First Aid In Your Facility
By Dr. Lisa Aumiller
First Aid means emergency care or treatment given to an ill or injured person or animal before regular medical aid can be obtained. Often, caregivers think first aid means patch up the problem and don’t see a veterinarian. This short sidedness can lead to medical neglect, accidental treatment mistakes, frustrated owners, and/or liability and money loss for your company.
In order to maintain a good reputation for being a trustworthy, responsible facility, these first aid rules should be followed:
1.KNOW THE PET
A basic exam should be done on the pet at the time of intake. Train your staff to ensure there are no medical red flags before coming in to the facility. Even ear infections could cause pain to a pet and result in a fight during play time.
2. POST EMERGENCY NUMBERS
You should know who the pet’s regular veterinarian is and have their contact information, have a mobile vet on call, have a transport or Uber that is pet friendly, and know the number for the ASPCA poison control. Always consult with your on-call veterinarian. If you do not have a veterinarian on speed dial who can advise you, find one!
3. TEACH TRIAGE
Triage is a skill your staff should learn. Upon discovering a pet is injured or sick, the team member should be able to perform a quick assessment of the pet to evaluate the degree of severity. Immediate attention is given to the animal’s level of consciousness, airway patency, breathing, and circulatory functions (including pulse). A secondary survey consists of an examination and assessment of the animal’s eyes, ears, nose, neck, chest, abdomen, back, extremities, rectal temperature and the procedures to stabilize and protect the animal from further harm. All animal caretakers should have the ability to perform a baseline physical exam.
4. HAVE A FIRST AID KIT ON HAND
Having a well–stocked first aid kit at any animal care business is imperative. And it should be used under the guidance of your veterinary partner until you can get the pet seen.
Important Items to Be Included in a First Aid Kit
- 1″ and 2″ adhesive tape
- 2″ roll gauze (for muzzle)
- Gauze pads
- Telfa pad
- Rectal thermometer
- Chlorhexidine or povidone iodine (antiseptic) for wound flush
- Elizabethan collar
- Eye wash (saline in a squirt bottle)
- Isopropyl alcohol
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Cotton balls and pledgets
- Blanket with heat pack
- Petroleum or K-Y jelly
- Ice pack
- Activated charcoal
- Styptic pencils
- A needle or two
Great Meds to Include in Your First Aid Kit
- H202 (5ml / 1 tsp per 10lbs every 15 min for up to 3 treatments. Do not exceed 15 ml total each time.)
- Benadryl 25 mg (1 mg/lb up to every hour)
- Pepcid AC 5
- Yunnan BaiYao
- Activated Charcoal
- Epi pen
- A few cans of ID or similar bland diet in case of diarrhea or GI emergencies.
Ask your vet on record to set up a first aid training session for your staff. Most animal caretakers are thirsting for knowledge!
Do you have questions that you want the vet to answer? Send your questions to [email protected] Dr. Lisa Aumiller is a veterinarian that has been serving pets in NJ and PA for over 15 years. She is the founder and CEO of HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service, the largest mobile veterinary service in North America.