Almost everyone knows what needs to be done when a person is choking, yet very few know what to do if the same is happening to a dog or cat.
Like people, a choking animal’s blocked airway needs to be cleared and CPR must be done as soon as possible. “It is important. Just as it is in people, you have a couple or three minutes that you have before there’s significant brain damage, and then there’s death,” veterinarian John Shuler said. “You have to know how to do that at home.”
Luckily, when one 6-year-old miniature Pinscher named Luke started choking on a dog treat, his owner actually knew what to do and managed to bring him back to life. “I looked over in his bed and he looked weird,” said owner Emily Wicker. “I said his name and he didn’t do anything, so I went over to him and he wasn’t breathing.”
Wicker reached inside Luke’s mouth and pulled out a dog treat that was lodged in his throat, and found his heartbeat. “The hardest thing is finding your animal’s pulse,” Wicker said. “He had a really shallow heart rate, so I knew it wouldn’t take long to bring him back to consciousness.” Wicker then started mouth to mouth resuscitation and CPR. “It just kicked in,” said Wicker, who had previously learned how to perform animal CPR. “I didn’t think about anything — I just started doing it.”
“The first round I did do some compression, but the second round I didn’t have to,” Wicker said. “He started coughing just how a human would, because his airway was blocked, and he was fine.” When Shuler later heard about what Wicker did to save Luke, he was stunned she actually knew what to do. “Because not a lot of people know what to do, or they may not be present when the pet actually chokes, most of the ones I hear of are deaths,” Shuler said.
“I wish more people would show interest so that I can teach them how to do this during their yearly exam,” Shuler said. “We just don’t see anything with pets that organized that gives us the opportunity to teach people.”
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[Featured image: Facebook/Emily Wicker]