Emergency First-Aid for Animals
LAST UPDATED: 5th OCT 2010
WORD TO THE WISE! Although we cannot afford to have the remaining food tested by an independent lab, we’ve recently lost three of our babies and expect to lose another ten in the coming weeks, and we blame it on having fed them IAMS Original dry food in the orange bag.
Thirteen fell in quick succession and had/have bizarre mouth problems which render them unable to eat; only the cats who ate IAMS were affected; Koko the Sign Language Gorillacat seemed to have recovered but had an immediate relapse the first time she ate IAMS again; and not one cat has fallen since we removed IAMS from their menu. Do as you will, but there will never be another product from Proctor & Gamble in our home. For animals nor humans. Consider yourselves warned.
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians, and may prescribe neither medications nor courses of treatment. The Emergency FIRST AID Information contained herein is contained herein only to assist those who are in dire straights, and who have no choice but to go the DIY route. It MUST BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
That said: What’s the difference between God and a doctor? God doesn’t think he’s a doctor…
Having always believed “a good deed isn’t a good deed if one seeks credit or acclaim,” we would prefer the health and happiness of the animals do our talking, but. We also understand that, as regards emergency first-aid, people might like to know why they should listen to a single word we say.
So! Long story short, for whatever it’s worth: We’re a brother-sister act with bits of formal education and training tacked onto a lifetime of stumbling into both tragedy and travesty, with Gumpian regularity. We seem to exist in a medical practicum, and almost everything we know was learned “on the battlefield.” Basic methods are the same, whether dealing with humans or animals. If this is the time and place to blow our own horn, we’ll do so with the words spoken to a clinicful of medicos, by the surgeon of whom we were and remain in awe [making us all the more verklempt]:
“I have never seen anyone who can do what these people can do with sick and injured animals. Especially the wild animals.” Dr. Elton Gissendanner II, DVM (“Surgery Guru,” Co-founder of Planned Pethood of America Inc., Florida State Legislator, and an early “activist” on behalf of the Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.)
Read what we hath writ, get second, third, and fourth opinions, do the research, and make your decisions. Take responsibility. Never underestimate the power of intuition, nor of the search engine. We’re not doctors, we’re not licensed, and most importantly, we’re not special. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Francis of Assisi.
Too Many Vets Are Suckers for a Gravy Train & Easy Prey for Big Pharma
MICROCHIP IMPLANTS CAUSE FAST-GROWING, MALIGNANT TUMORS IN LAB ANIMALS: Dr. Albrecht expressed concern for those who have received a chip implant, urging them to get the devices removed as soon as possible. “These new revelations change everything,” she said. “Why would anyone take the risk of a cancer chip in their arm?”
VACCINATIONS & BOTTOM LINES
Imagine if every time you went to the doctor you were given vaccinations that you don’t need; vaccinations that offer no benefit but all of the risks of harmful side effects. Or you were given medications with no explanation or information provided. Or tests were being done for no reason.
Now imagine that you can’t speak and you have no way to tell those who care for you that those vaccinations make you feel sick; you don’t want those tests; and the medicine is causing more harm than good. cont’d…
99% of all Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) that deal directly with the public, in my opinion, don’t give a crap about your animal and want it to be sick so they can continue to buy BMWs and take extra long vacations.
How do I know this? Very simply I have seen it first hand. I know what you are thinking…how can I generalize when I have had only 2-3 vets in my life? Simple. I get emails from all over the country…especially lately.
I get hundreds of emails from people whose new baby (puppy) has died from or gotten Parvovirus. I have gotten a lot of emails from people when news stations do stories on this disease as well. This is becoming an epidemic. PARVO RANT cont’d here…CAUTION! Adult Language…
Both the accidental and purposeful poisoning of animals is common, unfortunately. Knowing what to do under such circumstance can mean the difference between life and death.
