Pet First Aid Part 3

Posted by Pia

In the past two weeks we Daily Waggers have gotten some great first aid tips from expert Denise Fleck (Part 1, Part 2)! In today's final visit with Denise, we will learn some of the basic guidelines for companion animal CPR. Please note that this advice is in no way a substitute for getting actual hands on training in a pet CPR class -- something I highly recommend for everyone!

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Step 1 Look, listen and feel to determine if your pet is breathing/has a pulse. If not..

1 Step 1 Look, listen and feel to determine if your pet is breathing/has a pulse. If not..

Open airway by pulling back on the chin

2 Open airway by pulling back on the chin

Step 2: Place pet on his right side (legs away from you)...

3 Step 2: Place pet on his right side (legs away from you)...

...and give 2 breaths into his snout (just enough to make his chest rise) keeping his mouth closed with your hands.

4 ...and give 2 breaths into his snout (just enough to make his chest rise) keeping his mouth closed with your hands.

See above for positioning to give breaths to a cat.

5 See above for positioning to give breaths to a cat.

Step 3 (Dog): Check pulse at femoral artery (where hind leg meets torso), If no pulse…

6 Step 3 (Dog): Check pulse at femoral artery (where hind leg meets torso), If no pulse…

Step 3 (Cat): Check pulse at femoral artery (where hind leg meets torso), if no pulse…

7 Step 3 (Cat): Check pulse at femoral artery (where hind leg meets torso), if no pulse…

Step 4	Gently take animal’s left front leg and bend it at the elbow, rotating it at the shoulder.  Where his elbow touches his body is where you place your left hand for compressions.

8 Step 4 Gently take animal’s left front leg and bend it at the elbow, rotating it at the shoulder. Where his elbow touches his body is where you place your left hand for compressions.

Compressions for medium to large dogs: With you left hand, push on the chest 10-15 times (approximately 3 compressions every 2 seconds) and then deliver 2 more breaths. Repeat.  Every 4 cycles, check for a pulse.

9 Compressions for medium to large dogs: With you left hand, push on the chest 10-15 times (approximately 3 compressions every 2 seconds) and then deliver 2 more breaths. Repeat. Every 4 cycles, check for a pulse.

Compressions for small cats and dogs:  Use fingertips to compress heart in place of your left hand or place 4
fingers of your left hand under the animal’s chest and compress on the top with left thumb: 5 compressions/1 breath and check for a pulse every 8-10 cycles.

10 Compressions for small cats and dogs: Use fingertips to compress heart in place of your left hand or place 4 fingers of your left hand under the animal’s chest and compress on the top with left thumb: 5 compressions/1 breath and check for a pulse every 8-10 cycles.

If there are two people, one breathes and the others compresses at the rate of one breath for every 2-3 compressions.

11 If there are two people, one breathes and the others compresses at the rate of one breath for every 2-3 compressions.

If you feel you are rolling off the dog's chest and not compressing straight down, try this alternate method where you stabilize the dog with one arm by compressing with the other hand.

12 If you feel you are rolling off the dog's chest and not compressing straight down, try this alternate method where you stabilize the dog with one arm by compressing with the other hand.

Take care not to over inflate the lungs, observe that you ventilate with a normal rise and fall to the chest, and...

13 Take care not to over inflate the lungs, observe that you ventilate with a normal rise and fall to the chest, and...

Important! Never breathe or compress on an animal that is breathing or has a pulse.

14 Important! Never breathe or compress on an animal that is breathing or has a pulse.

When doing compressions, realize you must compress 1/4 to 1/3 the width of the chest.  You must flex the ribs, press the lungs in order to squeeze the blood out of the heart and release so that it can flow around and back into the other chamber.

15 When doing compressions, realize you must compress 1/4 to 1/3 the width of the chest. You must flex the ribs, press the lungs in order to squeeze the blood out of the heart and release so that it can flow around and back into the other chamber.

For barrel-chested breeds (like Fala and Winnie above) you may position dog on his back and compress chest human-style (hand on top of hand over chest):  15 compressions/2 breaths checking for a pulse every 4 cycles.

16 For barrel-chested breeds (like Fala and Winnie above) you may position dog on his back and compress chest human-style (hand on top of hand over chest): 15 compressions/2 breaths checking for a pulse every 4 cycles.

