Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Are you prepared for a pet health emergency?

According to an emergency is “a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action”.   If you have ever been in an emergency - especially involving your pet - you quickly learn the more prepared you are, the better equipped you will be in handling the situation.

Imagine coming home to, “Mom I’ve been trying to call you,  Winston (my black lab) just ate a whole bottle of Lucy’s (my other dog’s) pain medication....”  Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened this week.  So based on my recent experience with Winston and information from the experts, here are some tips designed to make you even more prepared if ever faced with a pet health emergency.  

  • Keep the name and phone numbers of your regular veterinarian and 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital (including directions) in a location that is easily accessible -  some suggestions are to have all the information posted on the refrigerator, programmed in your car’s GPS and into your smartphone.  
  • Listed below are three 24/7 emergency veterinary hospitals located in the Sherman/New Fairfield area.  
    • Newtown Veterinary Specialists
      • 52 Church Hill Rd
      • Newtown, CT 06470
      • Phone:  203.790.6383
    • Veterinary Specialty Center of the Hudson Valley (did a great job with Mr. Winston)
      • 1285 U.S. Route 9
      • Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
      • Phone: 845.632.3200
    • Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center
      • 546 N. Bedford Road (Route 117)
      • Bedford Hills, NY
      • Phone:  914.241.7700
  • Have the number of a 24/7 Poison Control Center readily available in your home (there will be a fee charged for this service).  
    • Pet Poison Helpline 800-213-6680
    • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center   1.888.426.4435
  • If you are transporting your pet to the veterinarian with an emergency always alert the staff that you in route.  This way the medical team will be ready to take action the moment you enter their facility.  When Winston and I arrived at New Fairfield Animal Hospital the staff was waiting, had all the proper medications ready and began treating him right away.  We saved valuable minutes, which are critical when facing a life or death situation.

Prepare a pet first aid kit:  Having a few items in a handy place is a great idea for dealing with a pet health emergency.  According to Mary Oquendo, Master Pet Tech First Aid Instructor, the items listed below should be part of every standard first aid kit.  

  • Non-stick gauze pads

  • Gauze rolls
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors with blunt ends
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blanket (foil emergency blanket) for warmth or to assist with transport
  • Sealed sterile saline solution – once the bottle is opened it is no longer sterile.
  • Plastic cards such as old library or used gift cards – they are the perfect size to cushion pad injuries. You can also use them to flick out bee stingers. Place the card under the stinger and lift up and out.
  • Chemical cold packs or instant cold gel packs
  • Large Syringe (no needle) for flushing wounds or administering medicine. Handy hint:  A squirt bottle or turkey baster can be used in place of a syringe
  • Current medical information about your dog - including proof of rabies vaccination, current blood work, medications and any medical issues your dog may be experiencing.    
In Mary’s on-demand webinar, Making and Using A Pet First Aid Kit,  you will learn how to put together a more comprehensive first aid kit and how to use the contents stored inside.  For more information go to

Bottom Line: Cindy Smith, staff manager at New Fairfield Animal Hospital sums it up:  When facing a health emergency with your pet, it’s important to get to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.  Do not waste time trying to diagnose your pet’s condition by going on-line, call your vet and describe the situation.  In a true emergency the difference between the life or death of your pet could be a matter of minutes.  Finally, If you ever have to transport your sick or injured pet to a veterinary hospital, make sure the staff is aware that you are on your way - just as in Winston’s case - the team can be waiting and have everything ready to begin treatment the moment you arrive.  

As for Mr. Winston his 48 hour blood test just came back normal and we are hoping that his  second set of results will deliver the same news.  

Donna Gleason - TLC Dog Trainer resides in Sherman, CT.  She is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with a Masters in Behavior Modification.  She offers professional in-home dog training (specializing in puppy education, basic obedience and behavior modification) as well as group puppy/basic obedience classes at New Fairfield Animal Hospital.  Donna is a member of APDT, Delta Society, Shelter Animal Reiki Association, Delta Society and consulting trainer for Paw-Safe Animal Rescue.  To reach Donna call 203.241.4449 or visit her website @

No comments:

Post a Comment