Not all poisons should be regurgitated, and those which should not will prove even more harmful if vomited. Do not induce vomiting without first making sure there will be no harm! Call your vet or a poison control center, and/or do a search, online.
When regurgitation is recommended, use HYDROGEN PEROXIDE, administered orally, by syringe. A ten pound cat or dog might need only half a teaspoonful of hydrogen peroxide placed as far back in the mouth as possible. A one-hundred pound dog may require two tablespoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide. After whomever has tossed their proverbial cookies, rinse the animal’s mouth, thoroughly, with water.
The following is a guide to basic poisons, and other helpful information.
FIRST THINGS FIRST!
It’s often difficult for a family member to know just how serious a problem is, so here’s a general rule of thumb: no matter what seems to be happening, if an animal is still interested in food, it’s probably not as serious a situation as it may appear.
If, on the other hand, the animal “should be hungry” but is completely uninterested in even their favorite food[s], the problem may be more serious than it appears. Animals won’t eat what they can’t smell, so first look for indications of an upper respiratory infection [said indications being exactly the same one would see in any snot-nosed kid -- and these infections are as common for animals as they are for children].
If the problem does seem to be an upper respiratory infection [URI], it’s serious and can be fatal if left untreated, but it does not warrant mortgaging your home for a trip to the emergency room. Clean the nose using a soft paper towel overly-wet with heavily sea-salted water [a bit will go up their noses but it won't drown them, the sea salt helps clear the nasal passages, and when it's over, they do seem much happier].
A drop of oil of oregano in some whipped chicken baby food, given by syringe, will help stay the infection. Do this every few hours until the animal either seems vastly improved [in which case, just keep doing as you have been doing, and you may not need a vet], or until your vet has re-opened for regular office hours.
They won’t like this particular home remedy, because oil of oregano stings for a second, but put a drop on your tongue [it's good for you], then try a spoonful of babyfood with a drop of the oil, and you’ll see they’re just being big babies.
If the no-eating does not seem to be URI-related, check the mouth and teeth. The problem may be a broken tooth, or food caught between teeth and/or gums. These problems and suggested solutions are found in the TEETH & DENTAL HEALTH section, below.
FLASHING RED LIGHTS HIGH-ALERT EMERGENCY SITUATION!
When trying to figure out the source of your cat’s or dog’s distress, always check the mouth and gums — with which you should be thoroughly familiar when your animal is perfectly healthy! If the gums are turning from their usual color to black, s/he is getting no oxygen, and dying, now. For something like this, we go to the emergency room, where a surgeon is usually on duty, and used to working on animals with punctured lungs, etc.
A regular vet may be completely unprepared to do emergency surgery, lack the basic equipment needed during these crises, and be unused to sedating animals who may have recently eaten or had water. Blackening gums are a very, very, very bad sign.
KIDNEY & LIVER PROBLEMS and DEHYDRATION
We’ve had several animals, both dogs and cats, beat seemingly unbeatable odds by putting them on extreme “flushing routines.” It’s an expensive home remedy, but it often works when all else has failed. And our “secret” is was unflavored pedialyte. Until realizing we were being scammed. Pedialyte is more than $5 for about two cups. And they warn you must throw it away and nevereverever use it if the bottle has been open more than 24 hours. And for all of this (and more, I’m sure) Abbotteers will burn in hell.
MAKE YOUR OWN PEDIALYTE! Stir 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 3 tbsps of sugar or honey into four cups of water. That’s it! I feel sick when I think of all the money we’ve spent on pedialyte. Money which could have been spent much more wisely. Please learn from my mistakes! Tell friends who have children so that they don’t get ripped off! Spread the word!
DO NOT USE GATORADE OR SPORTS DRINKS! Just use the basic, unflavored, home-made pedialyte. They won’t “resist” it, but it’s been our experience that they won’t drink it on their own unless they have already had it for a few days, and it’s served to them ice cold [we even frost the glass bowls].
