Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pet First Aid

Hi my friends,

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with lots of good food. And speaking of good food, what would you do if your pet ate something that was not good for him or her? And what would you do if your cat had a seizure or your dog fell down the stairs and started limping? These are certainly scary thoughts, but panic is contraindicated in these situations. Having a first aid kit and some basic knowledge of pet first aid care can prepare you for a pet medical emergency and might save your pet's life.

Let me start out by saying that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care but it may save your pet's life until your pet receives veterinary treatment. So here are the important things you need to know about pet first aid. We can break it down into two parts, supplies and procedures.

Lets start with the supplies. Every first aid kit should have certain supplies in it. Most human kits have some of the same supplies. So that is where you can get them to stock up your pet's kit.

Since I am a big fan of lists, I will give you a list of what should be in your pet first aid kit.

Phone numbers: Make a list with important phone numbers of your regular veterinarian, a pet emergency clinic in your area, and the Animal Poison Control Center.

Gauze Pads: You need gauze pads to cover wounds.

Gauze Wraps: Gauze wraps can be used as a muzzle, to secure the gauze pads, and as a sling to keep a limb in place.

Small towel: It can be used as a muzzle, protect wounds, calm your pet, and control bleeding.

Adhesive tape: You need that to secure gauze wraps.

Milk of Magnesia: This is used in absorbing poisonous substances from the system. Ask your veterinarian for the proper dosage.

Hydrogen Peroxide: This is used when you want to induce vomiting. Once upon a time they sold Syrup of Ipecac at drugstores which works very well with inducing vomiting but it soon became the drug of choice for people suffering from bulimia and it is now no longer available over the counter. Again, ask your veterinarian on the proper amount for the body weight of your pet.
Tweezers: You use them to remove splinters or foreign objects.
Scissors: Use them to cut gauze, tape, and matted fur.
Antiseptic wash and wipes: To clean wounds. It is best to use a non-stinging antiseptic such as chlorhexidine or betadine.
Styptic pencil: You can use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to stop minor bleedings.

Thermometer: It is used rectally. Never put a thermometer in your pet's mouth. The normal
body temperature of a cat is 101.5 F and of a dog is 102 F.

Large syringe without a needle: You can use it to flush wounds or to give oral treatments.

Muzzle: Even if your pet is a sweetheart, when in pain or in shock, the sweetest pet can be unpredictable and bite out of fear. You can also use a towel or a necktie but make sure you leave an opening for the nose so your pet can breath. Importantly, do not use a muzzle if your pet is vomiting.

Leash: You need that to keep your pet from taking off on you. Even if your dog usually follows you without a leash, in an emergency situation your dog might take off.

Stretcher: That can be anything from a board, a floor mat, a door, to a blanket, depending on the size of your pet. It has to be something that you can use to carry your pet to the car if your pet is immobilized.

Here are a few guide lines on how to handle an injured pet before we go on to the basic procedures of pet first aid. A pet with an injury or pain can experience a lot of fear and thus can be unpredictable. Even though your first instinct is to hug your pet in order to calm it down, you should never put your face close to the mouth. If necessary, apply a muzzle to your pet's mouth and leave the nose uncovered so your pet can breath. Remember to never apply a muzzle if your pet is vomiting. It is best to work in a calm and gentle manner. If your pet shows signs of agitation, stop whatever you are doing and stay calm. Contact your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, or the Animal Poison Control Center as soon as possible. If you are doing any first aid procedures, have someone else do the phone calls while you are helping your pet. First aid procedures are not a substitute for veterinary care. So please, follow up with a visit to your vet or during an emergency, visit the nearest pet emergency clinic. When transporting your pet to a clinic or veterinarian, do so in a calm and gentle manner. It is best to transport a pet in a confined space, such as a carrier. It is a good idea to always have a copy of your pet's medical records on hand. If you have to go to an emergency clinic or a veterinarian on call, you can bring the copy of the records along. This way the treating veterinarian knows about the pet's medical history and any lab work or procedures that have been done recently.

So here are some of the most common emergency situations and a description of basic first aid procedures you can perform to help your pet in distress.

