One of the most distressing things for a pet owner to encounter is to witness their beloved pet involved in a road traffic accident. Once over the initial shock there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of your pet surviving.
Firstly remain calm, not only for your own sake but for the sake of your wounded animal. The actions you take in the first few minutes can make all the difference.
Be aware that even the most placid dog will snap and try to bite out of fear and pain in some situations it is best to use a temporary muzzle.
In the case of cats, if they feel their breathing is restricted they will scratch and claw. Throwing a towel around the animal and wrapping them in it may be a solution.
Get the Animal Out of Harm’s Way
Your first priority at the accident scene is to move the animal out of harm’s way. Protect any bleeding wounds with a clean cloth. Move the animal to the side of the road without further injury by sliding it gently onto a coat or towel and employing it with help like a stretcher.
From now on, you need to avoid stressing your pet. Any movements should be in a slow, calm, deliberate manner. Be gentle in your actions and speak in a calm soothing voice when addressing the animal or anyone in the vicinity.
Request that someone notifies a veterinary surgeon of what has occurred and that the animal will soon be on its way to them. Alternatively, if available in your area telephone a Veterinary Ambulance.
If at anytime, a muzzled animal looks like it is about to vomit remove the muzzle as quickly as possible to prevent the animal from choking.
Stop Any Bleeding
The next priority is to stop any bleeding that may be noticeable. Place clean cloths over the wounds where there are copious, amounts of blood. Pressure applied to the cloths will slow the bleeding.
If there is bone protruding from the wound, pack a cloth around the protruding bone and apply light pressure to the area to hold the cloth in place.
If you pet is on their feet but seems to have a broken limb the limb will be misshapen or the animal will refuse to put weight on it and leave it hanging limp. Immobilise the limb by placing a splint on it and take the animal immediately to the vet.
Shock Can Be a Killer
Shock will have set in and the animal will appear weak and disoriented, its gums will be pale and paws will feel cold to the touch. At this point, try to keep the animal calm, still, and warm.
On no account administer fluids to the animal.
On the Move
Transfer the animal to something rigid that can be used like a stretcher to transport it. Internal and spinal injuries are not always self evident.
Place Cats in a large box with something to keep them warm. Dogs should be laid on a rigid support on the back seat of a car with someone holding and comforting them.
Getting Veterinary help as quickly as possible is the key to ensuring an animal road accident victim has the best chance of survival.
With immediate action and by working calmly and methodically you can ensure the accident victim becomes a road accident survivor.