If the animal is in really bad shape, simply pour a bit into a small glass, then you and a dropper must become a veritable drip bag. You can hold the animal’s head in one hand…let it rest, gently in the palm, as though sleeping…then slip the dropper into the corner of his/her mouth and slowly dribble it into the mouth. Do one dropper after another.
Hopefully, there will be another human with whom you can switch off, because it’s best to do it ’round the clock if it seems the animal might be in the process of dying, or if s/he is extremely ill. After 24 hours, if some improvement is noticed, you can move it down to 15 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Then keep tapering until s/he seems interested in food and able to drink water.
Once eating and drinking on his/her own, offer a small, frosted, bowl of ice-cold pedialyte every hour. At this point, they seem to understand that it’s making them feel better, and they’ll drink it on their own. When they seem to have finished for the moment, put the bowl in the freezer with any remaining pedialyte.
If your animal has a problem which can be “cured,” feel free to stop the pedialyte when they’ve completely recovered. If, however, their diagnosis is terminal, you’ll need to keep giving them pedialyte (which seems to make them feel more comfortable) until they let you know they just don’t want to be here, any longer.
We’ve had cats survive for more than a year, with a very good quality of life, after being diagnosed as having less than 10% liver or kidney function remaining, and the prognosis of certain death in fewer than 24 hours. Yes, it used to be six bucks every couple of days, but the home-made pedialyte costs only pennies per day, and. It works!
The commercial pedialyte bottle says that it’s only good for 24 hours, but that’s about contamination. It will keep for almost three days in the fridge, but then it thickens and the “patients” don’t like it. We’ve tried thinning it with boiled or distilled water, but then they stop improving, so. Now we’re looking forward to seeing what happens with the home-made pedialyte. Maybe there will be no “thickening,” as there is with the commercial version. I know our ingredients are much higher quality!
If you have the freezer space, and small glass and/or steel containers, after the drip period has ended, it’s best to freeze the pedialyte in small lots, so it lasts longer but is still available almost immediately when needed.
We use this for animals who’ve become severely dehydrated, as well as for those who have kidney and/or liver problems. We also give them lots of kefir or yogurt at these times, especially if they’re also on antibiotics (which we do sometimes use, as a drastic measure. We much prefer things like oregano oil, food-grade hydrogen peroxide, etc.).
URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS [UTI]
This is both a common and re-occuring problem for which the standard treatment — one or more courses of antibiotics — can cause even greater difficulties. The following natural remedy has not only proven better, but works faster than antibiotics and seems to inhibit re-ocurrence:
You’ll need JUNIPER BERRY drops. They’re available at any health-food store, and we recommend the alcohol-free versions. Get an extra dropper bottle, too. Put 1/3 of the bottle of Juniper Berry drops into the second dropper bottle, and then fill with distilled or filtered water. You now have one bottle that is full-strength, and one that is diluted.
The second and most important “medication” is VITAMIN C. It MUST be ascorbic acid, though it can have added rose-hips. 500mg tablets work best for this purpose. Break them in half for cats and small dogs, as their doses will be in 250mg increments. Large dogs require the full 500mgs per dose.
Twice per day, once in the morning and once at night, administer the Juniper Berry drops followed by the vitamin C tablet. Each time, cats and small dogs receive ONE dropperful of Juniper Berry drops, and large dogs receive TWO. Cats and small dogs receive 250mgs of vitamin C, and large dogs receive 500mgs.
THE FIRST TWO DOSES of Juniper Berry drops will be FULL STRENGTH! Afterwards, use the diluted drops. Even though you may begin noticing improvements within hours, continue this treatment for 10 full days!
We’ve often been told that vitamin C has little to no effect upon animals, but this has not been our experience, especially as regards urinary tract infections. What we do know is that, if ascorbic powder is used, it must be given in gelcaps.
