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Pet First Aid - News from Suvika

NATIONAL PET FIRST AID MONTH (APRIL)

April was National Pet First Aid Awareness month, a month that is dedicated to teaching fellow pet parents about providing emergency care to their animals.  But keeping in mind that it's imperative to see your Veterinarian if your pet gets hurt or sick.

However, you may need to give your furry family member first aid until you can make it to the Vet. You may also find yourself in a situation where you are far from the nearest Vet, especially if you are out camping, hiking in a remote area or even live on a farm where the nearest town is many kilometres away.

WHAT SHOULD PET OWNERS KNOW ABOUT FIRST AID

The most important thing pet owners should know is that prevention is the best medicine.  Just like children you can’t stop all accidents from happening, but you can take steps to reduce the dangers and risks your pet faces every day.

The most common causes of emergency vet visit every year are chocking, injuries or accidental poisoning in animals. A Pet First Aid Kit should be stocked and ready just in case.  But importantly you must check that the supplies haven’t expired. Therefore, April is a good month to set a  reminder to restock and replace the items.

FIRST AID KIT

 

  • Absorbent gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion or spray e.g. F10
  • Gauze rolls
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads
  • Blunt nose scissors
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Rectal thermometer (pets temp 100-103 F)
  • Anti-Diarrheal medication e.g. Diomec
  • Pediatric Electrolyte e.g. Pro-lyte
  • Ice pack
  • Tweezers
  • Plastic syringe or eye dropper
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Food/water bowl
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide – to induce vomiting as directed by Vet or Poison Control
  • Antihistamine – to reduce allergic reaction symptoms
  • Antibiotic cream or ointment – applied after cleaning a skin wound
  • Hydrocortisone cream – reduces itching from insect bites or stings
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Towel or blanket
  • Styptic powder – to stop/reduce bleeding of broken nail
  •  

    Other items to keep on hand:

     

  • Pet First Aid Book
  • Emergency phone numbers - Vet / nearest animal 24-hour hospital / Poison Control Hotline
  • Copy of Pets vaccine and medical records.
  •  

    As a pet parent you should also know how to use the items as well as emergency procedures like the Heimlich Manoeuvre and CPR.  There are videos available online but the best resource for this information is your Veterinarian.

    MOUTH TO SNOUT: PET CPR STEPS:

     

  • Secure the airway by moving the tongue forward and making sure the throat is clear and free of foreign objects. Once clear, position the head to make the neck straight.
  • Perform rescue breathing by closing the animal’s mouth and breathing directly into its nose.  Watch that the chest rises if not repeat step 1.  Repeat rescue breathing 12 – 15 times per minute.
  • Administer chest compressions while the pet lays on its right side.  Place a hand over the pets’ heart (located on the left side where the animal’s elbows would meet the chest) and press firmly and quickly – about one inch inward for medium size dogs (more for larger dogs, less for smaller dogs)
  •  

    For cats and other tiny animals use the thumb and fore fingers of one hand. Perform 80-120 compressions per minute for large animals and 100-150 per minute for smaller animals.

    Alternate chest compressions with rescue breaths until the animal’s heart begins to beat again and breathing resumes.

    3 COMMON CALL FOR PET FIRST AID

  • BOWL OBSTRUCTION
  • Intestinal obstruction is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires attention from a Veterinarian.  You won’t be able to reach for your first aid kits.  Instead owners should recognise the symptoms: vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and tenderness, lack of appetite, straining to defecate, constipation, lethargy, behavioural changes such as biting or growling when picked up.

    What’s gotten into your cat?

    Cats are particularly guilty of ingesting foreign bodies such as thread, string, ribbon, cord and rubber bands.

    What’s gotten into your dog?

    Dogs are guilty of ingesting inedible objects more than other pets because they love to chew.  Common items are bones, rawhide, toys, rubber balls, sticks, stones, socks and underwear.

  • SOFT TISSUE TRAUMA
  • Soft tissues include the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Trauma to these tissues can occur from car accidents, animal fights, strains and other injuries.

    Common dog and cat injuries include: Dog and cat abscesses, eye trauma, cruciate ligament ruptures, lameness – back trouble, torn or broken nail.

  • POISON AND TOXIN INGESTION
  • More than 90% of reported poisonings occurs at home
  • 75% of these cases involve an animal eating or drinking something
  •  

    TOP 5 MOST COMMON TOXINS REPORTED

    DOG

  • Chocolate
  •  Insect
  •  Rodenticides
  •  Fertilizer
  •  Xylitol
  •          CAT

  • Lilies
  • Tick and flea treatments for dogs
  • Household cleaners
  • Rodenticides
  • Paint and varnishes
  •  

    Human food is a major culprit behind poisoning cases.  Here are a few examples: avocado, chocolate (all forms), onions and garlic, raisins and grapes and food sweetened with Xylitol.

     

    WHEN AN EMERGENCY OCCURS

    1. Secure the scene, remove any physical threats to your pet 
    2. Stay calm
    3. Check Airway, Breathing and Circulation
    4. Control any profuse bleeding
    5. Call for help
    6. Start CPR if necessary
    7. Administer any first aid recommended by the Veterinarian
    8. Splint any broken bones before moving your pet
    9. Get your pet to an emergency clinic as soon as possible

    In closing, preparing yourself for an emergency is a lot less daunting that it may seem. Remember, that accidents happen. But if you know what to do when your pet is injured it can save their lives. If you find yourself in a situation where all reason fails and you don’t know what to do, remain calm and call for help and most importantly, stay with your pet. 

     

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