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