Taking action for an injured or distressed pet

Demonstrating one of the ways to carry an injured animal or pet was Paul McNamara, DVM, Chief of Surgery at the Dutchess Highlands Veterinary Group in Hopewell Junction. The program on Pet First Aid drew a large audience to the Amenia Town Hall on Wednesday, June 5.

Leila Hawken

Taking action for an injured or distressed pet

AMENIA — Pet First Aid is essential knowledge for any person who cares for an animal and it is best to know in advance what to do in a stressful emergency.

On Wednesday, June 5, a two-hour class detailed Pet First Aid applications described by Paul S. McNamara, DVM, Chief of Surgery at Dutchess Highlands Veterinary Group in Hopewell Junction.

“The informational class was designed to help pet owners be a bit better prepared,” Dr. McNamara said.

The program was sponsored by the Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County (MRC) and the Dutchess County Animal Response Team (DCART). In addition, the local Top Dog 4-H Club was collecting pet food for the Hudson Valley Animal Rescue. Representing the club was Maddie Santori, president.

While the program was free, the 150 participants who registered for the program were asked to donate pet food, and many did.

Speaking on behalf of the Medical Reserve Corps, Dr. McNamara said that the organization is full of people who serve during a crisis, working alongside EMS personnel. He added that DCART is now working with MRC at a community-wide level.

Dr. McNamara additionally provides training in tactical first aid for the canine partners in military or law enforcement applications where emergency first aid is often required.

Drug-sniffing dogs are at risk if they inhale substances, McNamara noted. Two milligrams of fentanyl, a tiny amount, is sufficient to kill the animal, he said.

“Every person should carry Naloxone,” he advised.

The class covered recognition and treatments including pet CPR, heat stroke, hypothermia, gastrointestinal issues, allergies, poisonings, burns, eye issues, injuries, wound care, and more.

“Never initiate CPR unless you determine first that no pulse exists,” Dr. McNamara said.

Awareness of your pet’s behaviors and personality is key to knowing when something is off, Dr. McNamara said.

“How does your pet act or look normally,” is a question to ask in determining the presence of a problem.

A first aid kit for your pet is an essential accessory to have on hand. Only include items that you know how to use, Dr. McNamara advised, adding that including the animal’s medical history is a great idea. Always include a muzzle, no matter how docile your pet is usually.

Never feed your pet chocolate, grapes, raisins, or chewing gum, toxic both to dogs and cats.

“Nine grapes will kill a standard poodle,” Dr. McNamara cautioned.

The program was organized by Wendy Cady, Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator for the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response. Volunteers are welcome to pursue medical or non-medical training to help in responding to a range of disasters. Pets and other animals are often victims needing attention.

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