Tag Archives: Pet Health

Five Basic Steps for Pet First Aid Readiness

Emergencies can happen at any time. Would you know what to do in case of an emergency with your pet? Here are five great Pet First Aid steps you can take today.

1/ Every home should have a First Aid Kit, including one specifically for pets. Basic Pet First Aid kits are available online and through some veterinary offices, but with a little guidance from your vet, you can easily put together your own.

Remember, emergencies are not always health related, so it’s smart to include important phone numbers (see tip #2), health records, current photo/s, feeding instructions, along with copies of your pet’s registration and microchip numbers.

2/ Keep emergency numbers near your home phone and put them into the contacts list for your cell. Start with your regular veterinarian, the poison control center, plus the nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic (handy for after hours). If your pet is microchipped (and it should be) be sure to record the actual microchip number. When was the last time you updated the contact information tied to the micrchip? If you’re not sure, check.

National Animal Poison Control Center: 888.426.4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 800.213.6680

3/ Take a Pet CPR class! The American Red Cross and many other organizations offer training and certification classes for Pet CPR. YouTube also has a wealth of video training. Search “Pet CPR classes” plus your city to find a range of resources, both online and off.

4/ Of course there’s an app for that! The American Red Cross offers a free Pet First Aid app for smartphones. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid emergencies. In the interest of being prepared, it might be a good idea to download the one for people, too! Text “GETPET” to 90999, or visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for direct downloads.

5. Know when to seek emergency veterinary help. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) emergency list:

  • Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes
  • Choking, difficulty breathing, or nonstop coughing and gagging
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
  • Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
  • Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
  • You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
  • Seizures and/or staggering
  • Fractured bones, severe lameness, or inability to move leg(s)
  • Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
  • Heat stress or heatstroke
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
  • Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
  • Unconsciousness

Heat Stroke in Pets: Know the Warning Signs

heat strokeHeat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people. Hyperthermia occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal (103°F), putting them in danger of multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke improves your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery.

SYMPTOMS

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/ black, tarry stools
  • Changes in mental status (ie, confusion)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness / Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

TREATMENT: At the first sign of overheating, it’s important to take steps to gradually cool your pet down. Do NOT use ice or extremely cold water as it can cause shock and other undesirable reactions. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cool, wet towels and use a fan for convection cooling.  Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, groin, and under the forelegs. When their temperature reaches 103° F, stop cooling to avoid dropping below normal body temperature, then seek veterinary care.

Would You Recognize Signs of Diabetes in Your Pet?

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November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so we thought we’d take some time to highlight the disease and review the symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats.

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy. Here is a simplified version of what happens:

When food is digested, it is broken down into many smaller components to be used by the body as fuel. Carbohydrates are broken down into many components, including a simple sugar called glucose, which provides energy to fuel the body. The hormone insulin moves through the bloodstream, entering cells to help convert glucose into fuel. If the pancreas makes too little insulin or the body can’t process it properly, glucose can’t get into the cells. Glucose (sugar) begins to build up in the bloodstream, triggering the pancreas to release more insulin to balance blood sugar levels. The resulting blood sugar drop triggers hunger, and the cycle of highs and lows begins all over again. As a result, a diabetic animal may want to eat constantly, but because its cells can’t absorb and convert glucose into energy, the animal will be malnourished and lethargic.

shutterstock_77969485According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Obesity is a significant risk factor for development of diabetes. As dogs and cats age, they may also develop other diseases that can result in diabetes or could significantly affect their response to treatment for diabetes, including overactivity of the adrenal gland in dogs (hyperadrenocorticsm) or overactivity of the thyroid gland in cats (hyperthyroidism), pancreatitis, heart disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infections and skin infections.The long-term use of medications containing corticosteroids is also a risk factor for diabetes.”

If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your cat has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
  • Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
  • Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
  • Weight loss
  • Change in gait (walking)
  • Decreased activity, weakness, depression
  • Vomiting

Diabetes can be managed, so if your pet has symptoms, do not delay. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet can live a longer, healthier life.