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Although this is written with animals in mind, the principles in people are much the same, so this should be useful knowledge to have.

The ABC of first aid follows, this is because it’s easy to panic, so take a step back, assess the whole situation, make sure you and the patient are safe (eg out of the road if dealing with an animal run over by a vehicle), call for help if you need to and then:

A: Airway extend the head, and carefully (so as not to get bitten) clear away fluids in mouth. Keep the head down to aid drainage. Check if breathing, if not close mouth and blow into nose with the neck extended roughly every 5-6 seconds. You should see the chest rise, and then fall again. In newborn animals a stalk of grass stuck up the nose can stimulate breathing.

B: Bleeding blood oozing is not too serious, but if spurting (arterial bleeding) it needs to be stopped with pressure or bandages.

C: Circulation is there a pulse? Feel the left side of the chest just behind the elbow for a heart beat, or in the groin for a pulse. If nothing apply lateral pressure to the chest with the animal lying on its right side roughly every second, remembering to breathe after 15 compressions. For tiny puppies and kittens just use finger pressure, for bigger dogs you can use 2 hands. Ideally you should compress the chest about 1/3 of its width. If you need to do CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) ie chest compressions and artificial breathing do 15 chest compressions, 1 breath, and then an abdominal squeeze, this helps return blood to the heart. In human CPR 30 chest compressions, followed by 2 breaths is recommended, so the same ratio, but 30+2 as opposed to 15+1+ abdominal squeeze for animals. If you are lucky enough to have 2 rescuers alternate compressions every 2 minutes to avoid fatigue. 10 minutes is usually enough, so I’d consider stopping if you have had no response by then.

D & E: Digestive and Excretory this is not really first aid, but something the vet will assess (internal injuries)

F: Fractures need to be supported with splints or bandages for comfort.

 I’d also like to run through some common medical scenarios and how to deal with them.

Firstly fitting animals: keep things as quiet and dark as possible. If inside draw curtains, close doors, and keep children away. Most will recover within a few minutes. An ice brick applied to the lower back can help them recover faster.

If your dog is in pain, aspirin (Disprin) works well at 10mg/kg, ie a 300mg tablet for a 30kg dog. Don’t try this in cats as they don’t tolerate it well, and especially avoid paracetamol (Panadol) in cats.

For wounds clean them with water, and a weak antiseptic solution if available. Betadine or Chlorhexidine are probably the safest in animals. Also clip away as much hair around the wound as possible to aid hygiene and drainage.

first aid

Link of the day

How to perform CPR on a dog

We've created an online portal to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions or pet food and other animal health products. You can also view invoices and statements as well as update your and your animal's details.

Now you can like us on facebook to receive regular updates (including the monthly news article) and interact with us online

We've recently put shingle down in the parking area and made it drive through so please park inside and tell us what you think!

We have moved to 3328 Christchurch-Akaroa Rd near the Birdlings Flat turnoff, watch out for our big sign, you can't miss it. We have a much bigger range of foods and animal health products, including the Eukanuba Premium Performance for working dogs at great prices. Our cattery is also open and looking great.

We have an inhouse blood analyzer at the clinic, so we can run many tests while you wait. This allows us to offer pre-anaesthetic testing as well as health screening for older animals, and provide an emergency service afterhours and weekends when the Christchurch laboratory is closed. We can also determine mineral levels in down cows. We also now have a portable ultrasound scanner, good news for pregnancy testing.

We once again have the cheap mismating injection available for bitches. This has been off the market for a few years now, but Paul has been able to have some compounded. We have some ideas to help you save on animal health expenses- ask us about the bulk deals for Eukanuba dog food, and get to feed a premium, performance enhancing brand. Also the RFID electronic ear tags are now compulsory for cattle and deer. Ask us about ordering NAIT tags for your stock, or about the new tagging requirements. There is a lot more flexibility in what visible tags are acceptable- they don't all have to be yellow! We are able to procure eartags at below recommended retail prices.

 We also have a large range of Acana/Orijen and Hills Science Diet in stock. Paul can deliver to Akaroa on Mondays and Thursdays and to Diamond Harbour on Tuesdays.

Animal health information - Archives

Please contact us if you’d like copies of any of these. Many are now available to view as posts on Paul's Linkedin page. Also let us know if you’d like to see any other topics featured here.

Animal welfare, Accidental poisonings, Arthritis, Allergies, Above & beyond, After Hours, Akaroa or bust

Becoming a vet, Birthing & midwifery, Be wormwise this Autumn

Calici vaccination update- rabbits

Dental care, De sexing, Dogs, sheep measles & farm etiquette

External parasites, Euthanasia, EID's, Equine deworming recommendations & autumn animal health advice

First aid in animals. FIV and Feline Leukaemia, Five Freedoms

Grain Poisoning

Happy to be stuck with you, Human-animal bond, Heat Stroke

Internal parasites, Is it too late to spey or neuter my pet? Internet & Google- the good the bad and the ugly, It shouldn't happen to a vet

Kitten rehoming

Lamb rearing

Mafikeng rhino, Memories of Mafikeng, Mr Talkative, Microchipping

Nutrition, Nutrition in pet rabbits, New Year Animal Health Checklist

Obesity in pets, Onwards & upwards

Poisons in the pantry, primary health care, Plant poisonings, Pigs rule, Pig's Ear, Pathology & blood testing

Rabbit calicivirus, Ramped up rhino, Resistance-squandering a miracle, Road block

Senior wellness

Tapeworm, TB in NZ, The nasties, The big move, The Challenge of Diamond Harbour, The thief, The Driving Lesson, Technology at work

Urinary problems in cats

Vets’ cars, vaccination principles- ruminants, Vaccination of dogs & cats, Vet lifestyler

War wounds, Why vaccinate?, World veterinary year, World vaccination guidelines, Wild & stray cats