Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The ABC's of Mouth to Snout Resuscitation : How to Perform CPR on a Dog

Have you ever had an emergency with your pet, and felt awful because you didn’t know what to do? With the recent lost of one of our friends dog who suddenly stopped breathing choking on a tiny object. You can imagine the sadness she must have felt in this situation. It is so easy to panic in emergency situations, especially when you don't know what to do. As loving pet owners we began to ponder the question "Are we truly prepared for moments like these?" After consoling and speaking with our friend she then took it upon herself to enroll in a Pet First Aid and CPR class.

So that another innocent pups life is lost we thought some basic CPR ( mouth to snout resuscitation and chest compressions) life saving tips should be discussed. Remember dogs and humans have different anatomy so pet specific CPR techniques are in order. Here are the ABC's of CPR courtesy of our friends at Pet Wave. Knowing how to correctly administer canine CPR can not only save your pets life but help stabilize your pets health until medical teams arrives on the scene.

Step 1: A for Airway

Gently open the dog’s mouth, pull the tongue out, and try to determine if the dog is breathing. If possible gently straighten out the dog’s head and neck, but do not extend the neck out or you can cause further injury. Look at the dog’s chest for any sign of respiration, or hold your hand to the dog’s mouth to see if you can feel any signs of breathing or respiration.

Once you are sure the dog is not breathing, perform mouth-to-snout. Hold the dog’s mouth closed, cup your hand around the dog’s nose, and try breathing two breaths directly into the dog’s snout. If the breaths go in proceed to Step 2.

If the breaths are obstructed open the dog’s mouth again, and check for any visible object that is stuck in the dog’s throat. If an object is visible press gently on the dog’s throat in an upward motion while you try to remove the object. If no object is visible, perform the canine Heimlich maneuver. Do not proceed to Step 2 until the dog’s airway has been cleared.

Step 2. B for Breathing

If the breaths in Step 1 go into the dog’s lungs, continue the mouth-to-snout procedure. The ideal number of breaths is one breath for every 3 seconds with an average of 20 breaths per minute. If you are performing CPR on a large dog use your full lung capacity for the breath. If you are performing CPR on a small dog use shorter breaths.

During this process, make sure that your hand is snug around the dog’s nose and your mouth and try to blow the air directly into the dog’s mouth. Always keep the dogs mouth closed with your other hand. Never force air into the dog’s nose. Instead, breathe into the dog’s nose at a rate of time, and pressure, that you would normally exhale

Step 3. C for Circulation

Once the A and B’s have been established, check the dog’s femoral artery for a pulse, or lay your hand on the upper left side of the dog’s chest to see if you can feel a heartbeat. If no heartbeat or pulse is present begin chest compressions.

First lay the dog on its right side, and then locate the middle of the dog’s chest which is approximately where the left elbow touches the ribcage. This location is where the compressions should take place.

For small dogs 16 pounds or less, the thumb and forefinger can be used to compress both sides of the chest. For larger dogs, use a palm over hand method for compressions. The chest should be compressed about 1.5 inches down on each compression.

The speed of compressions and breathing is important for the CPR to work properly. Compressions should be done at a rate of 3 compressions every 2 seconds. After 15 quick compressions two breaths should be performed.

If no abdominal injury is possible, another person can gently press on the dog’s abdomen as the chest compression is released. This extra CPR, step known as interposed abdominal compression, can help return blood flow to the heart.

Repeat the CPR as necessary and periodically check for any signs of breathing or pulse from the dog. Only stop compressions when you feel a pulse or heartbeat, and do not stop breaths until the dog starts breathing on its own. If possible it is best to have someone continue the CPR in a vehicle while the dog is being transported to an emergency veterinarian clinic.

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