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CV22 7EQ

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FIRST AID

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  Basic First Aid Advice

  First Aid Kit Preparations

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  Basic First Aid Tips

 

If your pet gets injured or into mischief then there are some basic things that you can do to help.  If you are in any doubt at to what to do, then you must seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.  Before administering any first aid, make sure:

  • Make sure you have your vets contact details to hand or on your phone at all times.
  • Make sure that you are in a safe position to help and you do not risk injuring yourself.
  • If the animal is near water or electricity then you need to safely move them out of the way.
  • Be aware that injured animals are often FRIGHTENED and UNPREDICTABLE and can cause serious injury.
    • DOGS - improvise a muzzle using a lead, belt or clothing around the mouth/muzzle and done up tightly.  If these are not to hand, then just wrapping the head with a jumper or towel can help prevent biting injuries.
    • CATS - wrapping the cat in a blanket or towel or even putting into a bag can help.  You are very unlikely to cause further injury with this method. If you can, then a pair of gardening gloves can reduce biting/scratching injuries.
    • Wearing a long sleeve coat, or even just pulling your sleeves down can prevent scratching and biting injuries to the forearms.
    • Never put your face near an injured animals mouth or claws.
    • Try and restrain the injured animal during transport.  Small dog and cats are best in a cage/box.
  • Try to have a basic first aid kit at home/ in the car as this can make a big difference. (See below)

 

  What needs to be in a First Aid Kit?

 

You can buy a number of good proprietary kits, or you can easily make up your own.  We are able to supply items if you require.  A good basic first aid kit should contain:

The Bilton Vets' guide to making your own first aid kit.

Suggested:

  1. A few sizes of absorptive contact dressings
  2. A roll of top supporting bandage such as VetWrap
  3. A roll of cotton wool padding dressing material such as SoffBan.
  4. A few rolls of open weave conforming bandage.
  5. Microporous Tape or thin Elastoplast Tape
  6. Tick Hooks
  7. A wad of Gauze Swabs
  8. Scissors (curved ideally)
  9. Several Pairs of Gloves
  10. Saline Pods or flushing/irrigating

 

Optional:

  • Tweezers
  • Plastic Bag(s)
  • Clingfilm
  • Buster Collar
  • Syringes for flushing

  Specific Situations/Conditions

Ticks

Urgency

Difficulty 

 

You are likely to only find a tick on your pet once it has fed and become large enough to see.  They can be quite irritating and sometimes your pet will alert you to it being there by licking or bothering at an area of skin.  Ticks can spread disease and removing a tick incorrectly can increase the chance of disease transfer or can end up leaving the tick’s mouthparts behind that can be problematic.

 

To remove a tick, ideally use a “Tick-Hook” or a pair of fine tweezers to gently unscrew the tick (anticlockwise).  Do not grip too tightly.  Alternatively smothering the tick with Vaseline will eventually suffocate it and cause it to drop off. NEVER JUST PULL A TICK OUT.

 

Afterwards it is common for a sore scabby area to appear and if this gets to inflamed or angry, then a trip to the vet may be required.  It can be a good idea to keep and freeze the tick so it can be tested in the event of your petting becoming ill later on down the line.

 

Torn/Broken Nails

Urgency

Difficulty  

 

A common injury found predominantly in dogs.  Injuries can range from ripping the nail off entirely, to leaving it attached but loose, or just split and painful.  Damaged nails have the tendency to bleed quite a lot and it can be painful.

 

If the nail appears very loose then you can just pull it off with a confident “twist-and-pull” approach.  You generally only get one go so if you are going to attempt this – then do it like you mean it!  If you are in any doubt, then leave it until you can seek veterinary attention.  Putting a light dressing over the nail will stop the bleeding and also prevent your pet licking at the area.

 

Burns/Scalds

Urgency - 

Difficulty 

 

Make sure you are out of danger yourself.  Immediately apply cold water over the affected areas for a minimum of 5 minutes. Do NOT try and put any cream directly onto the burned area.  If in a location that is appropriate, covering the area with cling-film or a plastic bag can help.  Once you have done this then we suggest you contact your vet for further advice or to get an emergency appointment.

 

Eye Injuries

Urgency 

Difficulty 

 

Eye injuries can range with their severity.  Any known acute physical trauma to the eyes (this includes penetrating injuries (such as thorns), blunt trauma (typically hit in the eye a toy/ball) or any other sudden episode where the eye appears painful) should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible  as severe problems won't necessarily be immediately apparent.

