Quick-thinking owner saves his dog
VAIL – A Sunday stroll for Dave Karli and his dog Jack quickly turned into a serious situation.Karli and Jack were walking near their home in Edwards last month while a father and son were playing catch with a baseball nearby.Jack, a Weimaraner mix, went to get some baseballs that were lying on the ground and tried to get several in his mouth. One went down his throat and got stuck in his airway.Karli quickly realized his dog couldn’t breathe, and there wasn’t enough time to call a vet. Jack started turning blue.Karli, a physician at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, reached his hand down Jack’s throat to try to clear his airway. “I just kind of reacted,” Karli said. “I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to think about it.”Jack didn’t like the fact that his owner was reaching down his throat, and bit Karli’s arm. But Karli managed to remove the ball from Jack’s airway.After the ball was removed, Jack remained passed out. Karli did CPR on his dog for about 15 to 20 seconds until Jack regained consciousness.”Another 20 or 30 seconds and he probably wouldn’t have made it,” Karli said.Jack was dazed for a minute or two, but quickly recovered, Karli said. Several weeks after the incident the dog seems to be doing well, Karli said. Karli consulted a vet, who said the dog should be all right.
Dr. Chris Roth, veterinarian at Eagle-Vail Animal Hospital, said he doesn’t see a lot of owners having to do CPR on their dogs.”Not a lot,” he said. “But, obviously, it can happen.”He said owners should make sure their dogs aren’t playing with objects that are small enough to get into their mouths. He said he’s seen dogs choke on rawhide bones that had one of the ends chewed off.”You need to make sure if you’re playing with something with your dog, it’s big enough that it can’t get it far enough back in their throat,” Roth said.Of course, curious dogs can find small objects on walks before owners can intervene.Roth said owners should first try to perform the Heimlich maneuver on dogs. The Heimlich for dogs is very similar to the human method, Roth said. Dog owners can perform the Heimlich maneuver from behind or from the side, Roth said.Or the owner should try to clear the airway with his or her hands, Roth said.If the animal is not breathing, the owner should proceed with CPR, beginning by checking the airway, then doing rescue breaths.Dog CPR
• Airway – make sure the animal has an open airway.1. Lay animal down on either side.2. Gently tilt the head slightly back to extend the neck.3. Pull the tongue between the front teeth.4. Use your finger to check for and remove any foreign material.• Breathing – if the animal is not breathing do the following:1. Open the airway.2. For medium and large dogs, seal the mouth and lips by placing your hands around the lips, gently holding the muzzle closed.3. Place your mouth over the animal’s nose and forcefully exhale.
4. Give four or five breaths rapidly, then check to see if animal is breathing without assistance. Unless the animal begins to breath regularly continue artificial respiration until you reach a vet, or for a maximum of 20 minutes.Medium or large dog (over 30 pounds): 20 breaths per minute.• Circulation – if there is no heartbeat or pulse – medium to large dogs (30-90 pounds)1. Stand or kneel with animal’s back toward you (animal laying on right side).2. Extend arms at the elbows.3. Cup hands over each other.4. Compress the chest at the point where the animal’s left elbow lies when pulled back to the chest.5. Compress so the chest moves about 1-3 inches with each compression.6. Do five compressions for each breath, then check for a pulse. Large dogs (more than 90 pounds): Do 10 compressions for each breath, check pulse.
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