Essential First Aid tips to help your pet in times of an emergency

***Please remember that Holistic Vets can be contacted for after-hours emergencies on 021 292 4029. Our vets are always available to help.

1. Heat Stroke:
• Occurs when animals are in a hot environment and they are unable to cool down enough eg. Being locked in a car on a hot day for even a few minutes
• Symptoms include panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, weakness and collapse
• Treatment is to cool them by removing from the hot environment, spraying with cool water or covering with cool and wet towels (not icy cold though as this can counteract the desirable effects on circulation by causing blood vessels near the surface to constrict). Get a vet check ASAP.

2. Choking

• A choking animal will battle to breath and even pass out, you might even see the cause like a ball being swallowed
• Check that their airway is clear:
o Pull their tongue forward out of their mouth and look for any obstruction such as a foreign object or vomit
o Clear it away or hold their head downward to help any fluid / object that may be present to drain out or drop out (short and sharp but firm diaphragm pressure may assist)
• If they are not breathing after you have cleared their airway:
o Attempt to perform “mouth to nose” resuscitation by closing their mouth and breathing into their nostrils with just enough air to make their chest rise
o Allow the air to be released and repeat every 10 seconds in larger dogs, and every 5 seconds in cats and small dogs
o An animal which is battling to breathe, despite a clear airway Is best positioned lying on their chest to allow their lungs to expand as easily as possible
o Seek veterinary care as soon as possible

3. Poisoning

• Rat bait, snail bait, insect sprays, garden sprays, chocolate and others can cause a variety of symptoms that are best treated by your vet. The National Poison Centre 0800 POISON is another great resource.

4. Bee and Wasp Stings

• Bee & wasp stings can induce anaphylaxis, a reaction to the sting that is not just because of the pain and it can be life threatening. Always seek veterinary advise if breathing is compromised, or swelling occurs
• Scrape away the barb with finger nail or plastic eg. Credit card
• Apply soothing ointment / pain relieving medication

5. Fractures and Injuries

• For an obvious fracture, use a splint such as a stick or block of wood bandaged on to stabilize the limb
• In the case of a suspected back injury, transport the animal on a solid stretcher to prevent movement

6. Seizures

• If it is a full seizure then try and contain animal in enclosed area with soft boundaries ie. pillows
• Rescue Remedy / Emergency Essence in their mouth or rubbed calmly through their coat may help them to recover
• An ice pack applied to the area between their shoulder blades may help to stop the seizure
• Turn off loud music and bright lights to reduce stimuli. It may help to talk calmly to the animal and maintain contact
• Seek veterinary attention

7. Wounds and Damaged Skin
• Clean wounds with water / saline. Iodine / Chlorhexidine may be used as disinfectants
• Dressing / bandage and direct pressure for bleeding. Tourniquet for profuse bleeding
• Aloe Vera Gel: Very soothing for skin rashes and fantastic to help stop hot spots from progressing
• Calendula: used topically it’s very effective at aiding the healing of skin and is also very useful to help stop bleeding. Don’t use in infected wounds
• Manuka honey has profound anti-bacterial properties and helps to provide the ideal environment to assist with wound healing and may be applied as a poultice

Seek Veterinary Advice If Your Pet Has the Following, especially if these or get worse persist:

• Rapid or difficult breathing
• Elevated or depressed pulse or heart rate
• Collapse
• Pale or bright red colour of the gums
• Delayed Capillary Refill Time
• Difficulty walking or severe lameness
• Yelping out in pain
• Sudden bloating of the abdomen
• severe vomiting and diarrhea
• ongoing blood loss