The next series of blogs is from Rachel Bean RVN.
It is a series on First Aid and will include the following topics:
- Introduction to First Aid
- Normal Dog Parameters (Vitals)
- Haemorrage- Bleeding
- Stings, Allergic Reactions & Anaphylaxis
- Poisons & Pesticides
Today’s blog includes –
Introduction to First Aid
First Aid is the critical first action carried out when a patient suffers an incident. It is essential that any First Aid is carried out not only rapidly but also with some consideration as to what the outcome is likely to be.
The first important action is:
‘The sympathetic nervous system sends out impulses to glands and smooth muscles and tells the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bloodstream. These “stress hormones” cause several changes in the body, including an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.’
This is also known as ‘Flight or Flight’
The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966
This Act is very important and Vets and Veterinary Nurses abide by its rules everyday when working with animals. So when carrying out First Aid you have to be aware of its Boundaries and Limitations.
Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 anyone may perform First Aid to an animal provided that it is:
To Preserve LIFE
To Prevent SUFFERING
To Prevent the DETERIORATION of the patient’s condition.
Part of Schedule 3 of The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 says the following:
‘Lay persons may administer first aid in an emergency, for the purposes of saving life or relieving pain or suffering. As a result of the above act and the subsequent exemptions; it is illegal for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the animals Veterinary Surgeon is sought and obtained.’
So if you work with dogs or even live with dogs you have to be aware of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and its Limitations. The main ones are:
- If a member of the public or a customer/client asks you a medical question about their dogs health, you cannot be deemed to be making any kind of perceived diagnosis. Only a Registered Veterinary Surgeon can make a diagnosis. Always advise the person to ask a Veterinary Surgeons opinion. This avoids the risk of you being in ‘breach’ of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
- Social Media – many people will ask on social media about the health of their dogs and many people offer a ‘diagnosis’ or treatments. This can be also be breaching The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 – it is best to stay away from commenting.
- Treatments – Canine Massage, Canine Physiotherapy , Canine Chiropracty, Canine Hydrotherapy etc are all disciplines that need a Veterinary Referral, this gives the practitioner permission to treat the dog under The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
Assessing the Patient
There are three main rules you must remember when dealing with First Aid:
Remember A B C
So, with this in mind we can check the following:
Is the dog BREATHING ?
Watch for chest movements or nose/mouth movements. Put your ear to the mouth and nose and listen. Place your hand lightly on the chest and feel for movements.
Is the breathing LABOURED ?
This could indicate a blockage to the airway. Care must be taken to remove the blockage if it is visible. If the dog is on its side, then by extending the neck a blockage can be removed. Blockages could be the tongue, blood, vomit or mucous.
Is the dog CONSCIOUS?
If the dog is aware of its surroundings, it is less likely to be a life-threatening situation and you might have time to tend to other injuries.
Rachel Bean is a Qualified Veterinary Nurse and has worked in Veterinary Practice for 17 years. With the support of the Practice Veterinarians in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area Rachel has for many years consulted with owners who encounter problem behaviour with their pets. Rachel works with clients in their home on a One to One basis and helps them achieve a better understanding of their dog’s behaviour.
Before qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse, Rachel was an Assistant Kennel Manager for the Dogstrust (formerly NCDL) and has a good deal of experience in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of dogs.
Rachel visits owners of newly acquired Puppies to educate owners on the importance of early correct socialisation, habituation and training to prevent behaviour problems in the future. Rachel won Pet Health Counsellor of the Year in 2004 and has a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour issued by The British Veterinary Nurse Association. Rachel is a listed and Registered Veterinary Nurse with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Rachel is also the consultant behaviourist at the Northwest newest and largest Dog Hydrotherapy Centre, K9 Swim.
Rachel has experience in providing Expert Witness reports for legal cases involving dogs both in Welfare and Dangerous Dogs.
Rachel is also a Master Dog Trainer with the Guild of Dog Trainers, and currently studying with Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training for an MA in Canine Behaviour. She is also a Tutor for the Foundation level Degree with the CIDBT.
The skills needed in Veterinary Practice, empathy, understanding, precision and forward thinking compliment perfectly the skills needed to be a Dog Behaviourist such as practical handling, breed knowledge, dog training capabilities and a natural passion for dogs. This combination of experience both practical and theoretical is a rare combination and places Rachel above and beyond the average dog trainer.