Pet first aid can help save their life

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2016

A dog at the Pearl River County SPCA is being treated for a wound on her tail. The owner brought in the dog because of the severity of the injury.

A dog at the Pearl River County SPCA is being treated for a wound on her tail. The owner brought in the dog because of the severity of the injury.

Pet owners may have a difficult time knowing when they should seek medical care for a sick animal. Melysa Anderson, certified veterinarian technician at the Animal Health Clinic in Picayune, said that recognizing the symptoms early can make a huge difference. She described the severity threshold people should consider when deciding whether to take the animal to a veterinarian or use safe household remedies.
Symptoms a pet may be ill include vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, distress, loss of appetite and weight loss.
“Animals are just like humans when it comes to medicine. For example, each cat will react differently to a medicine just like each child would react differently,” Anderson said.
Symptoms of a bad reaction to a medicine include facial swelling, vomiting, lethargic behavior and distressed breathing, Anderson said.
Before using a home remedy on an animal, Anderson recommends calling a veterinarian to ensure the over-the-counter medicine is not harmful to the pet.
Some over-the-counter medicines can be fatal to animals, like aspirin, Anderson said. Painkillers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen are extremely harmful and should never be given to a pet.
However, other medicines like Benadryl, for allergies and itching; Pepto Bismol, for diarrhea, vomiting and gas; and hydrogen peroxide, for inducing vomiting after accidental ingestion of toxic substances, are not harmful to animals, but should be monitored and given in moderation, Anderson said.
Anderson recommends giving only low doses of any medicine not prescribed by a veterinarian. She also said that it should be given once. Proper dosage for Benadryl is one milligram per pound. A dosage of hydrogen peroxide should be 10 milliliters by mouth and one teaspoon of Pepto Bismol should be appropriate per 20 pounds. For proper dosages of other medicines, visit
“If no progress is detectable after 12 to 48 hours of one dosage, go to your closest vet clinic immediately,” Anderson said.
If a pet is injured and has an open wound, there are certain precautions that should be taken before transporting the animal to the vet.
“First off, if your pet has a wound of any kind, do not try and fix it yourself,” Anderson said. “If it is an open wound, cover it and add pressure until you can get to the vet within 24 hours. If it is an internal wound, like a broken bone, proper transportation is vital.”
When transporting an animal with an internal injury, keep the pet as stable as possible. Anderson suggests putting a towel under the pet to use as a makeshift gurney to move the pet safely. This will distribute the weight evenly, preventing further pain for the animal.
“Pets can be quite agitated when going through an injury. If one persists to give you problems while trying to either transport or stabilize it, stop and quickly visit a vet to avoid further injury,” Anderson said.
If no signs of improvement are seen or the severity of the illness or injury is extensive, Anderson recommends seeing a veterinarian immediately.

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