Saturday, July 24, 2010

Close Call

Last night I gave our dogs a dog treat. It was chicken jerky which they have both had before. After a few minutes I noticed that Skully was having trouble swallowing a bite.

I went over and patted him on the back but he got worse and started panicking. The piece of jerky was stuck in his throat!
I shouted to Patti that he was in trouble and suggested the heimlich maneuver which works on dogs as well as humans.

Then I recalled my Navy first aid training. The first thing you do in an emergency is check and try to clear the airway. It was called ABC: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation (bleeding).
So while Patti held Skully I opened his mouth and could see the piece of jerky lodged in his throat.

Skully was struggling to breath at this point, shaking and pawing his head, gagging and his eyes reflected his fear. Poor little guy! He was also snapping his teeth, tryin' to dislodge the jerky.

I knew there was a good probability of getting bit if I put my fingers in Skully's mouth, Not intentionally, but bit is bit nevertheless.

However, there was no time to find pliers or tongs to do the job.
So I plunged my fingers in Skully's mouth. Not being nearly as dexterous as I was when I was younger I hoped and prayed I could quickly grab the jerky and get it out.

Thankfully, I managed to do just that. If it wasn't for the first aid training I had in the Navy, as well as working as a security guard/janitor at a hospital and the ER (amazing how much you can pick up if you watch and listen), I would've been at a loss.

There is no doubt in my mind that Skully wouldn't have survived a trip to the nearest 24 hour veterinary hospital which is a good 40 minute drive away. and I was unsure if I could properly perform a tracheo procedure, although Patti might have, but she hasn't been a paramedic for over 30 years.

My point is, we should all ask ourselves what would we do if one of our loved ones, a beloved pet, or even a stranger needs emergency medical care?
Basic first aid is easy to learn, especially with the internet, and anyone can save a life or mitigate damage with this knowledge.

It's also good to practice in a mock up situation. This includes ANY emergency. The more you practice, the less chance there will be that you will panic during an emergency.
Time is of the essence in any emergency and you simply don't have time to look stuff up on the internet during one.

The more prepared and trained you are, the better. You don't hafta be a doctor or nurse to save a life. And you never know when you might hafta put your training to the test.
Do yourself a favor and learn first aid. At least you'll know you did everything possible if you are ever in a situation to save a life. That's much better than having regrets afterwards: "if only I had known first aid..."

We are very thankful it all worked out and Skully is in howlin' good health.

We thank God, the Navy Corpsmen that taught me first aid, all the doc's, nurses and paramedics I have known, and the doc's, nurses and paramedics that share their valuable knowledge on the internet and in classes. Thanks. You all make a huge difference. :^)

After last night I will no longer give our dogs jerky or chew bones. We knew about the danger of rawhide chew bones but not the danger of jerky. Instead, they'll get small milkbones or small pieces of meat.

BTW, the milkbones really do keep your dog's teeth clean. We just took our pooches to the vet for their yearly check-up and shots last week. The vet was impressed with how clean their teeth was and askjed if we had been brushing them (yeah right. Good luck with that).
We give them a milkbone (broken up) right before they go to sleep, and perhaps one at mid day. Works great!


f/zero said...

Woof. Glad the little fella's ok.

I think I'll practice my trake skills on my mom's 2 cats. Ha ha.

AndrewPrice said...

Good advice! An emergency really is no time to try to figure out what to do.

I'm glad it all turned out ok!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, it was so hard to read that! So glad he's alive and waggin'!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks! Cat's are a good choice, DoJo. That way you get nine tries. I wonder if silly straws would work? :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Andrew!
I hope I didn't come across as too paranoid. I do realize it's impossible to prepare for every possible eventuality, but there's a wealth of information for the most common emergencies at our fingertips.
Of course, knowledge without training or experience can be dicey at best, so I like to review first aid procedures occasionally.

Sometimes I find something new, for example, the Heimlich maneuver is very effective on drowning victims, especially since it clears the water out, making mouth to mouth more likely to succeed, if it comes to that.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Joan! Thanks! It wasn't easy to write. Thankfully there is a happy ending to this ordeal. :^)