I spent a few hours in the minor injuries department in St Albans City Hospital, this week.. I dropped my very heavy laptop on my big tootsie and had to check whether it was broken! Luckily it isn’t! The nurses were very kind and helpful and I was seen relatively quickly. I enjoyed having a few hours to read some of Marian Keyes scribings!.. Paddy de Courcy sounds like a man I will love to loathe!
With all the injury’s theme today I thought it’d be apt to write a post about pet first aid and what we’ve learnt on courses we’ve been on.
Two objectives of first aid are to promote recovery and to preserve life. Two basic rules of first aid are to maintain the animals airway and control any bleeding.
You can buy a pet first aid kit or create your own, be sure to let family members know where this is located. When buying/creating a pet first aid kit ensure you have the following as a minimum:
+ Wound Dressing – a selection of different size bandages
+ Saline Solution
+ Padding Bandage
+ Conforming Bandage
+ Cohesive Bandage
+ Useful water resistant zip up bag to pop on paws
Because of glass bottles etc I see an alarming amount of glass when out on walks. Slithers of it can be especially hard to spot if you’ve smashed a glass in the kitchen (cat’s do have a habit of knocking over glasses as they get mesmerised by the water inside). When I worked for Guide Dogs, a kind chap who was a volunteer used to go out and sweep up the glass as he was concerned about a guide dog stepping in it that lived down his road. He was awarded with a volunteer recognition award for his thoughtfulness and action 🙂
If your pet gets glass in their paw you shouldn’t attempt to pull the glass out. It may cause the blood to flow out and cause the dog to go in to shock. Shock deprives the organs from blood flow and increases waste products in the body. You don’t know if the object has penetrated any arteries so you don’t want to make the damage worse. Also It’s unhygienic to do so – you may cause infection with dirty hands. In addition to this the item may have jagged edges or sharp points which you can’t see and thus removing it means you cause more internal damage and you may make it harder for the vet to get them out.
Instead you should stabilise and support the wound and the object holding the dog in the position so that pressure is not being placed on the wound.
It makes me extremely angry the amount of rubbish people leave on the floor on pavements such as corks, bottle lids, wrappers, chicken bones, even sandwiches etc. Puppies are often like human hoovers and some don’t know the vitally important drop it or leave it cue so it if the item is really dangerous then extract it from their mouth with a higher reward such as liver paste. You could also carry a Kevlar glove which may help minimise the risk of bites if you had to open a dog’s mouth, hold down their tongue to retrieve an item in an emergency situation. Jill Breitner talks about having a piece of string on the end of a ball so you could pull it out if it got stuck when you were playing with your dog.
If a dog was choking then their air passage would be blocked preventing normal breathing. Signs of chocking include gagging, pawing at the mouth and bulging eyes. If the item couldn’t be removed then with smaller dogs you could hold them by the legs and shake upside down or pick them up and provide abdominal thrusts. With larger dogs that couldn’t be picked up singly handedly then hold them under the abdomen and provide abdominal thrusts. If the dog is unconscious then lay the dog on it’s side and place one hand on their back, the other on their belly and give 5 small but sharp pushes in and out. Check the airway for the object and shut the mouth shut and breath through the dogs nose. If the object hasn’t been removed perform cpr. Obviously go to the vet afterwards regardless of whether the object has been removed or not.
The nearest out of hours vet in St Albans is Village Vet, Smallford Always give them a call if possible beforehand, or ask a family member to, to let them know you’re on your way so they can prepare the operating table in the event of an emergency.