CANINE OR FELINE CARDIAC ARREST
You find your pet lying on their side not moving or breathing. Your pet suddenly drops to the ground after running.
This is every pet owner’s worse nightmare, but fortunately it seldom happens. Most dogs and cats which suffer heart attacks have an underlying heart problem. This can happen with a sudden blow to the chest, hyperthermia, hypothermia, drowning, car accidents and some poisons.
CALL YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY. CPR usually isn’t very successful without veterinary care.
CHECK RESPONSIVENESS. Often a pulse is hard to obtain, so check to see if your pet responds to external stimuli.
NO HEARTBEAT. BEGIN CPR.
1. Assess responsiveness
2. Establish a patent airway
3. Perform rescue breathing
4. Cardiac massage - establishing circulation
The first step is making sure that your pet is truly unresponsive.
1. CHECK his breathing by placing your hand in front of his mouth and nose.
2. CHECK for his heartbeat by placing your ear against the left side of his chest. This is the area where his left elbow touches his chest, immediately behind his left armpit.
FIND A PULSE.
Put your ear on the left side of your pet’s chest directly behind their armpit and listen for the heart. You can also feel for a pulse, although this is often difficult to do in a healthy dog or cat. Press your fingers into the inside of the back leg ( the thigh and groin) to palpate the femoral artery.
Check the palpebral (relating to the eyelids) reflex by touching the inside corner of his eyelid. He should then blink.
Check the menace (threatening) reflex by quickly moving your hand towards his eye- it should cause a blink.
Pinch the toes, or the webbing between the toes. He should pull his foot back or at least twitch or move his eyes in response to the pinch.
NO RESPONSE, BUT BREATHING. No response likely means that he is unconscious. If you can see breathing, then he is likely in shock. Wrap him in a warm blanket, Put a few drops of honey on his gums, and give BACH RESCUE REMEDY every few minutes, while you get to the Vet or emergency clinic ASAP.
The second step in CPR is obtaining an open airway.
1. PULL the tongue out of your pet’s mouth, but be careful to not get bitten. If you can't get a good hold on the tongue use a piece of gauze or paper towel.
2. STRAIGHTEN the neck by moving the head to be in line with the neck.
DO NOT HYPEREXTEND (forcefully stretch out, beyond its normal limits) IN CASES OF NECK TRAUMA.
3. PERFORM two rescue breaths, by closing the mouth and performing mouth to nose ventilations. IF they continue, then proceed to STEP 3, BREATHING (below). If there are no breaths, then look into the mouth.
4. VISIBLY inspect the mouth and look down the throat for a foreign body. If you see something, reach into the airway and remove it.
5. IF the airway is still not open, attempt THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER (shown in following steps).
6. TURN your pet upside down, with back against your chest.
7. WITH both arms, give sharp thrusts to the abdomen.
8. AFTER 5 thrusts, stop and check to see if the object is visible in the airway. If so remove it and give 2 mouth-to-nose rescue breaths. If the breaths do not go in, repeat the HEIMLICH MANEUVER.
After achieving a patent airway, perform RESCUE BREATHING.
1. CLOSE your pet’s mouth and breathe directly into his nose until his chest expands. If the chest doesn’t expand then go back to STEP 2 – AIRWAY.
2. VENTILATE at 15 breaths per minute. One BREATH every 4 seconds.
3. PROCEED to STEP 4 – CIRCULATION
1. ENSURE there are no major points of bleeding. Control as necessary.
2. GENTLY lay your pet on his right side.
3. LOCATE the heart, which is found on the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand below the heart to support the chest; place the other hand over the heart.
4. COMPRESS the chest 5 times followed by 1 rescue breaths. The goal is to give 80 to 100 compressions and 15 to 20 breaths per minute. Compress the chest 1⁄2 inch for small pets and 1 1⁄2 inches for large pets.
5. EVERY 5 times follow up with 1 rescue breath.
You will have to exert a lot of force with large dogs, but don’t worry about breaking ribs, ribs heal.
After every minute, stop and check for a pulse or breathing.
Continue heart massage compressions and the rescue breathing until you hear a heart beat and feel regular breathing. ONCE your pet is breathing and his heart is beating, CALL your veterinarian immediately!
ACUPUNCTURE (Resuscitation Point)
There is an acupuncture point that will stimulate breathing and help revive an animal from unconsciousness or apparent death. Stick a pin in the middle of the slit of your pet’s upper lip below the nose (midway between the nose and upper lip). If you don’t have a pin, use a knitting needle, the tip of a non-retracted ball point pen, a chopstick or the tip of your fingernail, etc.
After any pet has had a heart attack, the most important thing in preventing it is determining why. Your Veterinarian can ultrasound and X-ray the heart to see if underlying heart disease was the problem.
Will you ever need to know CPR?
But what if you did?
Do You know what to do?
Practice CPR on your pet BEFORE you need it.
For more information on home treatments using herbs, homeopathy, flower remedies and acupressure for dogs, cats, horses, birds, pet rats and backyard chickens visit, Pet Remedy Charts.