Barrel chested breeds include, but are not limited to, Great Danes, Boxers, Dobermans, Bulldogs, Pugs, etc.
Ms. Bix Biz here is a super sweet 5 mo. old pure Boxer in need of a home near Peoria, Il. (see link at end of blog)

17 Barrel chested breeds include, but are not limited to, Great Danes, Boxers, Dobermans, Bulldogs, Pugs, etc. Ms. Bix Biz here is a super sweet 5 mo. old pure Boxer in need of a home near Peoria, Il. (see link at end of blog)

Don't worry, animals' ribs are more flexible than human ones. It is always possible to crack a rib but you aren't swinging with momentum, the heel of your hand is in place (see earlier photo) and you are just compressing :)

18 Don't worry, animals' ribs are more flexible than human ones. It is always possible to crack a rib but you aren't swinging with momentum, the heel of your hand is in place (see earlier photo) and you are just compressing :)

Step 5: Quickly transport pet to the nearest Animal Emergency Center.

19 Step 5: Quickly transport pet to the nearest Animal Emergency Center.

Realize that you may not get animal to breathe or resume a heart beat on his own and may need to continue CPR while someone else drives.

20 Realize that you may not get animal to breathe or resume a heart beat on his own and may need to continue CPR while someone else drives.

Emergencies occur suddenly and without warning.

21 Emergencies occur suddenly and without warning.

Statistics show that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among companion animals.

22 Statistics show that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among companion animals.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four additional pets could be saved if just one first-aid technique was applied prior to getting veterinary assistance.

23 According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four additional pets could be saved if just one first-aid technique was applied prior to getting veterinary assistance.

Knowing what to do during those first few moments can save your pet’s life.

24 Knowing what to do during those first few moments can save your pet’s life.

Pet CPR Saves Lives
By Denise Fleck

Emergencies occur without warning. Knowing what to do during those first few moments can save your pet’s life. What you should remember when performing CPR is that it is not a cure! It is a means to keep life-giving blood and oxygen flowing through the tissues and organs of your pet's body so that when you do arrive at veterinary assistance, the animal can be helped. There the vet can provide the antidote for poison swallowed, perform surgery, cure a disease, but without you keeping the animal alive, your vet -- no matter how competent -- cannot bring your dog or cat back, so you really CAN save a life by performing this technique en route to your emergency hospital.

As in humans, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique used only when an animal has stopped breathing and has no heartbeat. It involves rescue breathing (mouth-to-snout resuscitation) and chest compressions. Although you may have taken a human CPR course, dogs and cats don’t share our anatomy. The concept is the same, but the technique is different, making pet-specific training essential.

When an emergency happens, don’t regret not learning Pet CPR.

A big thanks to Denise for this great information. Denise has graciously offered to provide help in finding a local CPR training course for anyone who is interested.

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

BIX needs a home!

Review:
Step 1 Look, Listen & Feel for breathing, if none…

Step 2 Place pet on his right side (legs away from you) and give 2 breaths into his snout (just enough to make his chest rise) keeping his mouth closed with your hands.

Step 3 Check pulse at femoral artery (where hind leg meets torso), if no pulse…

Step 4 Gently take animal’s left front leg and bend it at the elbow, rotating it at the shoulder. Where his elbow touches his body is where you place your left hand for compressions. Take your right hand across his chest and place it on the ground underneath him, stabilizing his body and preventing him from rolling as you compress. With you left hand, push on the chest 10-15 times for a medium to large dog (approximately 3 compressions every 2 seconds) and then deliver 2 more breaths. Repeat. Every 4 cycles, check for a pulse. If there are two people, one breathes and the others compresses at the rate of one breath for every 2-3 compressions.

NOTE: Never breathe or compress on an animal that is breathing or has a pulse.

Step 5 Quickly transport pet to the nearest animal emergency center. Realize that you may not get animal to breathe or resume a heartbeat on his own and may need to continue CPR while someone else drives.

Comments (6)

  • Dear Dr. Salk,
    I thank you so much for this article. I have been around all sizes of dogs through my life from Coon Hounds to Boston Terriers and German Shephards to a Chihuahua with Shetland Sheepdogs in between. Fortunately we've never had an instance whereby CPR was needed, but now I know what to do.
    Sharon

  • Hi Dr. Pia & Denise, This was another very important blog post for all of us animal lovers and I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for informing us how to use CPR when needed. I will find a place to learn more about what you have told us ASAP because we have a young kitty and my little Dudley Do Right. You are two very special animal lovers! Your photos were superb! Thanks so much for these 3 blog posts about Pet First Aid! Jan

  • Dr. Pia,
    Thanks so much for all your info in these 3 first aid courses. Mom is going to get right on taking a course. I had a convulsion one time and all she did was try and shake me out of it. Now we can get her on track. Thanks for all you do for us.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • This is a really great post, very informative!

    My name is Oskar & I have a blog that I'd love for you to check out, http://www.PetBlogsUnited.com. It's a great place for pet bloggers to find each other and get some exposure!

    Nubbin wiggles,
    Oskar

  • That was very informative, I will pass this on as well...Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thanks for the step-by-step directions of pet CPR. I'll try to review it in case I need it for my furry felines. ~Cynthia

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