Poison and toxins: Call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 immediately or have someone call while you are assisting your pet. When giving information to the APCC know the specifics regarding your pet such as breed, sex, age, weight, symptoms, substance ingested, amount, and length of time ago. Also collect any discarded material such as vomit, feces, or urine. Read the label of the container the toxin was in. Often they tell you what to do about superficial contact or what to do if swallowed. Bring your pet to the nearest pet emergency clinic or your local veterinarian immediately.

Seizures: Keep your pet away from any objects that can injure it but do not restrain your pet. Most importantly, keep your fingers away from the mouth. Time the seizures. The average seizure lasts between two and three minutes. Any seizure over five to seven minutes is of great concern. If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. After a shorter seizure, keep your pet in a quiet, warm, and comfortable place to sleep it off. Follow up with a visit to your veterinarian.

Fractures: Put a muzzle on your pet because fractures can be painful and a pet in distress can be unpredictable. Place your pet on a flat surface that you can also use for transport to the veterinarian. Make sure you secure your pet to the surface when transporting so it doesn't fall off. You can try to splint the broken limb but only if you can get your pet to see a veterinarian right away. The fracture needs to be properly aligned by a veterinarian or otherwise it will not heal correctly and your pet will end up limping. If it is a compound fracture (part of the bone exposed), do not push the bone back in. Cover it up with a gauze pad to keep it clean and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Bleeding (external): Put a muzzle on your pet. Apply several gauze pads with moderate pressure to the wound for at least three minutes. If the bleeding stops, apply a new gauze pad and secure with a gauze wrap and medical adhesive tape. If the bleeding is severe and on a limb, you can also apply a tourniquet between the body and the wound. You can use a necktie for this. A tourniquet should be loosened for about 30 seconds every 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to mark down the time that you applied the tourniquet and also the times that you loosened it because a tourniquet should not be kept longer than two hours. When applying a tourniquet, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

Bleeding (internal): Be familiar with the symptoms of internal bleeding. The symptoms are: bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum. Bloody cough or blood in urine. Also pale gums, rapid pulse and/or collapse. If you suspect your pet having an internal bleeding, keep it quite, warm and bring it to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

Burns: Again, put a muzzle on your pet because burns can be very painful and agitating to your pet. A chemical burn can be flushed with water. To a severe burn, you can apply a compress soaked in ice water for several minutes. After several minutes soak the compress again and apply anew. When transporting your pet to the veterinarian, cover the burn area with sterile gauze to keep it clean. Seek veterinarian care as soon as possible.

Chocking: Know the signs of chocking. Your pet might have difficulty breathing or make chocking sounds. It might also paw at the mouth constantly. The tongue and lips can show a blueish tinge. Try to look into the mouth by pulling the tongue towards the front of the mouth. If you see the obstruction, use tweezers or pliers to remove it and be careful not to stuff it down further. If you cannot remove the obstruction, place your pet on it's side and apply quick and firm pressure in the rip cage area. Use good judgement on the amount of pressure according to the size of your pet. If you are still unsuccessful, transport your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

Heat stroke: The most important rule of pet companionship is: Never leave your pet in a car on a hot day. A car can get very hot in a very short time and it only takes a few minutes for your pet to become overheated. Heat stroke can be a life threatening situation. Bring your pet out of the sun and to a shaded area. Put a cold, wet towel around your pet's neck and head while leaving the nose free to breath. Re-wet towel every few minutes. You can also gently pour water over the abdomen and between the hind leg area. Bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Shock: The symptoms of shock are as follows: weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness, and dazed eyes. If your pet shows any or all of these signs, keep your pet confined to a quite and warm place such as a pet carrier. The head should be level with the rest of the body. Seek veterinary care at the nearest pet emergency clinic immediately.

Not breathing: I know it is hard but try to remain clam. Call your veterinarian over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are attending to your pet. Grasp your pet's tongue and pull forward in order to check for foreign objects. If the trachea is clear, close the mouth and hold it close while you breath into the nose until you see the chest rise. Repeat the mouth to nose breathing every four to five seconds until your pet breathes on its own or your pet is seen at the emergency clinic.

