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What to do when your cat or dog is injured or ill before visiting the vet.

spotty dog



Whenever a cat or dog is injured it should be taken to the vets as
quickly as possible, however, there are some things which can be done to ease the distress
and pain first.


Anti-freeze Poisoning

Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL)
has issued a warning on the danger anti-freeze poses to animals. Ethylene
glycol, the active ingredient in most types of anti-freeze, has a sweet
taste which attracts animals. Ingesting only small amounts can cause a slow,
painful death.


Objects such as fish hooks can become embedded in an animals skin.  
Cut the hook free from any fishing line, however, leave enough line attached to ensure the
hook is visible (especially if covered by fur).  If the hook cannot be easily freed,
gently ease it through until the barb is exposed.  Cut off the barb with wire cutters
or pliers, then ease the shank back and out through the original incision.  Clean
and dress the wound and take the animal to the vets immediately.

If the hook has entered the eyes, mouth or ears DO NOT attempt removal.
  Take the animal to the vets immediately as an anaesthetic may be required.


First find the wound, then using small scissors cut
away the fur and clean with warm water containing a little antiseptic.  If possible,
cover the wound with a pad of clean cloth e.g. a folded handkerchief and bandage it to
hold pad in place.  These wounds should be seen by a vet as soon as possible and they
can turn septic.

With cats the first sign of a bite may be an abscess
or swelling and it may become listless and off its food. Bathe the swelling with warm
water and mild disinfectant and take it to the vets immediately.


Locate the source of the bleeding, cover with a pad
of clean cloth and bandage and visit the vet immediately.


If an animal’s limb is at an awkward angle it may
well be broken.  Gently ease the leg into a comfortable, more normal, position and,
using a piece of wood roughly the same shape as the limb as a splint, bandage gently but
firmly to support the broken bone.  Visit the vet immediately being as gentle as


Immediately remove any collar. Hold its mouth open
and try to remove the offending object.  Place an object such as a spoon across the
corners of the animal’s mouth to prevent the animal’s jaw closing.  If the dog has
swallowed a ball, try to get your fingers behind it and hook out.

Even if this action has been successful, do not let
the dog eat or drink, keep it warm and visit the vet as the throat could have been damaged
and need professional attention.


Never leave an animal in a car on a hot day.

If a dog does get overheated, take it to a cool
place immediately and, using sponges, towels or any other available material, soak it in
cold water.  Wrap cold, wet towels around its head and body.  If possible give
it ice cubes to suck.  Take it to the vets immediately.


There can be several reasons for an animal limping.
  Examine the affected leg from the paw upwards for swelling, heat and obvious pain.
  Look for cuts, grit, thorns or splinters, especially in the pad.

Remove any foreign bodies that will come out easily
but go very gently to ensure nothing is behind.  Clean any cuts in cold water.  
Do not attempt to remove glass or anything which is firmly embedded as slivers may be left
behind, the animal should be taken straight to the vet.

If the leg is swollen bathe in hot water and mild
disinfectant and go to the vet.

If there is signs of a septic wound apply a hot
poultice made from hot kaolin paste (available from chemists) on a bandage.  This
will reduce the inflammation until it can be seen by a vet.


If your pet shows any of the following symptoms it is a possibility it could have been
poisoned.  This can be as a result of eating a poisonous plant, pills, solvents etc:-


Lack of co-ordination, convulsions, coma, shivering, tremors, drooling, panting,
vomiting, diarrhoea or burns to the mouth.


  • If your pet is in a coma take it to the vets immediately.


  • Try to find out what your pet has swallowed.  If a toxic substance such has
    solvent, the container’s label may give an antidote. If you think it was a corrosive
    poison such as acid or caustic soda, wash its mouth out with milk or water by holding the
    animal’s mouth open and pouring in the liquid.


  • Call a veterinary or veterinary hospital  immediately.


  • As long as your pet is not convulsing or unconscious, let it drink as much water as it
    wants, this will dilute the poison.


  • Take any remaining toxic substance and/or packaging with you to the vet.  If you
    are not sure what it has swallowed taking any suspected items.


  • If you pet has been sick, take a sample with you.


If an animal is stung by a wasp or bee it is usually around the mouth area.  If
the sting is on the skin rub in an antihistamine ensuring the cream is kept away from the
eyes and mouth.  However, if the sting is inside the mouth the animal should be seen
by a vet immediately.

The following was kindly sent into us by “Linda” –

“My cat just had a tumor removed and kept scratching at it.
  He pulled the incision open and I had to take him back to the Dr. before I could
get there I started giving him an antihistimine to calm him down and to stop the itching.
  The Dr. said it was a great thing to do since he needed to be still”. 



I am a trainee vet nurse and would like you to share
some information on fleas and worms in cats and dogs.

Most of the flea and worming treatment that you can
buy from pet shops don’t work because they are old remedies to which fleas
and worms have become immune.

To deal with worms go to your vet and ask for
worming tablets e.g. Drontal Panacur

If your animals are in contact with small children
or catch wildlife they need worming every 3 months other wise every 6
months larvae from the worms can cause blindness to
children if ingested.


For fleas ask for Frontline or Advocate;  
the flea collars you can buy from pet shops don’t work, The fleas bite the
skin the products above are spot on treatments that are absorbed all over
the skin and work within 24 hrs.  Once treated, vacuum every room the
pet goes in particular edges near skirting board then wash pets bedding
and any other bedding pet comes into contact with.

Just wanted to help lots of
people come to our practise after spending lots of money for treatment
from pet shops saying that its not working:  only vets are allowed to
sell strong enough treatments that work.

Kaye Griffiths