CPR and other life saving procedures.



CPR and artificial respiration are procedures that could save your pets life in an emergency situation. Unfortunately some pets don't really lend themselves to these procedures because of their physical size (e.g. hamsters, mice), while others, such as birds, also have a different anatomical respiratory structure making it very difficult to apply these procedures effectively.

CPR and/or artificial respiration are applied when the pet is unconscious.When faced with this situation there are a few steps you need to follow to determine which procedure needs to be implemented.

1) Determine whether the animal is breathing. Look for normal breathing movements of the chest listen carefully with your ear close to the animals mouth or place a small mirror close to the mouth and nostrils and see if it fogs up.Then
a) If it is breathing, pull the tongue out to one side of the mouth and clear the airway. The more regular the breathing, the better.
b) If there is no sign of breathing then

2) Feel for a pulse. The best way to do this is to feel for pulsing of the femoral artery which is located about midway along the inside of the thigh high up the leg (groin area).

3) If there is a pulse, start artificial respiration and continue to monitor the pulse.

4) If there is no pulse, start CPR.

Artificial Respiration

Place the pet on its right hand side. Open the mouth and make sure there is an open airway. If there is any obstruction to the normal flow of air, such as dirt or phlegm, remove taking care not to block the airway further in the process. Pull the tongue forward, close the mouth, place your mouth over the animals nose and blow into the nostrils. Check to see if the chest expands as you blow.Remove your mouth to allow the air to exit the lungs. In smaller animals it is better not to seal the lips with your hands when blowing into the nostrils so that excess air can escape through the lips. In larger dogs you may well need to seal the lips when you blow in order to get sufficient air into the lungs

Perform 20 to 30 artificial breaths per minute until the animal starts breathing on its own. Constantly monitor the pulse. If the pulse stops, start CPR immediately.

CPR

While one person can adequately undertake artificial respiration, it is better if 2 people are involved in CPR - one to do the breathing and one to do the heart massage.

Continue with the artificial respiration.Then place your fingers and thumb on either side of the sternum behind the elbows.In larger animals, place one hand either side of the sternum. Compress the chest firmly about 100 times every minute. Continue to administer artificial respiration every 3 to 5 compressions (you can see why it is better to have 2 people!)

Stop every 90 seconds or so to check for a pulse and normal breathing. Continue until the animal breathes on its own and has a regular pulse. However, if neither is evident after 15 minutes of CPR then the likelihood of the animal surviving is virtually nil.

Because you have to guess at how much air you can safely force into the animal and how hard you can compress the thorax, both CPR and artificial respiration can cause additional injury to the animal. For this reason it is also not advisable to try to practice these techniques on a normal healthy animal.

Most pet owners find themselves ill prepared to administer CPR or artificial respiration. The best advice is try not to panic, take into account the physical size of the animal when applying the procedures, and carry them out calmly and methodically.

As soon as you have regular breathing and a steady pulse, then get the animal to your vet as soon as possible for a check up and further treatment.


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