Do not use anything but tablets or capsules, or your pet will be foaming at the mouth for several hours, afterward. And then, not surprisingly, they’ll pull every trick in the book to avoid another dose. They don’t seem to mind the tablets and gelcaps, at all. No horrible aftertaste.
The over-use and abuse of antibiotics created a major health crisis for both animals and humans, though the problem was largely ignored by doctors, laypersons, and media, alike. This practice resulted in new, virulent, and often treatment-resistant infections of every description.
We highly recommend that antibiotics be used ONLY when there is absolutely no other remedy available, and the need for antibiotics is clearly indicated. This will assure that they actually work when required. Creatures given antibiotics for every ailment known to man or beast will be up the proverbial creek without paddle when merde meets fan.
The oral antibiotics prescribed for use by humans are often exactly those used by animals [hence the bubblegum and banana flavored meds, of which Puss and Spot are so fond]. As today’s doctors seem not only willing but eager to prescribe antibiotics in cases where they are not only useless, but contra-indicated, we fill every prescription offered [at CostCo, where we've always paid six bucks and change for a month's supply, as opposed to the hundred and seventy dollars charged by many local pharmacies], and save them for dire emergencies.
We immediately reach for antibiotics when dealing with upper respiratory infections and obviously infected wounds. Liquid Clavamox is our preference, as the drops are easy to administer and its formula allows faster absorption.
Only injectable penicillin is available without a prescription, however, and it can be purchased at feed and vet supply stores. We buy the 48hr penicillin rather than the 24hr version. Fewer shots mean less stress for both giver and receiver.
As with anything else in life, one’s expectations and attitude are of primary importance. If you think it will be difficult and horribly painful for all concerned, giving injections will indeed become your worst nightmare. Should you take a deep breath, relax, and concentrate upon the job at hand, it will be over before anyone realizes what just happened.
WARNING: Though we recommend that no one give injections if untrained and unsupervised, sometimes life leaves us no choice. Most injections are given in the hind quarters. Occasionally, subcutaneous injections will be given between the shoulder blades.
Read medication inserts for directions. If the injectable is for subcutaneous [under the skin] use, simply lift the skin before injecting, and let ‘er rip. If muscular injection is required, aim for the meatiest part of the “butt/thigh” muscle, and away from joints and nerves.
Hit a nerve and the animal may lose full use of the nearest limb [walking as though the leg is "asleep"], though this is usually but a temporary phenomenon. Fail to hold tightly enough, and the needle can break, leaving the “missing piece” buried in the animal’s body – so not a good thing! Be careful, be confident, and all should go well. It ain’t brain surgery…
There are two ways to give injections. The “right way,” and our way, either of which will require two people. Going about it “the right way,” one will gently but firmly hold the patient down on a table or counter, by the scruff of the neck, and, with the scruff grasped tightly by the dominant hand, use the other to tap gently and rhythmically on the animal’s head. This distracts them, for some odd reason, as the second person quickly gives the shot.
If you don’t trust inserts, your pharmacist can tell you whether the medicine is meant to be injected into muscle tissue or simply under the skin. Should there be no “second person” readily available, ask a neighbor or friend to assist you. Catch the mailman. Drag someone home from work. We do not recommend flying solo when it comes to giving injections.
When we give injections, it’s just Bro and myself. The animal in “baby-burp position,” head over my left shoulder, the scruff is FIRMLY in my left hand, while my right arm holds the animal tightly against my body. The left side of my head is pressed against theirs.
Sometimes, if the animal is small, I’m able to tap its head with the fingers of my left hand. Otherwise, I “massage” the scruff as I’m holding it. This takes some practice! It also helps to croon softly — we call this “petting them with our mouths.” After the shot has been given, we make a huge production of distracting them with praise. Then, if they can eat it, we give them a biscuit. If they’re deathly ill, we give them a syringe or two of either whipped lamb baby food or formula mixed with crap-free yogurt.
