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May 15, 2013
Dog First Aid: Kits, Meds, and Wound Treatment - 3
by Brian Lynn
I recently attended the Washington State Search and Rescue Conference in Ellensburg, Wash., and sat in on several canine classes – everything from double-blind testing that can stand up to cross-examination in court to the meteorology of scent.
Perhaps my favorite seminar was a canine first-aid class tailored to search and rescue folks, who, like hunters, usually find themselves in the backcountry and unable to easily get to a local vet when something happens, and who are also constrained by the amount of stuff they can carry.
The class was taught by Dr. Michael Fuller, a 30-plus-year veterinarian at the Ellensburg Animal Hospital. He covered a lot of material in the hour-and-a-half session, everything from must-have items in a first aid kit to broken bones. Here are just a few highlights:
First Aid Kits
Emergency Electrolyte Solution
An emergency electrolyte solution recommended by Fuller is:
1 liter of water
Don’t let your dog gulp down all of the solution. Give him 25 percent and then wait and observe his response, giving more as needed.
Instead, Fuller recommended using saline solution to clean the area. In an emergency, you can make your own saline by mixing one level tablespoon of salt with one gallon of distilled water (or boiled/filtered). Irrigate the wound with a syringe and 20-gauge needle.
Also: Fuller says 95 percent of wounds don’t need sutures, but if, however, you’re certain that stitches/staples will be required, be sure not to apply any type of triple antibiotic; just clean and cover it.
Pain Meds and Benedryl
While you can give aspirin for pain management (325 mg/per 65 pounds) Fuller recommends speaking with your vet about obtaining a prescription for Tramadol.
Tramadol is a pain med that is cheap, effective, and has nearly no side effects except that the dog gets sleepy. You can give a few, monitor the dog and give a few more if necessary. When a dog is hurt, you’ll not only want to help with pain but with keeping the dog calm – the side effect of drowsiness will serve as a benefit.