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Saturday, May 28th 2011

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How to Perform CPR on Dogs and Cats

Author: Wiki Pet

Pet Health Articles
CPR on Dogs and Cats
Artificial Respiration is an emergency procedure used to assist air exchange in unconscious pets. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) combines artificial respiration with external heart compressions, which helps move blood through the body when the heart has stopped beating. It is best to have 2 people perform CPR, with one breathing for the pet (artificial respiration) while the other provides chest compressions.

Special Note: If your pet resists your attempts to perform CPR, they probably don't need it!

To determine if your pet's heart has stopped, place your palm flat against his lower chest directly behind the left front elbow to feel for the heartbeat. If you don't feel anything, try placing your ear against this same spot and listen. You can also feel for the pulse in the femoral artery - located close to the surface of the skin inside the thigh at the groin. Place 3 fingers flat against the area and press firmly, waiting for a pulse.

Before beginning CPR you need to determine how much help your pet needs and of what type. Open your pet's mouth and pull the tongue forward as far as you can. Check for a foreign body. If one is present, proceed with Foreign object in the throat.

  1. Is your pet breathing? - Observe the rise and fall of the chest. Feel for air with your cheek. If YES, pull out the tongue and clear the airway by gently opening the mouth and wiping with your finger to be sure nothing is stuck or collecting in the mouth or opening to the airway (such as vomit). If NO, feel for a pulse
  2. Does your pet have a pulse? If YES start artificial respiration. If NO, start CPR

A pet who's heart has stopped will be un-responsive and will not respond to anything. You can pinch your pet firmly between his toes or tap his eyelid. If there is no response, start CPR immediately.

Artificial Respiration

1. Lay the pet on a flat surface with his right side down. Open his mouth and use a cloth to help pull his tongue as far forward as possible. Clear any secretions with the cloth or piece of gauze. Look inside for any foreign objects. If something is present, gently remove it if possible. if it is impossible to remove, perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

2. Make sure your pet's head and neck are in line with his back, pull the tongue forward so that it is even with the canine teeth, and close the mouth.

3a. For small dogs, puppies, and cats (under 30 pounds): Place your mouth over the pet's nose (but not the mouth). Blow gently into the dog's nostrils. Watch to see if the chest expands. Release to let the air escape. Excess air will escape through the pet's lips - preventing overinflation of the lungs and overdistension of the stomach. If the chest does not rise and fall, blow more forcefully or seal the lips with your hand. For Cats: the rate is one breath every 4 - 5 seconds or 12 - 15 per minute. For small dogs or puppies: the rate is one breath every 2 - 3 seconds or 20 - 30 breaths per minute.

3b. For medium and large dogs: Place your mouth over the pet's nose and seal the lips by placing a hand around the dog's muzzle to prevent the escape of air. Blow gently into the dog's nostrils watching to see the chest expand. Release to let the air escape. If the chest does not rise and fall, blow more forcefully or seal the lips with your hand. The breathing rate is one breath every 3 seconds or 20 breaths per minute.

4. Continue until the pet breaths on his own, or as long as the heart continues to beat.

Note: Air can collect in the stomach when it travels down your pet's throat . Every few minutes, push gently on his stomach with your hand on the left side behind his ribs to expel this collection of air.

CPR for puppies, small dogs (under 30lbs - 13.6kg), and cats

1. The "cardiac pump technique" calls for compressions over the heart to squeeze the heart and pump blood. Place your pet on a flat surface, right side down. To find the heart, gently flex your pet's front left leg backward. The center of the heart is located where the point of the elbow crosses the chest.

2a. For small dogs: Place your cupped hands on either side of the ribcage, over the heart.

2b. For cats, puppies, and kittens: Place your fingers and thumb on either side of your pet's sternum (chest) - behind the elbows.

3. Compress the chest 0.5 inch to 1.5 inches (1.2 - 4cm) which should be 1/4 to 1/3 the width of the chest. Squeeze for a count of 1, then release for a count of 1. Continue at a rate of 80 - 100 compressions per minute (up to 120 compressions for cats).

4. With one person CPR, administer a breath after every 5 compressions. With 2 person CPR, administer a breath after every 2 - 3 compressions. If possible, do not stop heart compressions while administering a breath.

5. Pause every 10 - 15 seconds to check for a pulse and spontaneous breathing.

6. Continue until the heart beats and the pet breathes on it's own, or until no heartbeat is felt for 30 minutes.

CPR For Medium and Large Dogs

Dogs who weigh more than 30 pounds have much stronger bones and so much space between the ribs and heart that compressions won't affect their hearts. Veterinarians recommend that instead of pumping above the heart, you should use the "thoracic pump method" which places compressions at the highest part of the chest. This changes the pressure most significantly within the chest cavity. This increase and decrease in pressure moves the blood forward through the body.

1. Place your dog on a flat surface, right side down. Position yourself behind the dog's back.

2. Place one hand on top of the other against the chest. Using the heel of the hand on the widest portion of the rib cage - not over the heart.

3a. For standard chested breeds: Keep both elbows straight and push down firmly on the rib cage. Compress the chest 1/4 to 1/3 of its width. Compress for a count of 1, then release for a count of 1. Continue at a rate of 80 compressions pet minute.

3b. For a barrel-chested dogs (like a bulldog): Lay the dog on his back, cross his paws over his breast bone, and kneel with his abdomen between your legs. Hold his paws and perform chest compressions by pushing downward directly over the breastbone. If your dog moves a lot while you are compressing his chest, put him on his side (as described in 3a).

4. With one person CPR, administer a breath after every 5 compressions. With 2 person CPR, administer a breath after every 2 - 3 compressions.

What to do next

Continue CPR until your pet breathes on his own and has a steady pulse. If vital signs do not return after 10 minutes of CPR, the likelihood of success is remote. Consider stopping CPR.

Note: CPR has the potential to cause complications, including broken ribs and pneumothorax. Also never practice artificial respiration or heart massage on a healthy dog! You have the potential to seriously injure the dog.

Tagged: pet first aid, cat first aid, dog first aid, artificial respiration, first aid, thoracic pump cpr, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cpr, mouth to mouth


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Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com


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