Pet First Aid Seminar
By Linda Martin
When our pet is hurt or sick we naturally want to help. Sometimes veterinary attention is obviously needed and at other times we wonder if we should consider the situation an emergency and transport our pet to a doctor out of town, or take care of the situation at home. Itís a long drive to Fort Jones, Yreka or Cave Junction from here in Happy Camp. For the last year there's been a mobile vet clinic based in Seiad Valley. This has helped us tremendously in getting needed care for our pets.
Dr. Eugene M. Kravis, DVM, has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1958. He owned a pet hospital for twelve years starting in the sixties. In the seventies he started a mobile pet treatment service which is perfect for serving the kinds of rural, remote communities we have here in the Klamath River Valley.
Recently he's started a new service - Pet First Aid Seminars. The first was held on May 21, 2005 in the Happy Camp High School gym. A small group of participants attended, a mere fraction of the pet owners in this area who could benefit from this kind of vital pet first aid information. The event was sponsored by the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. JavaBobs Bigfoot Deli provided coffee, cookies and donuts for refreshments.
The seminar started with a comprehensive video on pet first-aid. Afterwards Dr. Kravis gave an informative lecture that focused on the ways we Happy Campers can proceed when a pet emergency occurs.
He said, "Make sure you have a viable target and know where you're going." In other words, one of the most important things to remember is to have a pre-arranged destination before leaving the scene of the pet's accident or illness. Call ahead and find out where the nearest accessible veterinarian will be at the time of arrival. Many vets are not available all hours and since they have to get 18 hours of continuing education every year they might not even be in town.
Recently a 24-hour pet emergency care center opened in Medford and vets all around the area are referring patient families there. The phone number is (541) 282-7711 and the clinic is at 3245 Biddle Road, Medford, Oregon.
If you're going north to Cave Junction to see the vet there it's only 40 miles but if you're heading to Yreka or Fort Jones to meet up with a vet, you'll be passing Dr. Kravis in Seiad Valley. Stopping there for assistance might be your best bet as he can administer oxygen to treat or help prevent shock, set fractures, suture wounds, and sometimes provide life-saving medications. He said 50% of the time he's able to assess the situation, provide help, and turn a pet-owner around and back to Happy Camp without having to take the long drive out of the valley.
Dr. Kravis has lots of good ideas for helping sick pets. Though we don't all have a board handy for carrying a large injured dog, we all have doors that can be removed from the hinges in a jiffy and put to use for pet transportation. Another solution is to carry a pet in a blanket sling. An injured pet should be surrounded by hot water bottles that can be as simple as household cleanser bottles washed clean then filled with hot water and wrapped in towlels. He suggested that if vet wrap and sterile gauze bandages aren't available you can make your own. Use duct tape instead of vet wrap and for bandages, think ahead and wash handkercheifs or cut up old t-shirts with a bit of clorox, then wrap gauze-bandage sized pieces in clean plastic sandwich bags for future use.
The best transportation for a large animal is inside a van or enclosed truckbed. If not available an open truck might have to do, but try to keep the pet covered and out of the wind. Injured animals may try to get up and leave the place where you're trying to treat them so a leash should be used. If none is available a piece of rope can be placed in a loop around the animal's neck.
The first aid video showed every conceivable first-aid situation, what to look for and what to do to prepare a sick or injured animal for a trip to the vet. A few conditions covered were injuries to paws, nosebleeds, bandaging ears, thermal burns, electrical burns, sprains and strains, CPR, the ABC's: airway/breathing/circulation, choking, rescue breathing, cardiac arrest, drowning, shock, seizures, vomiting, diabetic reactions, poisoning, snake and insect bites, foxtails in paws, nose or ears, frostbite, and heat stroke.
In case of disaster it is good to be prepared. The video suggested we have a backpack ready with food, medications, leashes, and whatever else we might need to evacuate with our pets. We should be ready with cat carriers for the felines among us. One never knows, here in Happy Camp, when a forest fire might get too close and frighten us away, or for those who live close to the Klamath River in the winter a flood might force a quick evacuation. It is best to try to be prepared no matter what might come up.
The seminar was a great success though we wished more people were there to learn the techniques that could save a pet's life in an emergency. It is possible that Dr. Kravis will be giving other seminars in the future so if you're interested in attending one and learning the details about pet first aid, give him a call at 530-496-3511. The video was purchased for this seminar by the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce and so Dr. Kravis will be able to share it again during future animal care seminars.
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