This is a common cause of cardiac arrest. Excessive blood loss that affects a dog’s ability to breathe properly will decrease the body’s oxygen levels. Some injuries affect a dog’s ability to breathe properly. Without adequate oxygen supply to the brain, the rest of the body cannot get the signals needed to function. Lack of oxygen can also cause direct injury to the heart muscle. Head trauma can cause damage to the brain that results in cardiac arrest either due to bleeding, brain swelling, or slowed breathing. Dogs suffering cardiac arrest due to trauma are less likely to respond to CPR, especially if vital organs are damaged.
Hit By Car (HBC) When an animal is hit by a car there is a great deal of trauma to its body that can result. It also becomes a very emotionally charged environment especially if it is your animal. Most vehicular accidents involving animals usually involve a dog. Since the accident results in the animal being in the road it is important to safely move the animal out of the line of traffic to prevent further injury to both the pet and the rescuer. If there are any bystanders who have the person, ask them to help stop traffic and assist in carrying the animal if they are unable to carry the animal by themselves. Remember that animals that are in pain and are scared can lash out by biting and/or scratching. Have a gauze muzzle handy if needed to place one on the animal or a pillowcase in the case of wrapping up a cat. If the animal is having trouble breathing, then do not place anything on its head. Refer to the section in this book about how to safely move an injured animal.
Take some clean gauze from a first aid kit or clean cloth to put pressure on the wound. If it is suspected that there is any type of head trauma or other fractures or breaks use caution when moving the animal. Further movement to areas of the body which sustained serious wounds can cause the injuries to become much worse. Consider having them put a splint on the animal’s limb to immobilize the limb during transport. Animals that go into cardiac arrest will need to have CPR initiated and likely continued until they get to your veterinary hospital. Internal injuries from such an accident may not show up for 12-72 hours after the accident. Therefore, it is so important to have the client bring the animal in to be evaluated.
Pain Scale for Dogs and Cats (fig. b1)
|0||No pain, no overt signs of discomfort and no resentment to firm pressure|
|1||Some pain, no overt signs of discomfort but resentment to firm pressure|
|2||Moderate pain, some overt signs of discomfort which are made worse by|
|3||Severe pain, obvious signs of persistent discomfort which are made worse|
|1||Vocalizing responds to calm voice and stroking|
|2||Vocalizing does not respond to calm voice and stroking|
|1||Frequent position changes|
|0||Asleep or calm|