No heart beat: Again, try to remain clam and call your vet over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are helping your pet. Place your pet on its side on top of a firm surface. Secure an airway and begin rescue breathing as described above. After four to five breath, start chest compressions. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the elbow of the front leg. This is the area where you apply the compressions. You do that, on a medium or large size dog, by placing one hand underneath the chest and the other hand above the chest and compress both hands at the same time. On a cat or small size dog, you have to cradle your hand around the chest and squeeze the chest between the thumb and fingers. A compression consists of a quick push down and a quick release. Use good judgement of the amount of pressure to use according to the size of the pet. Since cats and dogs have a more rapid heart beat than people, you should do about 100 compressions per minute. It is best to do this procedure with two people since you have to alternate between breathing and chest compressions. Give five chest compressions and on the 5th release, give one breath. When the chest goes down after the breath, start with compressions again. Continue until the heartbeat is restored and your pet breathes on its own or until you arrive at the emergency clinic and the veterinary takes over.

As you can see, with the right supplies and some basic knowledge of pet first aid, emergency situations can be handled calmly and with confidence. And most importantly, remember that pet first aid can save your pet's life but is not a substitute for veterinary care.

So, stay safe my friends,


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tis the season.

Hi my friends!

This is the season for good food and lovely decorations. People decorate their homes with a tree, tinsel and pretty plants. They serve good meals, lots of cookies, and festive drinks, and also offer their canine and feline friends a taste of it, not realizing that it can be a poison to them. Today I would like to tell you about some of the things that can be a hazard to your best friend.

Let me start out by saying that candles and furry creatures don't mix. Many of bushy tails have caught on fire just by strolling past a lit candle. As festive it is to have real candles on the Christmas tree, just imagine the surprise when Ms. Kitty gets the urge to climb up the tree. Next thing you know, the fire department is knocking on your door and Christmas is over.

Speaking of Christmas trees, many of us canines and felines are intrigued by tinsel and shiny ornaments. If ingested, tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage in the same way as ribbons and rubber bands can. So, unless you want to spend an arm and a leg on a surgery to remove the blockage, keep those things away from your furry friends.

With the holidays comes good food, lots of cookies, and eggnog. But be aware, some foods can be poisonous to your pet. Here are some of the most important foods that should not be given to pets.

Chocolate: The theobromine in chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death in both, canines and felines.

Grapes and Raisins: They can cause severe kidney as well as gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats.

Garlic and Onions: The sulfoxides and disulfides damage the Red Blood Cells and cause anemia in dogs and cats.

Nuts: Nuts have a high fat content and can lead to pancreatitis as well as gastrointestinal problems and muscle tremors especially in dogs.

Mushrooms: They can effect the kidneys, liver, and brain. If ingested in large amounts, mushrooms can cause shock symptoms and death. You should make sure there are no wild mushrooms growing in the back yard when Fido roams the yard.

Tomatoes: The oxalates in tomatoes cause gastrointestinal problems, seizures, and tremors mostly in cats.

Raw Potatoes: They have oxalates as well and cause the same problems in both, cats and dogs.

Avocado: Very dangerous to both, canine and feline. They can cause fluids to build up in the chest and heart and can lead to acute heart failure.

Xylitol: This is found in all sugar free products such as gum, candy, and some cookies. It is highly toxic to cats and dogs. When ingested, it causes the insulin in the body to drop to a very dangerous level and thus, lead to liver failure, brain damage, and death. Just 3 grams of Xylitol ingested by a 65 lb. dog can cause the insulin level to drop severely within 15 to 30 minutes and the damage is not reversible.

Caffeine and Alcohol: Both can be toxic to the liver and brain and can cause death in dogs and cats.

So please, keep this in mind when you share foods with your furry friends. Also be careful what you drop on the floor because most of us canines are like four legged vacuum cleaners. What's on the floor, is legally ours. That also goes for medications that you accidentally drop on the floor. Some human medications such as Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Decongestants, Cold Medicines, and Antidepressants can cause severe problems in both, canines and felines.