We’re often told that “our way” is a good way to get hurt, and that’s a reasonable observation. But it’s also a more calming and “loving” way to give injections, and experience has only made us more certain that “our way” is the right way for us. Should you wish to try our method at your own risk: a good hold on the scruff, and pressing your head into the animal’s, will keep you from being bitten. Wear old clothing, as every once in a while the claws on a hind leg will create designer-punk fashions. A few scratches never killed anyone!
The sharps and medications sold at feed stores are intended for livestock, not household pets. You’ll want to use the smallest needle possible, so head for a pharmacy with the injectable you intend to use. It is extremely important that you bring the medication, as each batch is different!
After many years of experience, we still consult pharmacists re needle sizes for injectable penicillin, and often do a couple of test draws before deciding. Many injectables work perfectly with the smallest needles [meant for use with insulin]. Unfortunately, penicillin is “thick.” If you do not know how to properly dispose of sharps, please ask the pharmacist for instructions!
Two Person Method: One holds the animal in “baby position” while scratching the back of the neck or the chest, as the other opens the animal’s mouth and inserts the pill as far into the throat as possible, then closes the mouth and gently “massages” the throat for a few seconds.
Flying Solo: Much easier said than done. Not recommended. Use the syringe method. Better yet, make a friend! Grab the UPS guy, or the mail gal. Introduce yourself to a neighbor. You might be surprised by how easily help is found.
the Syringe Method: This makes giving meds a breeze, even on one’s own. Simply grind the pill into a fine powder and mix with a small spoonful of whipped-lamb baby food. The lamb is our preference as it has such a strong taste, the taste of the meds fades into the background. Dilute, ever-so-slightly, using a few drops of water, and draw as much as possible into the syringe. Should a fair bit remain in the mixing bowl, remove the syringe plunger and use a small spatula to pack the remaining glop into the syringe. Wet the rubber tip of the plunger, then gently re-insert.
If there are two people, the procedure is the same as would be used for giving pills. If there is only one person, “spoon” the animal, hold him/her tightly to the chest, work the syringe into the mouth [be sure it's pointed to the back of the throat rather than toward the other side of the mouth, or the meds will wind up on your wall], and plunge! It’s just that easy…
WARNING! There are a few drugs [ie, flagyl] which begin to foam the moment they’re “moist,” so this method will not work. Ask your vet or pharmacist whether or not a drug may be “given wet.”
TEETH & DENTAL HEALTH
Animals would do well to have their teeth “brushed” [we use gauze wrapped around our fingers, and occasionally pull out the dental works for some scaling], but unless begun during “childhood” and continued into adulthood, we never, ever, ever have an animals teeth cleaned by a vet.
There are many opinions as to why this happens, but every time we’ve had an “older” animal get a first and thorough cleaning, they’ve died within a couple of months. Usually from heart problems. Sometimes from massive infections. This isn’t all that uncommon a happening for people, either, though most vets and doctors will not tie the two together. We do.
If your pet is more than two years old and has never had a cleaning from the vet, we recommend the gauze and home-cleaning approach.
Sometimes an animal will experience dental problems for which the obvious choice is the removal of the tooth [most of the time, the tooth will clearly be halfway out]. A pad of gauze will help you get a grip on the tooth. It’s almost impossible to pull a tooth with fingers, alone. Grab the gauze, grab the tooth, pull, and you’re done. If the gums are infected, we immediately begin antibiotics. Any time there’s an infection that close to the brain, you don’t want to take chances or waste time.
Unfortunately, sometimes merde refuses to happen, and animals find this state of affairs no less “uncomfortable” than do we humans. This isn’t something one should ignore, as it can lead to much more serious medical complications.
A change in diet will usually suffice, but we highly recommend adding olive oil and pureed pumpkin to the constipated animal’s food. Fresh pumpkin may be prepared [as you would prepare any squash, then puree] in large quantities and frozen. Should pumpkins not be in season, however, the pure-pumpkin pie filler is a good substitute. Animals who are often constipated should have the olive oil and pumpkin added to every meal.
