It's a splendid fall night. You have just returned home from your Friday evening dinner engagement. Your 12-year-old poodle, Toto, greets you at the door and the first thing you do is open the back door to let him out in the yard.         

Ten minutes go by and Toto is not back yet. You wonder what is going on. Toto is usually back in a couple of minutes. You reach for a flashlight and go out to look for him. The night is quiet, except for the autumn cricket serenade. There is no sign of Toto.

Your heart skips a beat as you stumble over Toto's lifeless body. You pick him up and rush into the house. Now what should you do? Toto is unconscious and unresponsive. You feel no breathing and only a faint heartbeat. You must act immediately!

This is a "nightmare" scenario no pet owner should take lightly, yet it is something for which we should all be prepared. Respiratory and cardiac arrests are serious problems which, unfortunately, are all too common.

Do you remember your ABC's? That's all you have to recall when it comes to being prepared for and acting upon a pet owner's nightmare come true:

1.      "A" is for Airways. Make sure the nostrils, the mouth and the throat are clear and remove any obstruction such as dirt, blood, mucus and foam.

2.       "B" is for Breathing. Close the mouth, make sure the neck is straight and breathe into the nostrils. Watch for chest expansion to verify your effectiveness. Repeat this mouth to nose resuscitation every few seconds.

3.       "C" is for Compression. Place the pet on his side and apply rhythmic gentle chest compression with your hands as fast as you can. Alternate breathing resuscitation and chest compression until your pet's breathing and heart start functioning on their own.

At this point, rush your stricken pet to the emergency clinic. The veterinarian will continue with intensive care and diagnosis to overcome the crisis. If you have a friend or a family member who can drive, this will enable you to perform CPR in the car on your way to the clinic location.

Your pet's recovery depends on the cause of the arrest and on any damage to vital body parts. Causes are numerous and range from severe trauma or drowning to heart disease and major organ failure. Good preventative care will minimize the chances of such unpleasant surprises.

Copyright © 2004 - 2013
Yuval Nir
Naperville University Commons Animal Clinic-
1827 Wehrli rd
Naperville , IL , 60565
(630) 544-3333
Veterinarians, Animal hospital