Another problem is tobacco. Be very careful not to leave cigarettes or cigarette buds on the table. Tobacco can cause severe damage to the nervous system. Only 15 cigarettes ingested orally by a human will lead to death. You can imagine how little it would take to do the same in a small cat or dog.

Common household products can be another hazard to us. Antifreeze, paint thinner, and drain cleaner when ingested, cause kidney and liver failure as well as neurological damage. Also be aware that toilet cleaner and pool and hot tub cleaners can cause problems with canines that like to drink out of the pool or the toilet.

Fertilizers and cocoa mulch not only cause gastrointestinal problems but can also lead to seizures, kidney failure, and death. You have to be especially careful with the cocoa mulch because it smells good to dogs. The same goes for rodent poison. It smells good so the rodents eat it but unfortunately, the poison smells good to cats and dogs as well. It causes gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, and can lead to seizures and death when untreated. Ingesting a poisoned rodent can cause the same problems in a milder form.

There are also many plants that can cause mild to severe reactions in pets. Here is a long list of plants that should not be ingested by your furry friend. If you like to enjoy any of these plants, keep them out of reach, away from Fido and Ms. Kitty.

Air plant, Aloe vera, Alocasia, Amanita, Amaryllis, American yew, Apple seeds, Arum lily, Autumn crocus, Australian flame tree, Apricot pits, Asparagus fern, Azalea

Baby's breath, Balsam pear, Baneberry, Bayonet, Beech, Belladonna, Bird of paradise, Bishop's weed, Black laurel, Black locust, Bloodroot, Bluebonnet, Blue-green algae, Boxwood, Bracken fern, Broad beans, Broomcorn grass, Buckeye, Buckthorn, Buddhist pine, Bulb flowers, Burdock, Burning bush, Buttercup

Cacao, Cactus, Caladium, Calla lily, Camel bush, Candelabra tree, Cardinal, Castor bean, Ceriman, Chalice vine, Cherry, Chinaberry tree, Chinese evergreen, Christmas rose, Chrysanthemum, Cineria, Clematis, Cocklebur, Coffee bean, Coral plant, Cordatum, Coriaria, Coriander, Corncockle, Cornstalk plant, Corydalis, Cotton bush, Cowslip, Coyotillo, Crocus, Croton, Crown of thorns, Cutleaf, Cycads, Cyclamen

Daffodil, Daphne, Datura, Deadly amanita, Deadly nightshade, Death camus, Decentrea, Delphinium, Devil's ivy, Dieffenbachia, Drachaena palm, Dragon tree, Dumb cane, Dutchman's breeches

Easter lily, Eggplant, Elaine, Elderberry, Elephant's ear, Emerald feather, English ivy, English yew, Ergot, Eucalyptus, Euonymus, Evergreen

Ferns, False helleborne, False henbane, Felt plant, Fiddle leaf fig, Firethorn, Flame tree, Flax, Florida beauty, Four o'clock, Foxglove

Geranium, German ivy, Giant dumb cane, Glacier ivy, Ghostweed, Glottidium, Golden chain, Golden glow, Golden pothos, Gopher purge, Ground cherry

Heartland philodendron, Heliotrope, Hellebore, Hemlock, Henbane, Holly, Honeysuckle, Horse bean, Horse brush, Horse chestnut, Horsetail, Hurricane plant, Hyacinth, Hydrangea

Indian licorice, Indian rubber plant, Indian tobacco, Indian turnip, Inkberry, Iris, Ivy

Jack in the pulpit, Janet Craig dracaena, Japanese show lily, Jasmine, Java bean, Jerusalem cherry, Jessamine, Jimsonweed, Jonquil, Jungle trumpets, Juniper

Kalanchoe, Kentucky coffee tree

Lacy tree philodendron, Lantana, Larkspur, Laurel, Leucotho, Lily, Lily spider, Lily of the valley, Lima bean, Lobelia, Locoweed, Lords and ladies, Lupine

