It can happen in a second. A bone lodges in your dogs
throat or your cat darts into traffic. What should you do? In any emergency, the best
thing is to be prepared, stay calm, and make quick decisions. But act
cautiouslyanimals in severe pain or fear may bite. Be sure that you have a fully
stocked pet first-aid kit (see box) and that you know where the nearest 24-hour clinic is.
Knowledge is power, so take the steps right now to learn how to handle an emergency. It
could mean the difference between life and death.
A pet that has been hit by a car needs to see a vet immediately. Internal bleeding is common, and outward signs of distress may not show for several hours. Also, puncture wounds that close rapidly can cause life-threatening infections later on. Enlist someones help in moving the animal by sliding a heavy towel beneath it. To avoid being bitten, tie a strip of cloth over your dogs nose, or cover your cats face with a coat.
Using direct pressure, apply a clean, dry cloth to the wound. If blood soaks through the first layer of fabric, add more so you dont disrupt any clots that may be forming. Use a tourniquet only as a last resort, and make it just tight enough to significantly reduce the flow of blood. Loosen it every five minutes, and dont keep it on for longer than 20 minutes. Transport your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
Dogs or cats that are choking may breathe loudly, drool, paw at their mouth, cough, gag, become anxious, or faint. If this happens, gently open your pets mouth to locate and manually remove the object. If your pet isnt breathing and you cant find what is obstructing its windpipe, perform a modified Heimlich maneuver. With your pet facing away from you, clasp your hands around its waist, just beneath the rib cage. Compress the abdomen three to five times with quick upward thrusts. Repeat as necessary. If that doesnt work, take your pet to the vet.
LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
If your pet exhibits signs of cardiopulmonary arrestunconsciousness, a weak or irregular pulse, no heartbeat, and no obvious signs of breathingbegin CPR. The techniques used on humans can be modified easily to work on animals. If possible, enlist someone elses helpits best to perform CPR on your way to the hospital, so that resuscitation can be continued there. Do not attempt it on a conscious animal.
Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, excitability, difficulty breathing, disorientation, poor coordination, twitching, convulsions, and collapse. Common sources are medications, household cleaning products, rat poison, antifreeze, insecticides, and plants. Not all poisons are treated alike, so if you think your pet may have ingested something dangerous, head to the vet immediately. Try to bring any plant material, vomit, or toxic substances with you.
As you transport your pet to the hospital, provide a cover for warmth and talk in a soothing voice. That way, itll know its in good hands.
Here are just a few of the items you should have on hand for your pet:
Phone number and directions for the closest 24-hour clinic
Tweezers, to remove ticks, burrs, and splinters
Antibiotic ointment, for wounds
Gauze bandage and bandage tape
Heavy towel or blanket to use as a stretcher
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), for allergic reactions
Sterile saline, for flushing eyes
Disposable latex gloves
Protect Your Pet From Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in pets and
accounts for nearly half of all deaths in cats and dogs over the age of 10. Dogs suffer
from more kinds of cancer (at least 100) than any other domestic animal, and one in four
will develop the disease in its lifetime. Just like people, pets can develop cancer from
exposure to sunlight, smoke, asbestos, chemicals, hormones, radiation and viruses, and
from immune-system failures. And some canine breeds have hereditary risk factors, among
them golden retrievers, boxers and bulldogs.
But dont panic if your pet is diagnosed. Certain cancers can be cured if caught early, and most can at least be treated. Options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery, hyperthermia, immunotherapy or a combination of treatments. Prevention, of course, is better than any treatment. Here are five tips to reduce the risks of your pet developing cancer.
1 Make regular vet visits
For both people and animals, the sooner a cancer is detected and treated, the better the chance of a cure. Thats one of the reasons why a checkup every six months is recommended for animals over the age of 7. All others should have annual exams.
2 Exercise your pets
Regular exercise helps keep pets lean and is essential for optimal health. It also may strengthen their immunity to chronic diseases such as cancer. The incidence of cancer is 50% higher in overweight pets than it is in those that are at a healthy weight.
3 Prevent sunburn
White-haired cats and dogs and those with short hair are at risk for sun-induced skin cancer. Protect them by using an SPF 30 sunblock on sensitive areas like the nose and tips of the ears. You also should avoid outside exposure during the hours of strongest sunlight, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
4 Limit exposure to chemicals
Known carcinogens include herbicides, insecticides and tobacco smoke. Avoid house and garden pesticides or use the least-toxic products, and remove pets from passive smoke environments.
5 Spay and neuter pets
Spaying a female dog before her first heat cycle decreases her risk of breast cancer to almost zero, and neutering completely eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in males.