Although unfortunate and scary, a situation may arise where your pet requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR can be lifesaving when the need is identified quickly and measures are implemented immediately. CPR is performed on pets when the heart has stopped beating and the pet is no longer breathing. This is classified as cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA).
Less than six percent of dogs and cats that experience CPA in the hospital survive to discharge. To improve this outcome, the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the Critical Care Society recently released guidelines for CPR in dogs and cats. The recommendations can be found at www.veccs.org.
Veterinary CPR was developed through modifications from human CPR.
“In veterinary CPR, basic life support includes the recognition of CPA, administration of chest compressions, airway management and breathing for the pet,” says Dr. Lisa Peters of the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center, Appleton, Wis.
Before CPR is performed on pets, it is necessary to confirm CPA has occurred. “You must first verify the heart is not beating and the pet has stopped breathing,” stresses Dr. Peters.
Once CPA is confirmed, Dr. Peters recommends following the steps below for proper pet CPR.
Airway Management and Breathing
It is important to make every attempt to transport the pet to a veterinary facility during CPR. However, this poses a challenge as there should be little interruption in CPR efforts.
Special training is recommended before performing CPR on pets. Dr. Peters suggests taking pet first aid courses through the American Red Cross, which includes CPR training. Veterinarians are also a great resource for finding pet first aid courses.
Dr. Peters advises pet owners to stay calm in all emergency situations.
“The best thing you can do for your pet in any emergency situation is to be prepared, remain calm, and call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency clinic. Keeping your pets healthy and safe will hopefully prevent the need for life saving measures.”
To learn more about CPR on pets, contact your local WVMA member veterinarian. Find one online at www.wvma.org.
Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association 2801 Crossroads Drive, Suite 1200 | Madison, WI 53718 | Phone: (608) 257-3665 | Fax: (608) 257-8989
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