ANIMALS & ENEMAS
Although we’d had a bit of experience with animals and constipation, we never anticipated giving enemas. But then Squirrel [of Moose & Squirrel] lost the ability to take a freakin’ dump, and we had to choose between major surgery or regular enemas. We chose the latter.
We all hated the first one [those of us who had to clean up afterwards may have hated it more than those who ran around the house, making a mess], but we knew what to do for the second, and, by the third, he was askin’ for it.
The first few weeks, it was several times per week. Then it was once per week, and now it’s probably only once per month, so we’re glad we didn’t go the surgical route]. Feel free to benefit from our experience, and learn from our mistakes:
Go to a medical supply store or your local pharmacy and get the enema bulb, not the bag. You’ll also need some lube, the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, and you’re done. A towel would be wise. Do this outdoors, if possible, but only if the animal is used to being outside.
Fill the bulb with very, very warm water, add a few drops of the Dawn dishwashing liquid, attach the nozzle, then swirl the liquid in the bulb for a minute. Don’t shake it or you’ll have a suds geyser on your hands. Literally.
Place the towel on the floor or ground, and the animal on the towel, if indoors. Best done with two people. Squeeze some lubricant onto the towel and roll the nozzle in it until said nozzle is completely coated. One person holds the animal firmly against the floor or ground, the other lifts the tail, inserts the nozzle, gently but firmly, as far as it will go, then slowly squeezes the bulb, emptying its contents into the animal.
IMPORTANT TIP! Immediately upon withdrawing the nozzle, lower the animal’s tail and gently press it toward the anus. This causes them to tighten the sphincter. If you hold or allow the animal to hold its tail aloft, you will rue the day…
Make sure the animal has easy access to his/her usual dumping grounds, but hold the animal in this position for as long as possible. There will usually be some “movement” within minutes, but if the problem has persisted for some time, several enemas may be necessary, one after the other.
Honestly, Squirrel almost “likes” them, now. He knows they make him feel better, and he lets us know when an enema is needed. If and when he starts requesting enemas “for fun,” we’ll make him a fetish page.
EYE INJURIES & INFECTIONS
Eye injuries and infections are not at all uncommon, and the first thing one must remember is that eye ointments which contain cortisoids should NEVER be used if the eye itself has been damaged or scratched.
The second thing to remember is that most wounds, including those to the eye, will need air for proper healing. Patches and bandaging simply don’t work, and sewing an eye shut will ensure that sight is permanently and negatively affected. Ointment twice per day, time, and love heal many traumas.
PLACING OINTMENT IN THE EYES: Use the thumb of the non-dominant hand to gently pull or stretch the eyelid from the outer corner until the lower lid seems “straight.” Using the dominant hand, slowly squeeze the ointment onto the inner membrane of the lower eyelid rim, from inside corner to outer. Release and quickly, lightly run your thumb gently along the eyelid slit, once, so that any “extra” ointment is evenly distributed.
We keep a good stock of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and cortisoid ointments, as well as Lyme Dip, at all times, and recommend the generic brands found at your local drugstore. Ringworm is a common problem for animals, and it is highly infectious and contageous to humans, as well.
Although anti-fungals and Lyme Dip will work, they take time, and it itches and spreads like crazy. Therefore, we use a rapid but somewhat unorthodox method to treat the problem. Full-strength bleach or ammonia. DO NOT DO THIS in extreme cases of ringworm covering large areas of skin, or places easy for animals to lick!
We use this remedy, on our own skin. Gently shake a small container of bleach. Open the cap, and touch your finger to the inside of the container so that there is a bit of bleach on the tip. Dab gently on the affected area. Do this two or three times over the course of 48 hours and the problem is usually gone. Ammonia and bleach are also invaluable when treating spider bites.