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First Aid Kits

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Have you checked your club's first aid kit lately?

Make it your New Year's resolution to check your Club's First Aid Kit. It only makes sense for all agility clubs to have a first aid kit in a water-tight box, clearly marked and kept in a safe place. After all, it could be you or your dog that needs help. Better safe than sorry.

Basic first aid kit
According to The Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at The Royal Veterinary College, the basic materials you need in a canine first aid kit would include:-

  • 4 x rolls of 2in. (5cm) roller bandage
  • 4 x rolls of 2in. (5cm) elastoplasts
  • Sharp-edged, blunt-pointed scissors
  • Caustic pencil for broken nails
    (If you cannot get this, pushing a bar of soap into the nail, stops bleeding.)
  • Antiseptic solution e.g. Savlon, Dettol, Roccal
    (A teaspoon of salt in a pint of boiling water will do the job.)
  • A packet of cotton wool
  • Micropore
  • Tweezers (A pair of forceps)
  • Rectal thermometer
Thanks to Rachael Fensame V.N. at the Royal Vet College for her help.

Additional items
To that add:-

  • Bottle of 20 vol, hydrogen peroxide
  • Razor blade
  • Codeine tablets
  • Paracetamol tablets
  • Packet of cotton buds
  • Crystal washing soda (emetic)
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Table salt
  • Eyedropper
  • Copy of A-Z of Dog Care by Stephen Schneck with Nigel Norris BVSc MRCVS or similar book
  • Local vet's telephone number

You can get most of these items from your local chemist. But remember that a first aid kit deals only with cuts and bruises and isn't really appropriate for collapsing dogs.

Thank you to S. Trewin at Sheil & Land for permission to use quotes from A-Z of Dog Care by Stephen Schneck with Nigel Norris BVSc MRCVS.

Super Deluxe First Aid Kit

Dr Bradshaw's Larger than a Bread Box First Aid Kit
At K9 First Aid Seminar sponsored by the Dog Owners Training Club of Lynchburg, Virginia (USA) two years ago, Dr. Bradshaw made some suggestions for additional things to include in a canine first aid kit for home and travel. Here are some things he recommended. They include a plastic Rubbermaid type tub and the following:-

  • Telfa Pads
  • Gauze Pads
  • Roll Gauze
  • Cling Gauze
  • Hand Towel
    (to be used for additional padding over the wound before wrapping or splinting.)
  • Vet wrap
  • Cast Padding
  • Tongue blades for splinting
  • Sterile Petroleum Jelly
  • Safety Pins
  • Sterile Flush Solution (Lens Cleaning Solution 1% Saline)
  • Latex gloves
    (to wear when inducing vomiting)
  • Benedryl (or Chlor-Trimiton) tablets
  • Activated charcoal
  • Fluoride toothpaste
    (For bee/ant stings, he recommended carrying a small tube of Fluoride toothpaste which can be dabbed on for instant relief.)
  • Mylanta
  • Large beach towel or blanket which can be used as a stretcher for large dogs
  • Solar blanket
    (to keep a dog warm who may be going into shock)
  • Nylon muzzle to fit your dog
  • Flashlight
  • Sharp knife
  • Ice bag/pack

For a holistic approach see An Alternative First Aid Kit by Frances Gavin.

Homeopathic First Aid

For many years, classical homeopathy has been recognised as a safe and effective alternative to treating ailments, serious and minor in humans and animals alike. Homeopathic remedies are made in different strengths but generally speaking the 6c potency is recommended for treatment of dogs.

How to give treatment
All medicines should be given in tablet form unless otherwise stated. The ideal method of administration is to empty the remedy directly on the tongue when the animal (or person) is not feeding. For this purpose, the tablet can be crushed to a powder or, if the dog resists, concealed in a small piece of bread or meat or the crushed tablet can be dissolved in milk or drinking water.

For best results, do not handle the tablets directly. Use the cap as a dispenser. When necessary, crush the tablets between two spoons.

Remedies should be stored in a cool, dry place away from light and strong-smelling substances such as camphor and disinfectants etc. Stored properly, medicines will keep their potency for many years.

Dosage in acute conditions may require frequent repetition, e.g. one dose every hour for three or four doses. Less frequent dosage is related to less acute conditions., e.g. one per day, or one per night and then in the morning for a few days.

Arnica can be used to lessen the immediate effects of shock, bruises, strains and bleeding. It is a first-course remedy if your dog begins to limp.

This is a soothing remedy used for the urinary system and some conditions were the skins is red and raw. Cantharis is indicated where there is burning, stinging or scalding pain such as cystitis. It also helps with burns and blisters, insect bites, acute eczema and kidney problems,

Rhus Tox
Rhus Tox is a major rheumatic remedy, particularly if the affected dog improves with movement. It is also helpful for strains and sprains, ear infections, conjunctivitis and some forms of eczema.

Sulphur is commonly used for skin ailments such as eczema, dandruff, flea allergy, ear mites and mange.

Rescue remedy

For more serious conditions, it is strongly recommended that a qualified vat be consulted.

Homoeopathy for Pets by George MacLeod (Homoeopathic Development Foundation Ltd)

More suggestions from the Internet

From Vet Ivan Walton
Really only things I can think of is some cotton wool, bandaging and splints in case of leg injuries. Drugs would not be appropriate. Also for those not skeptical of homoeopathy, some Arnica and possibly Rescue (now called Recovery) Remedy for bumps. Also if you have a fridge, a bag of frozen peas to put on swellings as ice packs!

From Diana Siow
A pair of fairly thick leather gloves and a muzzle (different sizes for different size dogs) could be really important pieces of an animal medical kit in certain situations.

From Jim
If you don't have a muzzle, you can take almost anything like a strip of strong cloth and wrap it in a figure eight around the dog's mouth and his neck. Not that a muzzle isn't better, particularly with certain injuries to the neck or back, but sometimes, we've got to make do.

From Pat Troise
You can also dump a whole lot of salt on the back of a dog's tongue and he will usually barf. This is particularly effective when your dog has eaten, say, a brillo pad, and you are afraid that the hydrogen peroxide will interact with the chemicals in the soap to cause an explosion.

From Bekka
How about a tack box? The type used for horses stuff. They're pretty big, bigger than the usual tackle box.

From Elaine & the Gang
Condoms also work well on a dog's foot. They keep out moisture and dirt and, if you get lucky, you're prepared!

If you have any suggestions for addition items to go into an agility club's first aid kit or experienced a time when an animal medical kit was a 'life saver,' let's hear from you. Email your comments to:- Agilitynet.

Original cartoons made for Agilitynet by Kim Blundell