Friday, April 18, 2014
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Wildfires and Pet Safety

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Sleuth, VNN Reporter Dog

Sleuth just heard that more than 100,000 wildfires occur each year and damage more than 4 million acres of land.  Sadly, pets and people die in these disasters as well.  Sleuth asked the Veterinary News Network to find ways people can help pets injured in these events.

1)    Like dealing with any disaster, itís best to be prepared for an evacuation or emergency due to a fire long before you need to be.  Having an evacuation plan as well as a human and pet evacuation kit is essential.

2)    Unfortunately, even with plans in place, sometimes we are just caught unaware and our pets might be burned, injured or even suffering from smoke inhalation.

3)    For any injury, itís important to remember that your pet may be scared and painful.  Before doing any kind of first aid, consider using a muzzle to keep everyone safe.

4)    For first or second degree burns, try to submerge the affected area in cool water.   Do NOT use ice cold water, butter, creams or other folk remedies.  Wrap the area lightly in sterile gauze and seek veterinary care.

5)    Third degree burns often lead to shock.  Keep your petís head level with the rest of the body, lightly cover the burned area and get to a veterinarian as fast as is safely possible.

6)    Animals that have a hoarse cough, reddened eyes, difficulty breathing or even a increased respiratory rate may suffer from smoke inhalation.  Veterinary treatment and oxygen is important for these pets.

7)    Injuries and cuts due to debris are another common sight after fires.  Try applying pressure for 3 minutes to form a stable clot.  If active bleeding continues, you need to get the pet to a veterinarian.

8)    If a serious wound is on a leg, a tourniquet can be applied between the wound and the body. 

9)    Always have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian even if he or she seems to act ok after your first aid treatments.  Not all pets will show discomfort in relation to their actual injury.

10)    Trust a site like MyVNN.com to provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.