Home First Aid
ACCIDENTAL DRUG INGESTION
There are many common household human drugs that pose life-threatening consequences to your pet if accidentally ingested. If you find that your dog or cat has ingested medications not intended for it, you can induce vomiting with a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide for a cat or small dog, and a tablespoon for a large dog. If your pet is not fully conscious it is important not to induce vomiting because of the risk of aspiration pneumonia. If your animal has already vomited, or ingested a caustic substance such as an acid or lye, it is also important not to induce vomiting. Contact your vet immediately. It is important for your vet to know the medication that was ingested as some drugs pose a much more serious risk to your pet's life than others. Gather up the pill bottles and their labels. Try and determine how much your pet could have possibly ingested and how long ago. This is important information for your veterinarian to know to treat your pet effectively. You may also call 1-800-222-1222 to reach poison control for animals.
Summary: Induce vomiting if indicated; Contact your vet immediately: know the type of drug, how much ingested, and how long ago.
HIT BY CAR (HBC)
Many pets are killed every year when they are struck by motor vehicles. If your cat or dog is struck by a vehicle, it is always recommended to have your veterinarian perform an initial assessment. Moving injured animals to transport them to the vet poses a risk to the animal and the person trying to move them. Be careful not to put yourself in a situation where you might be bitten. A large, heavy blanket can be used to cover an animal to allow them to be gathered up. Smaller animals should be confined to a crate for transport when possible. For larger dogs, they may be slid onto the blanket then carried in the blanket with additional help. Make sure an additional passenger is in the car to prevent the dog from moving during the car ride. Call your veterinarian immediately to give them notice of your situation - make sure the doctor is in the office before driving to a particular clinic.
Important indicators your veterinarian will check to assess your pet include:
- Temperature - an animal in shock will often have a subnormal body temperature (below 100 degrees).
- Mucous membrane color - animals in shock from stress or blood loss will have pale to white gum color. Animals who are not obtaining enough oxygen will have blue or purple gums. An animal that is not in shock, has good circulating blood volume and is able to obtain adequate oxygen resulting in a pink color to the lips and gums.
- Breathing - labored breathing could indicate lung contusions, internal bleeding, pneumothorax or leaking of air around the lungs, or diaphragmatic hernia. A chest x-ray may be necessary for your veterinarian to determine the exact cause of labored breathing,
- Heart rate and pulse quality. Animals in shock often have elevated heart rates (above 150 beats per minute) and poor pulses.
- Your veterinarian will also do a complete neurologic and orthopedic physical exam to look for other injuries.
Lacerations from a variety of causes can pose an immediate risk to your pet's life. Direct pressure to a bleeding wound is the best means to prevent life-threatening blood loss en-route to your veterinarian. Wrap a clean cloth or article of clothing around the wound and hold pressure with two hands to slow bleeding. If you are alone and do not have additional assistance on the drive to the vet, wrap the wound firmly with a clean Ace bandage. Sometimes duct tape is useful to temporarily secure a bandage. Call your veterinarian immediately to give them notice of your situation - make sure the doctor is in the office before driving to a particular clinic.