Poisoning:  Only if the dog has been caught eating the poison, or suspected to have very recently consumed it, and once the poison is not caustic or an oil based product ;you should try to induce vomiting immediately by giving a handful of salt into the mouth, OR 1 tablespoon of 3%peroxide for every 20 pounds body weight.  If no vomiting occurs within 20 minutes, then consult your vet immediately, and even after an episode of vomiting still check with your veterinarian depending on the poison consumed.

Car accident &/or broken limb: Many times your pet might get away with a road rash, a few scratches or a sprain, which can be cleaned with a dilute disinfectant such as ‘Dettol’, before seeking veterinary attention.

However, always check carefully for broken bones before moving the animal; is the leg  dangling/ hanging at a ‘funny angle’, or severely swollen?  While some animals have a high pain tolerance, it is wise to muzzle the dog before trying to move them to prevent an unnecessary bite!

  1. Once restrained, check the fracture to see if it is ‘open’ (with bone protruding through the skin, or a wound near the break) or ‘closed’(no wound seen near break).
  2. If it is ‘Open’ carefully flush the wound with clean water, and cover with a sterile/clean bandage.
  3. Support the broken leg with a thickly folded towel, and transport the dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Heatstroke: Heatstroke is literally an inability of the body to maintain its’ normal temperature, and can occur from leaving the pet in a locked parked car in the sun, or long walks in the middle of a hot day especially with nothing to drink.

Signs to watch for are excess drooling, rapid breathing, inco-ordination, and a pet that is very hot to the touch.

  1. Immediately remove the dog to a cool environment.
  2. Either place them in a cold water bath or run the garden hose over their body for at least 20-30 min.
  3. Consult your veterinarian at this point for further medical care.


First thing to remember with all cats, is that once injured or scared they react differently, and to prevent injury to either you or the cat it is wise to restrain them before attempting any treatment.

Restraining a cat: Slowly approach the cat on their level, talking in a gentle tone, and firmly grasp the loose skin at the back of the neck behind the ears…most cats will become somewhat submissive in this hold, and then you can grasp both back legs with the other hand. At this point, place the cat injured side up on a clean towel, which can be used to wrap them up in, with the head out, for further care.

Car accident: Many cats will sustain a broken limb from a car accident, as they are very fragile animals. Once the cat is still breathing properly, restrain them as stated above.

  1. Check for broken bones, and clean any ‘open ‘ wounds, as stated under the dog section.
  2. Wrap the cat in the towel, place them in a ventilated cardboard box or cage and transport to your veterinarian.

Dog Bites/ Bleeding Wounds: Once the cat has been restrained, and possibly calmed down, clean any skin wounds with clean water. If the bleeding is excessive, apply firm pressure to the area with a clean bandage (such as a ‘wad’ of cotton or folded paper towel ) for at least 5 minutes, and bandage this in place over the wound .

Many injuries in cats maybe more internal and life threatening, and therefore the cat should be taken to the vet for a complete check-up as soon as possible.


Lawn Mower Accident:  Often your pet turtle may inadvertently get caught in the path of your mowing the lawn, and get their shell damaged.

If the shell is only mildly scraped, clean the wound and apply an antiseptic cream before consulting your vet.

If an entire chunk of the shell is missing or cracked, please seek veterinary care as soon as possible, and DO NOT flush the wound with water.

Dog Bite: Many times your turtle will retract into their shell and prevent any serious injury. However, always check the entire shell for any cracks, a mis-shapen shell or teeth punctures, especially in baby or small turtles. Once again, with minor scrapes, clean the wound with clean water and seek veterinary care.


Over heating: For indoor birds, if the A/C fails or they have been in a closed room on a hot day they may overheat. In a simple case of heat stress, simply spraying them with water from a misting bottle, and giving them some cool water to drink, after moving them to a cooler environment may be sufficient to bring down their body temperature. The owner may also place the cage in front of a fan, or give the bird a small pan of cool/cold water to step and splash in. If after 10-15 minutes they stop panting and are responding normally to your voice, you may consult your veterinarian for further care.

Mosquito Bites:  Pet birds, especially the smaller breeds, like canaries and finches, are more susceptible to bites. These bites are mostly seen on featherless areas such as on their feet or around the eyes, as a small swollen/red bump. Once a bite is seen, it is best to consult your veterinarian, as these can get very infected, and in some cases cause the bird to lose use of a limb or eye.

Prevention is better than cure, by simply covering the bird’s cage with a cloth or mosquito net from dusk til dawn when mosquitoes are most active, or placing a cotton ball soaked in citronella oil close to the cage to deter the mosquitoes.


Overgrown Front Teeth: Rabbit’s have ‘incisors’ teeth that grow continuously, at a rate of 3mm/week, and sometimes on an improper diet these may become too long and stop your pet from eating properly. While it may seem like a good idea to clip these teeth at home, but this is very dangerous for the rabbit, and is best done by your veterinarian. Including more grass/hay in their diet will help keep the teeth short.

G.I. Stasis: If your rabbit does not produce stool for more than 12 hours this can an emergency. Other signs to watch for include: lethargy or a bunny that is very quiet in a corner of the cage and grinding their teeth. Until you can get your rabbit to the vet, it is best to force them to drink small amounts of plain water or unsweetened ‘Pedialyte’ every couple hours to prevent dehydration.

Dr Laura Hutchinson, Trinity Animal Clinic