Sunday, January 31, 2016

In-Field First Aid & CPR for Dogs

One of the last things I posted was the Pet Bloggers Challenge on January 10th. In it I specifically said that I want to post more regularly. So, 21 days later, I bring you this. LOL.

Truth is, I've been busy. And a nasty chest cold swept through the house and knocked us all on our asses. If it makes you feel any better, while sick I sketched out five future posts. Getting them post-worthy though . . .

One of the things I did during my blogging silence was take an Emergency Care and CPR course for working K9 handlers and first responders. WOW. This was different from the Red Cross Pet First Aid class I took years ago. That class was geared towards pet owners and focused on what to do if your pet was injured. This class, however, was designed for dogs working in the field, mainly police K9 units and military working dogs. It was fascinating. A couple things I learned are:
  • Inspect your dog everyday: ears, nose, feet, skin, mouth, etc. It's important to know what is normal for your working dog. If something is abnormal it should be addressed immediately.
  • It's also important to know your dog's working temperature. Dogs who work on a regular basis can safely be several degrees higher than what is considered "normal."
  • Should your dog ever over heat, it's important to cool him down right away. Use ice water if necessary; the benefits of a quick cool down outweigh the risks. Then take him to the vet, even if he looks okay. There could be hidden damage to vital organs.
  • Don't use hydrogen peroxide to flush out wounds. It damages healthy tissue. Instead, use saline. The vet suggested raiding the dollar store for squeeze bottles of saline. Put a bottle or two in your travel first aid kit. Be aggressive when flushing out of wound.
  • Unroll and reroll your vet wrap to keep it from being too tight when you need it.
  • Dogs have extremely strong chest muscles. Performing CPR on a dog is hard. Success rates aren't all that great, but you should learn how to do it anyway.
Because this was a class geared towards working dogs, we discussed things like bullet wounds, stabbings an accidental ingestion of illegal drugs. We were given handouts on what to put in an advanced first aid kit and the dosages for epinephrine, atropine and Narcan in emergency situations. We even practiced intubating on CPR dog dummies.

The same day I took the class I got an email from Trudog with the following infographic inside.

Stay safe. I'll have something for you tomorrow. Promise. -- K