 

If the eye has prolapsed (more common in brachycephalic animals or post trauma), then you can put a damp, cold lint free dressing or cloth over this prolapsed eye and get attention urgently.

 

If a chemical, irritant or non-pentrating foreign body (such as dust etc) has got into the eye - then gentle flushing with either saline or tap water can help.

 

If there is a foreign body in the eye (such as a thorn or grass seed) do NOT try and remove it and seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

 

Bleeding Wounds/Lacerations

Urgency - 

Difficulty  

 

If there is a wound that is bleeding, then using a clean, lint free cloth or dressing , apply direct pressure over the area.  Try not to be tempted to keep removing the pressure to see if the bleeding has stopped as usually quite a long time is required for a good clot to form.  If the wound is on an extremity that you can apply a firm (but not tight) bandage over the area to hold the dressing/cloth in place whist you seek attention.  Ear injuries tend to bleed a lot and animals tend to flick their heads around making it very difficult to control.  Never leave a dressing on for more than 12 hours without seeking attention and never EVER leave a tight bandage on for more than 10 minutes.

 

Cut Feet/Pads

Urgency  - 

Difficulty  

 

Lacerations to the feet can often provide a challenge as they often will bleed a lot and you can't easily stop the dog/cat from walking in the foot which doesn't help.  Initially apply firm pressure the bleeding area for 5-10 minutes.  After this point try to put something like a wad of gauze swabs, dampened cotton wool or cloth against the wound and then wrap the whole foot firmly (but NOT tightly) in a conforming bandage.  It can be helpful to then put the foot in a bag whilst you bring your pet to the vets.

 

Choking

Urgency 

Difficulty  

 

Often caused by a toy/ball stuck in the back of the throat.   If your pet can breathe around the obstruction then leave it alone and get him/her to the vet ASAP. Make every effort to keep your pet cool and calm.

 

If your pet cannot breathe and is collapsed/unconscious/turning blue you do not have time to seek help and  this is a situation where the delay getting to the vet can make the difference between life and death.  If you pet is unconscious then you can try prising the jaw open and removing the obstruction from the throat.  If this is not possible then as quickly as possible, lie your pet on their side, ideally get someone to hold the mouth as wide open as possible, and then push down on their tummy, suddenly and firmly just behind the last rib.

 

If your pet doesn’t start breathing, then close the mouth and hold it firmly shut, whilst sealing your lips around the nostrils and do several long and slow exhalations.  If there is not a response after this then the prognosis is poor, but get the pet to a vet ASAP.

 

Broken Bones

Urgency 

Difficulty 

 

If your pet has broken a bone then do not try and put a bandage or splint on them as this can cause further pain and can cause the damaged end of the bone to perforate the skin.  Try and keep the animal confined (so a cage/box is appropriate for cats/small dogs) . Bigger dogs can be lifted on a blanket or board.  Contact the vet as soon as possible.

 

Coat contamination

Urgency 

Difficulty 

 

If you pet ends up with something on the coat then immediately place a Buster Collar if possible to prevent licking.  Small areas can usually be dealt with by clipping the fur away with scissors.  If you need to wash the coat, then using Baby Shampoo is normally appropriate.  For oily or greasy contamination then using washing-up liquid or Swarfega™ can help.  If you have any doubt as to what the substance is or you can’t remove it (or you pet won’t let you removing it!) then contact us.

 

Poisoning

Urgency - 

Difficulty 

 

If you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous then seek advice as soon as possible.  We suggest bringing any packaging to us and try to get to us within an hour of ingestion as this is the window that we can make pets sick if this is the appropriate course of action.   If your pet has eaten a plant then try to identify it if at all possible.  If you think your pet has eaten an illegal substance, then it is important that you tell us as soon as possible as this aids treatment.  Do not try and make your pet sick yourself – it won’t work and you will get hurt.  We have drugs that are very safe and effective.

 

Heatstroke

Urgency 

Difficulty 

 

This is commonly seen every year. It is actually usually caused by excessive exercise in warm/hot weather but can be seen in animals that have been in cars, conservatories etc.  It is much more common in brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boxers.

 

First step is to get your pet somewhere cool and lie wet towels over areas with a good blood supply such as the ears, feet, groin as well as the chest/abdomen.  Make sure your pet can pant and breathe easily.  Offer water little and often and if the symptoms are severe then get to a vet as soon as possible.  This condition can generally be avoided by using common sense.

