Life turns on a sixpence. One minute all is happy and sunny … the next things can become as black as you could ever imagine. Road Traffic Accidents have to be one of a dog owner’s worst nightmares. A lovely walk can quickly spiral into a traumatic experience and if it does, the owner’s ability to keep their head and take the right course of action can make all the difference. So, would you know what to do?
Firstly, go through what we call the DR.ABC checklist:-
D = Danger – make it safe for you and the dog. Making it safe includes:
* placing the dog on your jacket to carry him carefully from the road
* alerting any oncoming traffic
* securing any other dogs you have with you so that you can help
* muzzling the injured animal to protect yourself if needs be
R = Response – check your dog’s level of consciousness
A = Airway – tilt the head back, extend the neck and pull the tongue forward
B = Breathing – check that the dog is breathing
C = Circulation – check for a pulse/heartbeat
TELEPHONE YOUR EMERGENCY VET IMMEDIATELY RIGHT NOW
If circulation is present but NO BREATHING – perform artificial respiration
(see previous blog as per the following link) A.R. Blog
If there is NO CIRCULATION – perform CPR (see previous blog as per the following link) CPR blog
If there IS circulation & breathing, perform a secondary survey as follows:-
Check for the 4 B’s ie Bleeding, Breaks, Burns and Bruises, starting at the head and checking down the body from chest, spine, ribcage, stomach, thighs and finally legs. As you do this, watch the dog’s face with every movement so you notice any tell-tale signs that the bit you are touching is painful.
Treat any bleeding ASAP with pressure.
Support any broken/dislocated limbs in THE POSTION YOU FIND THEM
The dog will be going into shock so ensure you keep him flat and his spine nice and straight, then raise the rear end of the animal to encourage oxygenated blood to travel to the brain (you can kneel next to him and rest his back end on your thighs but try to ensure he remains straight rather than sagging in the middle) and cover him with your jacket to keep him warm. (see previous blog on shock as per the following link) Shock blog
If you notice a firmness in the abdomen, this could denote internal bleeding in which case we must elevate the rear end to utilise as much of his oxygenated blood as best we can (see previous blog on internal bleeding as per the following link) Internal Bleeding blog
If you believe that the dog may have had a spinal injury, keep him flat and avoid any movement of his spine. (see previous blog on spinal injuries as per the following link) Spinal Injuries blog
Monitor his breathing rate, heart rate and gum colour to determine if he is deteriorating and be ready to step in with artificial respiration (AR) or cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if his situation changes.