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February 18, 2013

Pet Talk: First aid for your pet

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When a friend or significant other gets hurt we generally have a good idea of how to take care of them, but what do you do when your pet is in an accident? Unfortunately, most pet owners do not prepare themselves for these tragic incidents until it is too late.
 
"It is absolutely necessary to know if your veterinarian has an after hour emergency service and if not, who they recommend calling in case of an emergency," said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. "It is also imperative that you can call your veterinarian for advice on what to do to help your pet until you can get it to a clinic."

 Two common emergency situations that pet owners should be equipped for are poisoning and trauma.

     "If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, contact your veterinarian. They may tell you to make it vomit by feeding it hydrogen peroxide," states Stickney. "While hydrogen peroxide is generally harmless, there are some poisons that will actually make things worse if the pet vomits so it is important that you contact your veterinarian first. Having a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet before you need it is a good idea.”

As temperatures begin to rise, snake bites become more and more common with pets. If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, stay calm and take it to the vet right away. Do not use a tourniquet on the animal, as this will limit the blood flow to the area causing more harm than good.

"The area where the pet was bitten will swell up very quickly," said Stickney. "Just because there is no visible puncture wound does not mean that your pet did not get bitten. If you are able to kill the snake, then take it to the veterinarian with you. If they can identify it they will have a better idea of how harmful the bite is."

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