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Detailed Notes: Breathing and CPR for Cats and Dogs
Detailed Notes: Heimlich Maneuver Cats and Dogs

Detailed Notes on Breathing and CPR for Cats and Dogs.
This is an integral part of CPRanimal.html

NOTE: These are not necessarily in order of treatment. For order of procedure, see CPR in Brief Dogs and Cats
  • If animal was drowning, do not attempt to remove water from lungs. I have not seen this advocated by a DVM but this follows the determination not to attempt to remove water from the lungs of human victims before CPR since it does not significantly impede the breathing and CPR process and attempts to remove it may cause further damage (see CPR).
  • If possible neck or back injury do not move or tilt the head to open mouth. Open mouth with fingers and be sure that tongue is not doubled back or blocking throat.
  • Do not try to check pulse, unless you know exactly where to find it. Valuable time may be lost attempting to find a pulse. I have not seen this advocated by a DVM. However, since most people who might attempt breathing and CPR, looking for a pulse may be time costly. No longer recommended by lay persons for human victims (see CPR and also American Hearth Association Journals
  • Clearing breathing passage ways Checking for objects in the mouth. Do not do this blindly. Look at what you are doing. Look inside mouth. Clear out any mucus, phlegm or vomit. If you can see something blocking and you think you can get it out with you fingers, place something which will keep animal from biting down in the entrance to the mouth, and using finger sweep, remove any blockage. Do not do a blind finger sweep. Dogs have a bone at the base of the tongue which is the hyoid apparatus or Adam's apple). which may be mistaken for chicken bones or other obstruction unless you see what you are doing. Also, if you do not see what you are doing, this may push any obstruction further down, or could hurt the animal in other ways. further discussion
  • Safety procedure for not getting bitten even by an unconscious animal: It may be necessary to place a roll of tape or something soft on one side of the mouth before reaching in. Several sites indicate that the animal may bite down automatically even when unconscious.
  • Breathing Mouth to snout or using cupped hand
    Blowing air into the lungs would appear to be almost impossible through a dog's or even a cat's mouth. The muzzle usually being too long and the possibility of air escaping through the sides too great. Therefore it would appear that holding the mouth shut and breathing though the nose is usually the best option in most cases. If the nose is congested, it may be necessary to attempt breathing through the mouth with the sides of the mouth held as air tight as possible. Secondly, whether to put your mouth over the snout or to cup one hand securely and as airtight as possible over the snout and blowing in through the nose or mouth would be a decision each rescuer should make. Both methods would appear to be sufficient if in fact the hand grip is reasonably air tight.

  • Amount of air blown into the animals lungs must fit the size of the animal - just enough to cause its chest area to rise and than fall - and no more. Breaths should be 1 per 2-3 seconds. (20-30 breaths per minute).

  • CPR Breathe into the animal 2 times (1 in 2 seconds) and press down on chest 5 times in about 2-3 seconds

    Procedure for pressing down - Animal should lie on its right side, put heel (fingers for small animal) of one hand on the rib cage (where middle of foreleg touches chest when folded). If you feel pulse return, continue with breaths only until the animal breathes on it own,

    or until there is movement.

  • Time to do CPR before stopping
    Most sites (see stopping below) indicate the amount of time to do CPR procedures before stopping. However, the time varies widely, so in the end it is left to the individual to decide when further attempts are not going to prove beneficial. The times range from 10 minutes to 60 minutes with most sites indicating 20 minutes.

  • Cycle of :
    Breaths: 1 breath every 2-3 seconds (depending on size)
    followed by CPR: 3-5 compressions.

    There is apparently no standard cycle of number of breaths and number of compressions or the timing. See breathing/compression.

    If you feel pulse return, continue with breaths only
    Continue until there is movement or self breathing or 20 minutes has passed.

  • Air still blocked. If air still not going through, or chest does NOT rise even though blowing should be sufficient, or you can see the blockage but can not get it out, do the Heimlich Maneuver which attempts to dislodge any blockage which can not be dislodged by hand.

  • Detailed Notes on Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs and Cats.
    This is an integral part of CPRanimal.html
    NOTE: These are not necessarily in order of treatment. For order of procedure, see Heimlich Maneuver in Brief Dogs and Cats

  • This maneuver can be done with the animal standing on all fours, or while holding the animal up on hind legs with one hand while using the other for the maneuver itself, or in rare cases with the animal laying down.

  • Grasp the animal below the rib cage - after the last rib. Do not do the procedure with both arms squeezing rib cage which might crack ribs.

  • Ball up one fist and lay it against the animal. The maneuver will be done using the fist and not the arms.

  • Jerk the fist in an inward-up motion in order to force air from the lungs forcing the blockage out of the mouth. If animal is laying on its side, the motion would be up under the rib cage without much inward motion.

  • Be always conscious of the size of the animal you are working with and do not do it hard enough to actually hurt the internal organs but hard enough to produce the expulsion of air needed to expel blockage from the windpipe. Procedure may also be effective in severe asthma attack in the dog or cat, to clear mucus from the lungs.

  • If needed, do this several times.

  • Do not practice this maneuver except for the placement of hands. The movement may cause some damage, but if it is the only way to save a pet's live, then it may be worth the procedure. If done correctly, it should not cause damage at all, but it is better not to actually do it unless there is necessity.

  • Once the object is dislodged, check the animal for breathing. This may be the only treatment necessary.

  • If the animal is still not breathing, do another mouth check. The blockage may have been dislodged enough to reach it and use manual extraction. If not, try breathing again to see if the air is going through. If air not going through, repeat the Heimlich. See references to Heimlich Maneuver.

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