Accidents happen despite our best efforts, but there are things we can do to prevent certain health emergencies in our animals.
It should become second nature to you, your family and your pets.
First aid is the things you can do to lessen the bad things that can happen as a result of illness or injury.
They do not replace veterinary medical help, but can be a life-saving first step. Please note that humane emergency rooms are not intended for the treatment of animals.
Please do not take your injured or sick animal to the human hospital because:
- animals can carry diseases that can be serious in sick people waiting in the emergency room or in the hospital; and
- human medical personnel are not trained to handle animal patients.
- First aid is what you need to do before you can get veterinary care for your pet;
- Follow the first aid advice and bring them to the veterinary clinic in the morning with or without calling first. Sick or injured animals are not turned away.
For cats and dogs confine your animal in a space safe from danger. Having then been neutered at a young age, they tend to stay home and stay out of trouble.
Deworm regularly, especially young animals, do not feed bones, keep them out of trash and drain water, and vaccines.
These and other steps go a long way in preventing emergencies; For farm animals, have fenced enclosures to minimize tethering (ropes around the neck are dangerous).
Animals and roads don’t mix, so keep them away from roads. Always provide a source of fresh water. Rotation of grazing areas to minimize pests. Muddy paddocks or pastures harbor all sorts of problems for people and animals.
Have; fresh and clean drinking water; and separate sick animals into their own space.
Until there are adequate and properly trained veterinary staff on a consistent basis in Fiji, you must know first aid for your animals. Here are some of the most common emergencies you might encounter and the first aid you should give until you can get veterinary care.
Hit or run over by a vehicle
Even if the dog is out for a walk, keep him confined to a small, safe space until you know for sure that he is fine, either by watching him closely over the next 24-48 hours or after a check-up. veterinary. If unable to stand and walk, use your stretcher to transfer and move the dog to safety.
Dogs in pain often bite the first object in front of them so gently, but quickly placing a blanket over them while being transferred to safety is the safest for all. Put them in a quiet, warm, dry and safe place. Offer only water for the first six to eight hours. Arrange a vet visit as soon as possible.
Bleeding and deep wounds (like a cane knife). If bleeding occurs, apply pressure. A clean, dry towel is a good first aid dressing for deep wounds.
Place it directly over the wound, then wrap a tight-fitting bandage around that site as with the head wound bandage. This may remain for several hours or even overnight until veterinary care is available.
If it’s not bleeding, use a t-shirt or shorts to cover the wound and keep it as clean as possible. Open wounds at a surgical site should be promptly wrapped and covered.
Anything beyond should have a wet bandage first, then a small hand towel, after which a rolled bandage to hold it in place. Get him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Surgical patients should be kept calm, confined and prevented from licking/chewing to help prevent these rare but important complications.
Antihistamines are available at local pharmacies and are important medications to have on hand in case your dog has an allergic reaction. These are seen as a sudden swelling of the face, a
excessive itching, flushing, or generalized redness of the skin, or swollen, raised patches of skin. Ask your veterinarian in advance which types and what dose your dog or cat might need.
If you know what he ate and it was less than four hours ago, you can give him hydrogen peroxide to make him vomit.
If more than four hours ago, using a charcoal slurry can help bind the toxin/poison and reduce its effect.
Skin toxins such as insecticides require thorough, thorough bathing and rinsing as soon as possible until all traces of odor are gone. Do not use kerosene or any other gardening product on your animals.
Many deaths are the result. Do not give Panadol or paracetamol to your dog.
Milk and coconut milk are not treatments, but can sometimes be helpful in the same way that rinsing a wound with salt water helps a wound. Not all poisons are alike – if you think your dog was poisoned, what did they access?
It’s so important to get the name of the poison – write it down.
Pet first aid kit – collect them in a plastic container and check them frequently.
Emergencies can happen anytime, whether you’re safe at home or driving to work. Even if a veterinarian is available, a first aid kit may be needed until your pet can be seen. Here is a list of items to keep on hand at all times. You might want one set in your car and one at home;
• Your veterinarian’s emergency number and availability (the SPCA emergency number to text is 9922634);
• Other emergency numbers;
• Tarp or heavy blanket to use as a stretcher;
• Blanket or towel for blanket;
• Tarp or waterproof tarp for protection from the elements, but preferably under a covered area;
• Hand towels for applying pressure to a bleeding wound;
• Clean cloth compresses, large cotton gauze or hand towels to place on wounds;
• Wrapped bandage material to hold compresses in place;
• Honey or antibiotic ointment for small wounds;
• Saline solution (salt water), boiled and cooled water in a bottle, or bottled water for gentle rinsing of wounds;
• Hydrogen peroxide (small amounts cause vomiting);
• Milk of magnesia or charcoal porridge to absorb poisons or toxins;
• Antihistamine for allergic reactions.
Disaster preparedness would also add a secure leash and carrier or box for small animals and cats; food and water (enough for at least a week); waterproof plastic sheet; Food and water
balls; your pet medications; liquid soap or shampoo; first aid kit as above.
Pet First Aid Booklet to give detailed instructions on when and how to use these items.
This is an example of what is commonly referred to as a “belly band”. Especially useful for abdomen bites or post-operative complications until a veterinarian can see your pet.
This website – https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951311 – has a great introductory first aid section if you want some quick internet checks.
It’s worth mentioning again about not taking your pet to human emergencies: human emergencies cannot deal with an animal emergency for health reasons, and the fact that they don’t have the training or
possibility to do so.
Take the animal home and find a warm, safe and quiet place. Place a thick padded bandage over all wounds.
Place a copy of the instructions or first aid booklet in your pet care kit for reference.
Follow the first aid advice for your particular problem.
Write down all the details, including the medications given or applied and the names of any other chemicals or medications they were exposed to.
Take the animal to your veterinarian first thing in the morning – with or without a phone call first.
Do not feed or worry about food – only give water.
The vast majority of cases will be fine with first aid and a vet visit as soon as possible.
Fiji does not have an urgent care center and is unlikely to have one in the near future (costs of equipment, supplies and staff are essential to establish such a place) . Additionally, many people are out of urban areas and/or have transportation problems.
They have no choice but first aid, which means anyone with pets can use first aid.
Prevention is key
There are currently several vet options in Suva – get your vet’s phone number and contact details. Text the SPCA to 9922634 when the office is closed – interns triage these calls until 10pm.
Be safe there.
- JO OLVER is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the Fiji Islands SPCA. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of this journal.