|Is it an Emergency?
Evaluate the Situation
- Is the situation 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 the 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 the 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
- Normals (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 the pet is not breathing, begin rescue breathing 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
- Normals- canine & 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.
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