If animals had voices, what would they say when in pain?? We talk of higher human attributes towards fellow human beings, but become unconcerned the moment we have to deal with animals. We do not even stop to look into the eyes of an ailing animal and miss the thousand words it speaks. Put yourself in the place of a species that needs you and learn how to alleviate its’ misery.
A basic knowledge of the primary ailments that affect animals and relevant tips to deal with common situations would solve over ninety percent of animal care needs. Therefore, it is important that every.
animal lover know about the basic first aid kit, about disaster preparedness, have a safety & evacuation plan, be prepared for emergencies at home, have a first-aid guide, and possess basic information on what first-aid to administer during difficult situations.
The first step to any disaster prevention is disaster preparedness. Such a prepared facility can be equipped with ladders to enable quick escape through the roof. Cotton ropes, shovels, water buckets, flashlights or lanterns, blankets and a minimum of 100 feet of hose can be kept ready. Similarly, restraining equipment like cotton halters, blindfold, fence panels, along with portable first-aid kit, and powered radio are important constituents as well. Once the facility is in place, one can develop a safety and evacuation plan to outline each type of disaster and determine optimal solutions. Besides including a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, the pasture needed in an evacuation, a list of qualified people and institutions is also required. Water and adequate sources of feed should be identified before a disaster, knowing that most herbivorous animals are going to daily eat approximately 1-2% of their body weight.
Emergency preparedness in one’s house would entail identifying any deviations from the norm, keeping the vets’ phone number handy within the access of all family members, learning how to handle and transport sick or injured pets, and learning basic facts about conditions that might affect one’s pet. It is also a good idea to keep in the first-aid kit, the name, age, breed, and sex, identification, and vaccination records of the pet.
A good first-aid kit should contain muzzles, protective gloves, thermometer, antibacterial soap, ointment, sterile rinse solution, clean syringes, pen light, blanket for pet transport, adhesive tape, medical gauze and rolls, scissors, tweezers, sterile needle (to remove splinters and ticks), eyedropper, nail clippers, pet comb, disposable safety razor, at least 2 towels, small blanket, bandanna and/or nylon stocking, strips of cloth, hydrogen peroxide 3% USP, activated charcoal tablets, Betadine solution, and rubbing alcohol.
The animal casualty scenarios would include car-hit cases, poisoning, wounds, burns, choking, drowning, electrocution, insect bites and stings, itching, rashes, and heat strokes. Each of these scenarios requires a distinct understanding of the first-aid methods. For example if an animal is hit by a car, or sustains high-impact injuries, it becomes necessary to keep the animal as steady as possible. Therefore, the animal can be placed on a firm surface, such as a plywood board or in a blanket. On the other hand, if the animal has been poisoned then it is advisable to induce immediate vomiting by giving it household hydrogen peroxide 3% USP or activated charcoal. If the ingested substance is kerosene, an acid or alkali, or a corrosive, then give the animal milk to dilute the toxin in the stomach. As cats groom themselves, they may ingest poisons such as sprays that get on their fur. Hence, it is better to wash a cat’s fur. An animal with physical wounds and trauma must be handled carefully, as it may bite. If there is bleeding then place clean gauze and apply direct pressure on the bleeding area for at least ten minutes till the bleeding stops. Avoid tourniquets unless absolutely necessary. In non-serious trauma, the first-aid must be given by cleaning and sanitizing the area, and then applying a bandage before taking the animal to the vet.
For burn injuries, flush the area immediately with lots of cool running water and apply an ice pack for about twenty minutes by wrapping it in light towel. Acidic burns are neutralized by rinsing with a solution of baking soda and water, while alkaline burns are counteracted by a weak vinegar-water solution. Olive oil can also be applied. If the animal is choking open the mouth and try to pull out the tongue to check for obstructions. Sweep inside with a finger if you cannot see anything. If you see or feel the object, remove it if you can without causing throat trauma. Do not apply too much force or you may injure the animal. To resuscitate the animal, place your pet on a flat surface, open his mouth, pull the tongue forward, and clear away any debris in his mouth. If the animal is still in distress, hold him by his hind legs and gently swing him back and forth in an attempt to clear the water from his lungs and stomach. If the pet is too large to lift, place him on his side and press upward on his midsection or abdomen. If your pet has been electrocuted and is conscious, then rinse his mouth with cold water, and perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation. Wrap the animal in a blanket to help prevent shock, and take him to the vet immediately. Insect bites, stings, itching, and rashes can be rinsed and soothed by a solution of baking soda and water. Also, mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt in two cups of warm water to bathe itchy paws and skin. If the animal is suffering from a heat stroke, get your pet inside and place a cool, wet towel over him or submerge him in cool or lukewarm water without ice. Provide drinking water, but do not force the animal to drink. You can apply rubbing alcohol on the skin as a cooling agent.
If the animal is not eating, is depressed, has diarrhea, or any respiratory symptoms then check on its’ temperature. A low temperature may indicate the advent of shock. The normal temperature for cats and dogs is on an average 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 99 degrees is too low and above 103 degrees is usually a fever. A heating pad or hot water bottle is helpful, if there is any kind of shock, or low temperature. Take care so that the hot surface is not in direct contact with the skin or fur. Shock can result from acute diarrhea, hypoglycemia, blood loss from trauma, poisoning and many serious internal problems that might not be evident without x-rays or blood tests. If the animal is having diarrhea or displays signs of shock, such as low temperature, cold extremities, pale gums and weakness, then give him electrolyte mixed with water, every hour until it looks better. To check for signs of dehydration, it is best to take the skin at the scruff of the neck and raise it up between your fingers and thumb then let go. It should immediately go back down to normal. If it stays up for more than a few seconds, then give the animal oral re-hydration fluids. Young animals can be given a little honey with water, or glucose. The honey needs to be dissolved in a little hot water then some cool water added to make a solution that can be given with a syringe. To reduce stress during trauma a homeopathic sedative called Rescue Remedy may be given. It will often revive animals in shock.
The importance of even the smallest of precautions cannot be underestimated whilst saving the life of a living creature. It is, therefore, crucial to possess and disseminate primary knowledge of common ailments. This can help provide the basic first-aid to reduce the chances of an ailment becoming life-threatening.
*Proper wildlife rehabilitation is an extremely biologically and ecologically responsible attitude toward all living things.*