Sunday, September 16, 2012


Many of our readers have responded to last week's issue on "First Aid For Pets" with comments on how much better prepared they will now feel when having to deal with medical situations involving their pets.  Most of you also mentioned having at least some type of First Aid kit available for those situations.  That's great! 

Remember that being prepared puts you light years ahead of the curve when quick and appropriate action is called for.

First CPR Guidelines For Cats And Dogs

By Roxanne Palmer

If your dog has some type of respiratory failure and/or cardiac arrest and collapses, what should you do?
For years, different veterinarians may have offered different pieces of advice -- but now veterinary medicine researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University have produced the first set of evidence-based guidelines for resuscitating dogs and cats with stopped hearts.
University of Pennsylvania researcher Manuel Boller and his colleagues looked at decades of peer-reviewed data and determined that the proper rate for chest compressions on dogs and cats is between 100 and 120 beats per minute. That's the same rhythm recommended for humans. It also happens to align to the 103-bpm Bee Gees classic disco hit "Stayin' Alive," which studies have shown aids medical students in performing chest compressions.

Here's a YouTube presentation of Stayin' Alive for those of you who either don't remember it or never heard it:
The guidelines, while primarily for veterinarians, are "very translatable to pet owners and bystanders," Boller said in a phone interview.
Of course, performing chest compressions on a Pekingese is very different from doing so on a full-grown person, or even on a Great Dane.
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For most dogs, chest compressions can be performed on the widest part of the chest while the animal's lying on its side. But in some breeds like greyhounds with more keel-shaped chests, the guidelines recommend pushing down closer to the dog's armpit, directly over the heart. Barrel-chested dogs like English bulldogs can be laid on their back and compressed on the sternum, like people.

Smaller cats and dogs can either be chest-compressed with one hand wrapped around the sternum, encircling the heart or two-handed on the ribs.
For cats and small dogs, you can use one hand wrapped around the sternum to try and restart the heart.

One fundamental difference between human patients and animal patients is that dogs and cats have much lower rates of coronary heart disease, the most common cause for cardiac arrest in people.
"Sudden cardiac arrest in dogs is therefore not as common as in people and may be more comparable to what occurs in young athletes with structural abnormalities of the heart muscle or a defect in the electrical circuitry," Boller said in an email.
Pets can also suffer a cardiac arrest due to difficulties with breathing or a severe illness that also affects the heart.
Boller says it's gratifying to have these standards, especially since the original experiments on animals used in their review were instrumental in developing CPR guidelines for people.
"Now we can translate that benefit back to their own kind," he says.

Do You Know Pet CPR?
Expert Stresses Importance Of First Aid For Pets
They give unconditional love and are like members of the family, but if your pet had a medical emergency, would you know what to do?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is typically thought of as being reserved for humans. But there are also CPR procedures for pets.
"It's so important for people to know what to do in case of an emergency," said Pam Nathan, who's certified in pet CPR and first aid.
Nathan and her demo dog, Greta, help teach pet owners safety procedures, such as how to stop your dog from choking.
"The one misconception about a choking management is that we don't do a Heimlich like we do on people. It's more like a side compression," Nathan said.
Another important aspect of animal safety is having a special first-aid kit for your pet.
"The nice thing about putting your own kit together is knowing what's in there," Nathan said.
The kit should include tweezers, a syringe, antibiotic cream, a travel water bowl, gauze and tape.
With the possibility of broken or fractured bones, Nathan recommends using paint sticks for large animal splints and Popsicle sticks for splinting injuries on cats or small dogs.
Keeping a photo of your pet is important in case a natural disaster separates you from your pet. The photo will help easily prove the pet's ownership.
Nathan said first-aid will buy you time in an emergency, but it should never take the place of professional treatment.
"Call your vet immediately, or the poison control center or emergency vet clinic," Nathan said.
Nathan recommends all pet owners store their vet's phone number into their contact list.
Every once in a while, you hear about a dog or cat that gets themselves into some potentially serious trouble...and no one is around to help them.  Here's a story from England about a Basset Hound that makes a few lucky moves which ended up saving his life...without anyone being around.
Choking dog saves its own life by dialing 999
Cops who raced to a house after hearing desperate heavy breathing during an emergency call found a DOG had rung 999 (in England, the same as 911) while strangling itself with the telephone wire.
George, the two-year-old Basset Hound, had knocked the phone to the floor and got entangled in the wire — winding it round his neck.  And he panicked so much he incredibly managed to ring 999 as he pawed at the phone trying to free himself.
The emergency operator alerted police who dashed to the empty home of driving instructor Steve Brown and his daughter Lydia, 18, on Saturday night.  They were preparing to smash down the door when a family friend from a nearby house ran out with a key to let them in.  Four officers sprinted through the house in South Hiendley, West Yorkshire, searching the rooms.
And then neighbour Paul Walker walked into the living room and found terrified George choking — with the phone lead wound tightly round his neck.  Paul, 41, ripped the phone apart to wrench the wire from George’s throat.
He said: “The police split up and ran through the house thinking someone had either been attacked or was desperately ill.  I went to look round as well and walked into this room and saw George choking.  He was absolutely terrified and could not free himself.  I knew I had to get him free quickly so I just ripped the wire out.  Incredibly you could see where his paw print was on the phone to ring 999 — he literally saved his own life.  When the police came into the room and realised what had happened they burst out laughing.  They told me they had been sent out because of a 999 call in which the operator could only hear heavy breathing and gasping.  They thought someone had collapsed or been attacked.”
Paul had been left a key by college student Lydia to feed George later in the evening while she went out to do an evening shift as a waitress.  Lydia said: “By the time I got back the police had gone and George was looking a little sorry for himself.  It is just so lucky that his paw managed to ring 999 otherwise he would have died.  We still don’t know how he managed it.  It’s one of those old-fashioned phones with the dialling ring.  He’s not usually very smart. He’s really dopey and just likes to chew socks.”
The LA DODGERS played a 4-game home series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that is just ahead of us for the final wild card spot in the playoffs.  The Dodgers ended up splitting the we're still 1 game out of the wild card spot.  We now go on the road against the division leaders in the other 2 divisions...looking pretty grim...perhaps it's time to think about next year?
The Ohio State Buckeyes played California from the PAC-12 Conference and got more resistance than they expected from Cal.  We actually were behind in the 4th quarter but mounted a great comeback.
The Pittsburgh Steelers played the NY Jets at home and started to show signs of being a team with a purpose.  We handled the Jets pretty easily.
It was exactly one year ago today that Helpful Buckeye tore a calf muscle playing injury that left me thinking that I might not ever be able to walk properly again.  After months of physical therapy and exercise, my calf muscle has gotten back to about as normal as it will get.  All those thousands of biking miles and hiking miles have gotten me to the point at which I'm ready for a big test...hiking the Grand Canyon from South Rim to North 12 hours.  More to follow in next week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats.
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

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