Is It An Emergency?
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Evaluate the Situation
- Is the situation for you and your pet safe?
Do not put yourself in danger
- Do not walk or run into a busy street or intersection
- Do not attempt to break up a fight between two dogs that you cannot control – get help!
Evaluate your pet
- Level of Consciousness - Is the pet fully conscious, partially responsive, or non-responsive?
- Heart Rate - Does the pet have a heartbeat? Is it normal, fast, slow or irregular?
- You can check your pet's heartbeat at the point where the left elbow touches the chest when bent
- Put your hand in this area and count the number of beats in 60 seconds
- Normal Heart Rate (can vary based on breed, age and activity)- canine = 50-150 per minute, feline = 160-220 per minute
***If your pet does not have a heartbeat, begin CPR and contact us immediately
- Respiratory Rate - Is the pet breathing? Is the pet breathing normally?
- Looking at the chest, count the number of times the chest rises and falls in 60 seconds
- Normal (can vary based on temperature, age and activity)- canine = 10-12 per minute, feline = 20-30 per minute
- Open-mouth breathing in cats (similar to panting in dogs) is normally a sign of respiratory distress. Contact us for additional information
***If your pet is not breathing, begin CPR and contact us immediately
- Body Temperature
- Use of a digital or mercury thermometer is recommended
- Carefully lift the tail and visualize the anus just below where the tail meets the body
- Insert the thermometer into the rectum approximately ½ inch (just enough to cover the bulb or metal tip)
- A mercury thermometer should be read after approximately 1- 1 ½ minutes. A digital thermometer can be read as soon as it beeps
- Normal- canine and feline= 101°F to 103°F
- Mucous Membrane Color
- What does the color of the gums look like? Are they pink? Is the capillary refill time prolonged (> 2 seconds)?
- Your pet's gum color will help you determine if the oxygen level in the blood is sufficient
- Locate the mucous membranes by lifting the upper lip
- Pink indicates that enough oxygen is in the blood stream
- Gums that appear white, pale, blue, purple, or yellow are indicative that your pet is in a crisis situation-contact us immediately
***Note: Some breeds have naturally occurring black pigmentation in the gums. The inside of the lower eyelid can be observed if your pet has black pigmentation in the gums.