July 21, 2011
can mean the difference between life and death when an emergency
arises, and a walk around the block or a hike through the woods may
be dangerous or even prove fatal if you lack the right knowledge to
care for a pet in an emergency situation.
Gordon, associate professor at Texas A&M University's College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences gives pet owners
some helpful tips on taking care of an animal when time is
many every day activities that can be hazardous for pets if the
right action is not quickly taken. One of the most common emergency
situations is when an animal is involved in a car accident. Any
time an animal collides with a motorized vehicle, it should be
taken immediately to a veterinarian, even for what appears to be
minor bumps and bruises.
cats do not have the ability to tell us where it hurts and there
may be internal problems that cannot be noticed by the owner," said
damage caused by an accident leaves the pet immobile, Gordon
suggests using a large towel or heavy blanket held tightly to
simulate a stretcher to carry the animal. Never pick up an injured
animal and hold it unless it is very small and can be sufficiently
It is important to
be careful when working around injured animals that are in pain
because they may accidentally bite or become aggressive even toward
to keep the pet warm and use clean fabric like a towel, a bandage,
or a T-shirt to cover any open wounds. This will help keep the
wound clean and allow the blood to clot to help limit
is profuse bleeding from a wound, firmly apply a clean towel or
some other fabric to the area and apply continuous
best not to use a tourniquet, but if one is applied, release it
every ten minutes," Gordon added.
also occur on routine hiking and camping trips and immediate
veterinary care may not be available. If a pet receives an open
wound during the journey, use clean tepid water to cleanse the
area. Dishwashing liquid, detergents, astringents, and alcohol are
too abrasive for use on open wounds and can actually cause
additional damage to the tissue.
veterinarian should treat any infections that arise. Gordon advises
against administering any human pain relievers or other medications
to an animal unless directed by a veterinarian because many human
drugs are not safe for animals and can lead to severe complications
such as ulcers, liver failure or even death.
exploring the great outdoors, be wary of snakes. If an owner
suspects a pet has been bitten by a venomous snake, examine the
animal closely and try to identify the location of the bite, and if
possible, the type of snake (take a picture with your phone if
possible). This information is extremely helpful to the
veterinarian when deciding how to care for the pet.
neck bites are by far the most serious, and require immediate
veterinary care because severe swelling in this area can cause
will help control the swelling and blood vessel dilation that
allows the venom to spread," said Gordon.
the ocean can present problems if a pet falls in and is not a
strong swimmer. It is best to purchase a lifejacket for your animal
to wear when participating in water activities such as
lifejackets come with a handle on the back allowing the owner to
pick up the animal safely and easily from the water if it falls
in," Gordon noted.
traveling to a natural setting, especially during the summer
months, it is best to bring a lot of water as well as a leash even
if the pet is well trained to verbal commands.
humans both require a lot of water and leashes provide important
restraint in case an owner needs to control their pet in a
dangerous situation," said Gordon.
explained that dangerous situations can arise outdoors but also
inside a house. Hazardous chemicals and all medications should be
kept out of reach at all times.
like young children and the same precautions should be taken with
both," advised Gordon.
aware of potential dangerous situations and keeping man's best
friend in mind when emergency strikes is an important part of being
a pet owner, and a special way of reciprocating the love that they
provide every day.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk.
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