 

Dog Fights

Urgency 

Difficulty 

 

Be very careful with a dog fight that you don’t get bitten yourself.  If you pet has been in a fight, then check the animal all over for signs of injury.  Bites can be hard to see in animals due to the fur, so a good tip is to run a piece of kitchen towel again the direction of the fur all over and checking regularly for signs of blood.  If you find a puncture wound then flushing with cold water can help but we suggest you seek attention within 24hrs, as most bites will require antibiotics.  Puncture wounds can be deceptive as most the damage is hidden under the skin (tip of the iceberg). Unless bleeding heavily, do not cover/bandage dog bites.

 

Bee/Wasp Stings

Urgency

Difficulty 

 

If you can see the sting then you can  remove it without squeezing the sting-sac.  Applying old-fashioned remedies such as vinegar etc are unlikely to be effective.  You can treat stings with Piriton 4mg (Chlorphenamine) tablets.  Little dogs get 1 tablet, anything bigger than 10kg can have 2 tablets.  This can be repeated up to every 8hrs.    If the sting is in the mouth or your pet has difficulty breathing or their face is swelling up, then contact your vet for further advice.

 

Fits

Urgency - 

Difficulty 

 

If you pet has a seizure then don’t panic as most time they will come out of it on their own.  You need to several things:

• Look at your watch and note the time

• Make sure they are somewhere they won’t hurt themselves.

• Try to keep the area QUIET, CALM and DARK

• Do not try and stimulate them – so avoid calling them and don’t stroke them or shake them – it will often make the seizure last for longer.

• Do NOT try and put your hand in their mouth. They are very unlikely to swallow their tongue and you can be very badly bitten.

 

Once they are round from the fit then keep them quiet and rested for at least 24 hours.  You will need to contact the vet if

1. This is the first seizure they have had

2. They were unwell before the seizure happened.

3. The seizures are coming in “clusters”

4. The seizure has lasted for longer than a couple of minutes

5. The pet isn’t coming out of the seizure at all

 

Road Traffic Accidents

Urgency - 

Difficulty    - 

 

RTA's can range in severity from very mild to fatal. You will generally be able to tell quite quickly how severely injured your pet is.  It is worth getting even small RTA events checked by a vet as internal injuries can be hard to detect.  Try to stay calm and  if possible do the following:

  • Try to move them as little possible and without flexing the spine or putting pressure on the abdomen or chest.
    • CATS - holding them under the shoulders and pelvis try to lift in a single movement into a box or basket.  Be aware that they could scratch or bite.
    • DOGS - small dogs can be lifted like cats. Large animals may need two people (one on shoulders and one on pelvis).  If available sliding them onto a board or blanket on the ground can help and then use this to lift them into a car or move them.
  • Dogs particularly can be very frightened after an RTA and so it is worth while putting either a muzzle on them  or a blanket over their head before you try and move them.

 

 

Cat Bite Abscesses

Urgency

Difficulty 

 

Abscesses are common in cats that have been fighting.  Usually they are not urgent but they can be painful and the cat  can feel quite unwell.  Usually the first signs is a swollen and painful area often on the head, cheek, rump or tail.  They also commonly get bitten on their feet so a lameness can also be apparent.  If you suspect your cat has been bitten then we suggest coming to see us.

 

However, often people first spot that something is wrong when the abscess has burst.  Cat bite abscesses often SMELL really bad and the pus can be creamy/green in colour and may have quit e a bit of blood mixed in. A good clue that the origin was a bite!  Although this looks horrible, it is actually a good thing!  It is worth while doing the following until you can seek attention:

  • Carefully squeeze the surrounding area and clean away as much pus as possible.
  • Try to trim and hair away from the edges of the hole to prevent it getting matted up.
  • If it scabs over then keep picking away at the scab to keep the hole open and draining.
  • Do not try and cover the area with any dressing or creams etc.

 

Usually with good management and antibiotics, these heal really nicely.

 

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259 Bilton Road, Rugby

Warwickshire, CV22 7EQ

 

01788 812650

01788 522439

 Copyright © 2011-2017 Bilton Veterinary Centre.

Company Reg No 05143483

Call Us

01788 812650

Find Us

259 Bilton Road, Rugby, CV22 7EQ

24hr Emergency Service

For Registered Clients

The Bilton Vets' guide to making your own first aid kit.