First Aid for Pets

bandaged face cat in a bag

 

 

 

THE EYE

Damage to the eye is very common, and unfortunately the eye is very sensitive and reacts aggressively to any injury. Complications from infections to total blindness may result. Prompt veterinary attention is always the safest course. Symptoms of eye injury are often similar no matter the cause.

FOREIGN OBJECTS IN THE EYE

Usually these are of plant material origin or grit. They can be tiny to large, such as a grass seed awl.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

  • Squinting, spasm of the eye lids.


  • Rubbing or pawing at the eye.


  • Discharge, watery to purulent (pus).


  • Redness of the eye.


  • Pin point pupil.

MANAGEMENT

  • Gently open the eye to examine it. If this is not possible seek veterinary assistance.
  • If the foreign object is loose it may be washed out.

    • Tilt the animal's head upwards.


    • Gently draw the lids apart, this may dislodge the object.


    • Wash the eye with a gentle stream of clean water or saline (salty water).
HOW TO WASH THE EYE

Salty water is made by adding 1 teaspoon of table salt to 1 pint or 2 cups of water. Boiled water is recommended. Saline used for cleaning contact lens or the Intravenous fluid Sodium Chloride are basically the same thing as salty water but are usually sterile and are excellent for wound cleaning.

BURNS TO THE EYES

Commonest cause here is chemicals splashed into the eyes, especially chemicals applied to the skin such as flea rinses.

MANAGEMENT

  • Open the eyelids gently with your fingers.


  • Tilt the head back and wash the eye with cold flowing water for 20 minutes.


  • Wash any chemicals off the head as well.


  • Prevent your pet from rubbing at the eyes. Apply an Elizabethan collar if necessary.


  • Seek veterinary advice if the eyes remain red or your pet is in any way distressed.

SMOKE IN THE EYES

  • Wash the eyes with water or saline as above.


  • Prevent your pet from rubbing at the eyes. Apply an Elizabethan collar if necessary.


  • If the eyes remain sore seek veterinary advice.

WOUNDS TO THE EYES

CAUSES

  • Cat scratches.


  • Direct blows, e.g. car accidents, bats and golf clubs or kicks especially by horses.


  • Fast moving objects, e.g. balls.


  • Running into twigs or bushes.

ADDITIONAL SYMPTOMS

  • Bloody discharge.


  • Blood in the eye or the white of the eye.

MANAGEMENT

  • Prevent your pet from rubbing at the eye.


  • Seek urgent veterinary attention.

PROLAPSED EYE

Prolapse of the eye occurs when the globe is forced outside the lids. It occurs most commonly due to head trauma such as when the animal is hit by an automobile or in dog attacks. Jaw damage and/or concussion may occur at the same time. Some breeds are predisposed to eye prolapse, e.g. Pugs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, their eyes are large and protrude between the lids. The act of scuffing these types of dogs can induce eye prolapse.

MANAGEMENT

  • Early treatment by your veterinarian improves the chance the eye may be saved.


  • If there is to be any delay in reaching your veterinarian the eye MUST be keep moist.


  • Apply a pad of cloth or swabs moistened with saline/salty water over the eye then bandage the pad in place wrapping around the jaw and, if necessary, the opposite ear to stop the bandage from slipping.
HOW TO APPLY A BANDAGE OVER THE EYE HOW TO APPLY A BANDAGE OVER THE EYE
  • An alternative to bandaging is to purchase artificial tears from the chemist and apply every hour to prevent the eye drying out.


  • An Elizabethan collar will usually be necessary to prevent self trauma to the eye.

THE NOSE

BLOOD NOSE

Usually this is caused by a blow to the nose.

MANAGEMENT

  • Try to calm your pet as this will help to reduce blood pressure and slow bleeding.


  • Tilt the head down so that the blood runs out of the nose not down the back of the throat.


  • Apply cold damp towels on the forehead and around the back of the neck.


  • Seek veterinary advice if the bleeding does not stop in 5 - 10 minutes. Continued bleeding may indicate your pet has a serious clotting problem.

THE EAR

Dogs and cats occasionally obtain foreign bodies, like grass awls or insects, in their ears and some animals (especially certain breeds of dogs) are prone to ear infections. Both dogs and cats have deep ear canals compared to humans so that veterinary examination is needed to diagnose if there is a foreign body or an infection in the canal and whether the eardrum is intact. A ruptured eardrum is far more serious and changes treatment significantly. Therefore unless your pet responds rapidly to your first aid, or if you have any doubts about your treatment, seek veterinary care for your pet.

SORE EAR

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

  • Shaking the head or pawing at the ear.


  • Holding the affected ear lower than the non-affected ear.


  • Crying or yelping when the ear is rubbed.


  • Redness in the visible ear canal.


  • Possible foreign body visible.


  • Smell or discharge from the ear.

MANAGEMENT

  • Do not attempt to probe the ear.


  • If you can see a foreign body try to gently remove it. It this is not possible seek immediate veterinary advice.


  • If the ear is dirty, or a little red, gently try to clean the ear with warm saline. Wipe the ear out with a soft cloth or cotton wool. Do not use a cleaning solution unless already advised to by a veterinarian. Cotton buds can be used to clean the skin folds at the top of the ear but never clean down the canal with them.


  • If the ear appears to be infected or if your pet is still distressed seek veterinary advice.

BLEEDING EAR FLAP

Ear tips are often damaged in dogfights or cut especially on wire fences. They are also notorious for bleeding and bleeding, and bleeding. Often the bleeding finally stops and your pet will shake its head, dislodge the clot and then it all starts again. A bandage may be needed to stop bleeding.

MANAGEMENT

  • Clean up the cut with warm salty water or an antiseptic (follow the instructions of the bottle).


  • Remove any long fur around the cut to keep it clean.
  • Apply pressure to both sides of the ear with a clean rag, swabs or sanitary napkin.


  • Fold the ear back onto the head.
HOW TO APPLY A BANDAGE TO AN EAR
  • Wrap bandage material or torn cloth over the ear, the head and both sides of the other ear. Tie or tape in place.
HOW TO APPLY A BANDAGE TO AN EAR
  • Place an Elizabethan Collar otherwise most dogs will remove your bandage promptly. The collar only needs to go past the front edge of the bandage not to the end of the nose.


  • Seek veterinary advice if the wound needs stitches, is deep, is the result of a dog bite or blood comes through your bandage. Otherwise remove the bandage the next day. If bleeding reoccurs or the wound looks infected again it will be necessary to see your veterinarian.

THE JAW

Cats, in particular, are prone to fracturing their jaw after being struck by a car. Normally the bottom jaw is affected but the upper jaw may also be fractured, your pet may be concussed or have eye injuries. Immediate veterinary care is recommended as your pet may need urgent treatment for the shock and/or concussion.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

  • Misalignment of the teeth and jaw.


  • Blood from the mouth and/or nose.


  • Drooling saliva


  • Your pet may not be able to close its mouth.


  • Breathing may be difficult due to swelling in the back of the mouth and a bloody nose.


  • Your pet may go into shock or lose consciousness.

MANAGEMENT

  • If your pet is unconscious make sure the head is lower then the body and the nose is pointed downwards. This will prevent blood from the mouth or nose entering the lungs.


  • If conscious do not attempt to support the jaw unless your pet's jaw is hanging awkwardly and distressing your pet. In our smaller pets the back of the mouth may be so swollen that the jaw needs to hang open to allow your pet to breathe.


  • Seek urgent veterinary care.

BACK NEXT

Send mail to Administrator with comments or questions about this site                Fiona Anderson 2001