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Know the ABC’s of Pet CPR

posted May 15th, 2012 by
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by Kiley Roberson

THERE ARE pet spas, pet daycares and many pet stores. But animal lovers want to do more than pamper their pets. They also want to protect them. So, the American Red Cross is offering pet first aid classes that include the ABCs of pet CPR.

“Pets are often our companions and even cared for at the same level as we would our own children,” says Kay­lene Kenner of Red Cross Tulsa. “Of course, do­ing what we can to in­crease their chance of survival during a medi­cal emergency is our re­sponsibility since they depend on us for care.”

Kenner has worked for Tulsa’s Red Cross chapter for six years. She says pet first aid is one of her favor­ite classes that the Red Cross offers. And she’s not alone; a typical class is full of animal lovers, who want to get savvy with safety procedures that could help a pet in distress.

From basic pet owner responsibilities, like spaying, neutering and administer­ing medications to managing breathing or cardiac emergencies and preparing for disasters, pet first aid courses offer infor­mation and advice for pet owners. Topics include managing urgent care situations, such as car accidents; wounds; electri­cal shock; and eye, foot and ear injuries.

The classes are three to four hours long and are taught by a local volunteer vet­erinarian. The maximum enrollment for the class is 12, and Kenner says they fill up quickly. Real pets aren’t actually allowed in class. Instead, mannequins are used to demonstrate techniques. Each pet man­nequin has a set of simulated lungs to give the student a good sense of how hard to blow and how hard to push when ad­ministering breaths and compressions on the pet. Very often, injured animals are scared and likely to bite. So, the course also teaches pet owners how to devise a makeshift muzzle. In addition to lectures covering topics like capturing and han­dling an injured animal, the day’s instruc­tion also includes video presentations.

The class only covers CPR for dogs and cats, but Kenner says the same prin­cipals can be used on other pets, as well. She also says it’s especially im­portant to know the signs to recog­nize when a pet is ill or in distress.

“Pets, especially cats, will often try to hide signs of illness until the disease or injury is very advanced,” she explains. “I recently lost my two cats, both at age 19. They hid their symptoms from me and because cats are smaller animals, their health conditions deteriorated very quickly. After taking this class I now know the signs to watch out for and can try to intervene as early as possible.”

For pet first aid and CPR, the course costs $70. The courses are offered at var­ious times throughout the year. You can sign up by going to www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. If you can’t make it to a class, don’t worry; the Red Cross has an available book, “Pet First Aid.”

“Taking a course like Pet First Aid will give you the tools and techniques to iden­tify and treat such medical emergencies as soon as possible,” says Kenner. “Allow­ing your pet a better chance for survival.”

Learn your ABCs   To find out if a dog, for example, is breathing, watch the rib cage and see if it goes up and down. Also, find the pulse on your dog, which you can locate be­hind the pad on his front or back foot. Then, feel the rib cage just behind the left elbow. If the heart is beating, you should be able to feel it there. That’s called the ABC: Airway, Breathing and Cardiac.

Pet CPR Basics

1.) Cover and seal the pet’s entire mouth and nose with your mouth and gently exhale until you see the chest rise.

2.) Give four or five breaths rapidly; then check to see if your pet is breath­ing without assistance. If he begins to breathe, but the breathing is shal­low and irregular, or if breathing does not begin, continue giving him res­cue breaths at about a rate of 20 to 30 breaths per minute, pausing every 2 to 3 minutes to check for breath­ing and pulse. Continue until you reach the veterinary hospital or for up to 20 minutes. Beyond 20 minutes, there is little chance of reviving your pet.

Camo-Colored Paw Prints

posted March 15th, 2012 by
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by Kiley Roberson

It came to him in a dream. “I just woke up and thought, why can’t I do that,” explains Rob Wheeler. “No one told me I couldn’t, so I just did it.”

That’s how Tulsa’s G.I. Wishes came to be. The organization aims at matching rescue animals with veterans and also helps foster pets while soldiers are deployed. Rob wheeler, a veteran himself and an advocate for rescue, started G.I. Wishes in April 2010, as a way of helping rescue animals and our military veterans at the same time. The organization became an official 501(c)3 non-profit in May 2011. It’s the only organization of its kind in the state, maybe even the nation, and it’s filling a void many never realized existed.