Madagascar dragon tree, Malanga, Mandrake, Marble tree, Marigold, Marijuana, Maternity plant, Mayapple, Meadow saffron, Mescal bean, Mexican breadfruit, Mexican poppy, Milk vetch, Milkweed, Mistletoe, Mock orange, Monkshood, Moonseed, Morning glory, Mother in law's tongue, Mountain laurel, Mushrooms

Narcissus, Navy bean, Needlepoint ivy, Nephytis, Nettles, Nightshade

Oak, Orleander, Onion, Oriental lily

Panda plant, Parsley, Peacy lily, Peach pits, Peires, Pencil tree, Peony, Periwinkle, Philodendron, Pimpernel, Pigweed, Pileweed, Plumosa fern, Poinciana, Poinsettia, Poison hemlock, Poison ivy, Poison oak, Pokeweed, Poppy, Potato, Pothos, Precatory, Primrose, Privet, Pyracantha

Rain tree, Ranuculus, Rape, Rattlebox, Rattlebush, Red emerald, Red maple, Red princess, Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Ribbon plant, Rosary peas, Rubber plant

Saddle leaf philodendron, Sago palm, Sandbox tree, Satin pothos, Scarlet runner, Schefflera, Scotch broom, Silver pothos, Skunk cabbage, Snowdrop, Snow on the mountain, Sorghum grass, Sorrel, Spindle tree, Spurges, Staggerweed, Star of Bethlehem, String of pearls, Striped dracaena, Sudan grass, Sweetheart ivy, Sweet pea

Tansy mustard, Tansy ragwort, Tiger lily, Tobacco, Tomato plant, Thornapple, Tree philodendron, Tropic snow dieffenbachia, Tulip, Tung tree

Vetch, Virginia bower, Virginia creeper

Water hemlock, Weeping fig, Wattle, White cedar, Wild call, Wisteria

Yam bean, Yews, Yellow jasmine

Oh boy, that sure was a long list. I think my human deserves some credit for typing it all for me. If you think your pet ingested any of these potentially poisonous substances, please seek veterinary care immediately or call the National Animal Poison Control Center's 24 hour hotline at 1-888-426-4435. You should also be familiar with the symptoms of poisoning. Detecting the signs of poisoning can save your pets life. Here is a list of the symptoms you should look out for:

  • mouth irritation
  • skin rash
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lack of appetite
  • drooling
  • staggering
  • hallucinations causing over-reaction to sound or light
  • breathing difficulty
  • bleeding disorders
  • muscle tremor and rigidity
  • seizure
  • heart failure
  • kidney or liver problems
  • coma and death

If you find any or all of these signs, please seek help as soon as possible. If you would like to have more information on this subject, please visit the National Animal Poison Control Center website at .

Well my friends, by keeping your furry friends save and away from any potentially poisonous substances, the holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year for you and your pets. So stay save and enjoy.

