Pet First Aid Tips From Emergency Vets in San Antonio
What Type of Emergency Are You Dealing With?
Is pet having difficulty breathing? Pale gums? Or bluish tinge to gums or tongue?
Keep animal as calm and comfortable as possible. Place small pet in a carrier or hold gently with minimal restraint. Avoid neck leads (place leash around shoulders and over one front leg). Avoid pet walking; carry if possible or have emergency staff assist with a gurney. Keep the environment cool (air conditioner on high in car). Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Is pet bleeding?
Use a clean cloth or towel to apply direct pressure; if bleeding from a leg, try to keep the leg elevated during transport. If pet is bleeding from a recent spay incision, wrap a towel or Ace bandage around the abdomen before transporting pet. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Is pet seizing?
Most seizures will stop in two to five minutes and are usually not life-threatening. Owners should remain calm and speak quietly and reassuringly to the pet during the seizure. Never try to hold a pet while it is seizing, for it may snap or bite. Do not put your hand in the pet’s mouth during a seizure. Animals can be disoriented and even aggressive after a seizure and should be handled carefully and minimally. Small puppies and kittens may seizure due to hypoglycemia; try placing a small amount of Karo Syrup or sugar water on the gums. Prolonged seizures (greater than five minutes) are more serious and require emergency treatment. The body temperature may rise during prolonged seizures; apply cool, wet towels, then transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Pet has been hit by a car
Pet may be in shock, cover with a blanket and carefully place in a box or carrier if pet is small; large dogs may be placed on a board, or use a blanket as a hammock for transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Pet has a burn
Rinse with cool water or apply a cool water compress. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Pet has a leg injury or a possible fracture
Handle the injured leg as little as possible and carry the pet or transport pet in a box or carrier. If the pet is carried, hold the pet so the injured leg is away from your body. Do not allow large dogs to jump in or out of the car without assistance; have the emergency staff assist with a gurney.
Pet has heatstroke
Cool pet briefly by wetting the hair thoroughly, then immediately transport to the nearest emergency clinic. Maintain a cool environment (air conditioner on high in car).
Pet has an eye injury
If caused by an irritant (soap from a bath) flush eye with cool water or a saline eye wash. Cover the eye with a moist cloth if possible. Do not apply any topical medication until a complete exam has been completed. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Pet has external wounds
Most wounds are inflicted by other animals, but may also be caused by various sharp objects. The wounds will need to be clipped of hair and cleaned of any foreign debris that may have entered the wound. Treatment may require sedation or surgical anesthesia, depending on the severity and extent of the injuries. The sooner the wounds are cleaned and flushed, the less likely the chance of infection or abscess. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Most are commonly caused by insect stings or bites, but can also be caused by vaccinations or even certain foods or medications. Dogs are more commonly affected than cats. The most common reactions are facial swelling and hives, with severe itching and redness of the skin. More severe, anaphylactic reactions may also include vomiting, collapse, pale gums and labored breathing. The pet may also defecate and urinate. These should be treated immediately at an emergency clinic. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Straining to urinate
This is most commonly noted in cats, especially male cats, and is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. Urinary obstruction in dogs is commonly caused by bladder stones. Cats often have urinary tract infections and mucous-crystalline plugs of sediment that block the urethra. These problems require emergency treatment and can lead to kidney failure and death. Transport to the nearest emergency clinic.
Poison or toxin
Many items around the house are toxic to pets, including cleaning products, prescribed medications, garbage, plants and household insecticides. If the toxin is known, bring the package to the clinic. Call the clinic prior to the visit and have the active ingredient, time of exposure, weight of the animal and information about whether or not the pet has already vomited available on request. It may be necessary to induce vomiting prior to transporting to the nearest emergency clinic.