muzzled for safety, even the friendliest of dogs can bite when its in pain.
Moving an Injured Pet:
• Slide onto a board, blanket, jacket, or other makeshift stretcher. To carry a large dog, hold him across your arms with each arm just inside his front & hind legs.
Quick Treatment of Common Emergencies:
Allergic Reactions: Don’t panic if whelps (hives) should begin to break out on your pet. This type of allergic reaction is not fatal. It will become uncomfortable to the pet until treated by a veterinarian, but the pet will not die. If swelling occurs around the face or muzzle your pet is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Your pet will need a series of interventions medications to prevent anaphylactic shock. This type of allergic reaction can be fatal, and immediate treatment should be sought.
Bleeding: Control bleeding by direct pressure to the wound with your hand or a pressure bandage. Place a gauze pad over the wound and then cover and wrap with an elastic bandage. Place the bandage snug for pressure, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. Although some blood may discolor it, the bandage should be tight enough so that blood does not drip through it. Seek veterinary attention for all cuts through the entire thickness of the skin or that bleed excessively. It is best not to apply any medications. Tincture of Iodine, Peroxide, and most ointments only irritate the wound more and decrease healing. Do not apply cotton to a wound.
Burns: Immerse the affected part in cold water. Keep ice on the area as much as possible. Do not apply any type medication until veterinary attention is obtained if the burn appears severe. The major complication is infection.
Choking: Attempt to push the lower jaw open and tilt the head up. Using extreme caution try to remove any object with the fingers. If unsuccessful, kneel behind the dog, holding its body just below the ribs. Squeeze hard a few times, pressing up. Seek professional veterinary attention if the object does not pop out. Swallowed objects that do not interfere with breathing are not immediate life or death threats. However, a veterinarian should be consulted if it is possible the object was swallowed. Complications are much less when the object can be removed while still in the stomach rather than in the intestine. Parkway Animal Hospital now has an endoscope that allows many objects to be removed without surgery.
Electric Shock: Remove the source of electricity with a wooden object. Seek veterinary attention since electric shocks will result in fluid buildup in the lungs for several days that can be fatal.
Eye Injuries: NEVER apply any medication to an eye without seeking veterinary attention first. Many scratches on the surface of the eye are not visible until the eye is treated with a special stain. If the wrong type ointment is used, such as an ointment containing cortisone in an injured eye, the condition can be made worse – even to the extent of causing loss of the eye. A “Popped Eyes” can sometimes be reinserted by grasping the upper and lower lids and attempting to pull them out over the eyeball while at the same time gently pushing in on the eye. If this cannot be accomplished, keep the eye moist with a wet cloth until veterinary assistance can be obtained.
Fishhooks: Fishhooks must be pushed on through the skin, the barb and point cut off, and then the remainder can be pulled back through the skin the same way it went in. Antibiotics are often needed to prevent infection from the puncture wound.
Fractures: Fractures are no immediate life or death threats. Stabilize the limb with a stick, rolled newspaper, etc., wrapped loosely with gauze. Do not wrap tightly because of swelling that will occur.
Heat Stroke: Early signs include panting, high fever (105-108 degrees Fahrenheit), shock, and collapse. Lower the body temperature by hosing or immersing in cold water up to the neck. Apply ice packs to the head – very important to prevent brain damage.See PREVENTING HEAT EXHAUSTION for more complete instructions.
Poisoning (External): Most signs will involve the nervous system including such things as trembling, nervousness, salivation, pupil constriction, or dilation, and convulsions or coma. Wash the skin in a mild soap, such as Ivory. Rinse and repeat. Seek veterinary attention BEFORE signs develop. Take a description of the poison to the veterinarian for identification.
Poisoning (Internal): Read the label of the product for instructions. Do not induce vomiting of some poisons, such as caustic chemicals, acids, alkalis, and petroleum products. Most other cases require vomiting to rid as much of the chemical as possible from the stomach. Ipecac Syrup (5-15cc) is the drug of choice. Hydrogen Peroxide (15-30cc) will also sometimes work, but not always.
Seizures: There are many causes of seizures including low blood sugar, epilepsy, distemper, diabetes, and heart failure. The dog will NOT swallow his tongue – do not put your fingers in his mouth. Keep him warm, place him in an area where he cannot injure himself, and seek veterinary attention. Young puppies should be given a teaspoon of honey or other source of sugar. Do NOT give sugar to older pets if there is a possibility of diabetes.
Shock: Signs of shock include depression, decreased body temperature, and grayish gums. Keep the pet as quiet as possible, keep it warm, and seek veterinary attention immediately
Kaopectate is of no value in diarrhea. Pepto Bismol is the drug of choice if a specific cause of diarrhea is not determined. Stool samples should always be examined by the veterinarian to determine the cause if diarrhea exists for more than 24 hours.
The major cause of gastric upset in the dog is dietary changes.All changes should be gradual.
Tylenol will kill dogs and cats.
Aspirin will often cause gastric ulcers. Use only the enteric coated types. (Ascriptin AD)
More damage can be done to wounds by applying inappropriate medication
All topical medications retard healing to some extent.