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First Aid

At some point you may have to administer first aid to your pet, or somebody else's pet, before the animal can be taken to the veterinary surgeon for treatment. If possible it is a good idea to telephone the veterinary surgery as someone there will be able to give you practical advice and it alerts them that the pet is injured and will need treatment. The degree of the injury can and will vary, but on the whole it is always best to have your pet checked over by your vet, even if you think everything is alright. Some animals are very good at hiding an injury and their pain threshold is different from ours. Remember a veterinary surgeon is restricted as to what can be done for your pet outwith the surgery itself. If you have an emergency, phone the vet and take your pet to the surgery. If you have no way of transporting your pet, the vet will gladly help by collecting the animal and taking it to the surgery for medical and, if necessary, surgical treatment.

The main accidents and emergencies that pet owners may experience are car accidents, bee and wasp stings, bite wounds from other animals, burns, broken bones, bloat, cut pads, choking, drowning, electrocution, falls, fits, heat and sun stroke, shock and poisoning.

When an animal is injured and frightened it may bite, so take a minute or two to assess the situation before you rush in. An injured animal will even bite its owner. If it is a badly injured dog, a muzzle is the safest way, you can improvise by using a tie or belt. Only use a muzzle if the animal is not having trouble breathing. With any injured animal it is always best to try and protect your arms and face from being bitten or scratched. With an injured cat, use something to cover your arms, towels or rugs if available, and do avoid putting your face near the cat as a cat that is frightened may become aggressive and resent being handled. In any situation involving an injured animal try to stay calm and make no sudden movements.

If you do take an injured animal to a veterinary surgeon you may well be seen to be responsible for payment for the treatment, however the veterinary surgeon will usually wait until the owner is found or a local welfare organisation takes the animal on as their responsibility. Some serious injuries cannot be treated at the time because the animal is in shock and any surgery will normally be carried out the next day.

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