Love and Peace,


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pesky Fleas

Hello everybody!
Oh boy, having a mad itch sure isn't fun. Often those mad itches are caused by fleas. Fleas are those small dark brown insects with very strong hind legs that enable them to jump from host to host. Since they prefer temperatures of 50 to 80 degrees F, we have to deal with them most of the year round. Fleas can cause minor to severe reactions in pets but with good prevention your pet can be protected against those nasty creatures.
As always, if you are in doubt about the cause of your pet's itch, consult a veterinarian. Fleas can be easy to spot with a flea comb. Usually they hang out on parts of the body that are not reached easily by the pet. You can comb these areas and you will find fleas. Often you will see little black specs that look like pepper. That is the feces of the fleas also known as flea dirt. You can pick it up and put it on a moist tissue. Within a few seconds, it dissolves and looks like a blood stain. When you see that, you can be sure that there are fleas present.
So, now you know that your pet has fleas, the next step is to get rid of those pesky creatures and also prevent them from coming back because they can cause mild to severe problems in pets. Some pets just itch and scratch the area where they have been bitten. This can result in hair loss and scabs. In some pets, it takes only one flea bite and they show allergic reactions to it and scratch themselves continuously. In severe cases of flea infestation, pets can become anemic and weak since the fleas feed on the host's blood. In a way the fleas are like miniature vampires.
To keep those little vamps from sucking your pet dry, you have to get rid of them and keep them from coming back. There are many ways to do this and it can be very confusing. So, let me help you out with this by explaining the different ingredients of some of the products and what they do.
Amitraz: This is an insecticide that is used in tick collars. It kills ticks but not fleas and it is not absorbed into the body. It has to be used in combination with other flea products.
Etofenprox: Also an insecticide, is found in Bio Spot for cats and is used topically. This is a pyrethroid which is a longer-lasting, synthetic relative of natural pyrethrins. It kills and repels ticks, fleas, lice, and mosquitoes. It is labeled safe to use on cats.
Fipronil: This is an insecticide found in Frontline and Frontline Plus. It blocks the passage of chlorine through cells in the insect's nervous system, causing paralysis of the insect. It collects in the oil glands of the skin and is then slowly released. It is water resistant and protects against ticks and adult fleas. Can be used on cats and dogs.
Imidacloprid: This is an insecticide found in K9 Advantix and Advantage. It interferes with the nerve conduction system of insects by blocking the insects' nerve receptors. It kills fleas but not ticks and is not water resistant. Advantage can be used in dogs and cats. K9 Advantix is only used in dogs.
Linalool: This is an insecticide found in many carpet powders designed to control fleas and ticks. It is a plant-derived and environmentally safe extract that affects the insect's nervous system.
Permethrin: Found in K9 Advantix, Bio Spot for dogs and Bio Spot foggers. It is related to pyrethrins and permethrins and is a synthitic insecticide that provides a broader and longer killing action than natural pyrethrins. Used in flea and tick control products for dogs, it also kills and repels other insects such as lice and mosquitoes. It is also in many area treatments such as foggers and sprays. It should NOT be used on cats.
Pyrethrins: This is the active ingredient of Natural Bio Spot foggers. It is a natural plant extract from the chrysanthemum flower and acts as an insecticide. It provides quick flea and tick killing action with a wide margin of safety and is used as an area treatment.
Spinosad: This is found in Rx Comfortis and is derived from a naturally occurring bacterium in the soil. When the flea is exposed to this fast acting insecticide, it over-stimulates the insect's nervous system, causing death. It is effective against fleas only, used orally, and safe for cats and dogs.
Lufenuron: This is an insect development inhibitor. It is found in Program and it inhibits the production of chitin in flea larvae. Chitin is a component of an insect's outer skeleton and it is necessary for the lea to live. It can be used in dogs and cats.
Methoprene, Nylar: These are both insect growth regulators and they can be found in Bio Spot for dogs and cats, Frontline Plus, Bio Spot foggers, and Bio Spot carpet powder. It mimics the natural juvenile hormone in insects that prevents the pupa from molting into an adult and thus breaking the biological cycle of the flea. It is used in cats and dogs as a flea control product.
If you still don't know which product to choose, consult your veterinarian. You also have to keep in mind that when your pet has fleas and sleeps on the carpet or sofa, the fleas will also be on the carpet and the sofa and they will lay eggs and multiply. So, often you will have to use an area treatment such as a spray or a fogger to treat the carpets, furniture and pet beds as well. With the spray, you and your pet can go back to the treated area shortly after the treatment. With the foggers however, everybody has to leave the area and stay away for a while. Make sure you read the instructions on the fogger carefully. It will tell you how long you have to wait before using the area again. Also make sure to remove all small pets such as hamsters, birds, etc. from the area and cover up fish tanks with a garbage bag.
If your pets go roaming in the back yard, use an outdoor spray that hooks up to the water hose and treat the yard as well. Since fleas lay eggs, you might have to repeat the treatment after a few weeks when the eggs are hatched.
When choosing a flea and tick product, keep in mind your pet's individual needs and read all directions completely before using the product. Follow the directions properly. Flea and tick preventives, properly used, can be a great help in keeping your pet in the best health possible and free from that mad itch.
As always, Love and Peace,