“So many animals are euthanized, and so many vets would love a pet, but they can’t afford the cost of adopting,” Wheeler says.

G.I. Wishes serves as the conduit, eliminating this dilemma. Wheeler has joined with several area rescue groups including the Animal Rescue Foundation, Tulsa Animal Welfare, even local veterinarians to find pets he can save and match with a veteran. G.I. Wishes pays the organization their adoption fee for the animal and then charges the veteran a flat fee of $50.

“The only reason we charge anything at all is because I believe firmly that if you don’t pay a little for something, you don’t take as good care of it,” Wheeler explains.

“I want them to have some ownership.” Getting a rescue animal ready for adoption is a big expense. They are given all of their shots, spayed or neutered, tested and treated for heartworms, and even micro-chipped. G.I. Wishes also pays for the first year of veterinary services. It’s a cost that Wheeler says grows daily. “We are getting new requests all the time,” he says. “The response has been amazing. I can envision this thing going nationwide. We can really take this thing as far as people want it to go.”

The organization is already working statewide and is slowly entering other states with its fostering program. “We were recently contacted by the Blue Star Mothers in Sand Springs,” Wheeler says. “They said, ‘We need your help.’”

A soldier in Sand Springs was being deployed and didn’t have anyone to care for [his] beloved Lab. Ironically, a veterinarian in Kansas heard about G.I. Wishes and had sent an email the day before saying that [he was] interested in fostering.

“It couldn’t have been more perfect,” Wheeler says. “The veterinarian was actually coming to Tulsa to do some shopping, and we arranged for the two to meet and swap the dog. He gets to play on a lot of land in Kansas, and when his owner gets back from deployment, they’ll be reunited; it’s just things like that.”

Things like that keep everyone involved with G.I. Wishes busy doing all they can to make the organization successful. Barry Abels is the owner of Access Opportunities, a consulting firm that works with small businesses and non-profit groups like G.I. Wishes. He started doing work for the group to help them with all the paper work to become a non-profit. He is now a grant writer, volunteer and foster.

“Unlike Rob, I didn’t serve in the military. So I owe these guys a great amount of debt for everything they’ve done and sacrificed,” he says. “Any small thing I can do to help, I’ll do it.”

G.I. Wishes is always looking for volunteers. The organization has information about how to get involved on its website at GIWishes.org. In fact, Abels walked his foster dog in Tulsa’s Boo-haha Parade this year, representing G.I. Wishes. The organization has also been at WoofStock, and participated the past two years in the Tulsa Veteran’s Day Parade. Supporters also go to local VFW locations spreading the word about their work, looking for help and those that need help.

It was actually at a local VFW that Wheeler says he met his most memorable case so far. He was visiting on Veteran’s Day and showing some adoptable pets when a man approached to take a look at one of the dogs. “He just [had] this look about him,” Wheeler says. “Like something was missing.”

The man told Wheeler that he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suffered from horrifying nightmares. “He would wake up from these very real, very scary nightmares and be all alone,” Wheeler says.

That’s when Wheeler remembered Jack, a huge 75-pound Lab the organization had rescued and put into a foster home. Wheeler told the man about Jack and watched as his eyes lit up with excitement. They planned a time for him to meet the hefty pup and parted ways.

“He called me every day it seemed,” Wheeler laughs. “He was so excited to meet Jack. I had to explain the whole process to him—that there was an application process, we had to call his references, he had to find out from his landlord what the pet policy was, but he was so excited.”

The day of the meeting came and went, but the eager veteran didn’t show. Worried, Wheeler called but there was no answer. “He called the next day and was so upset,” he says. “He had slept through it.”

The man had been up for days with nightmares and had finally passed out from exhaustion. He slept right through the meeting he had been so anxiously awaiting. Wheeler rescheduled the visit, and this time it was love at first sight. The man bonded with Jack immediately and wanted to take him home that day. Wheeler reminded him of the process and a few days later Jack and his vet were united.

“I got eight thank-you calls from him,” Wheeler says. “He was so excited. He did say that he wanted Jack to sleep with him, but he kept getting up and wondering around at night. I suggested he get a crate to put him in next to his bed, but he couldn’t afford one.”

So G.I. Wishes found a crate that was donated and arranged to meet and deliver it. “When he pulled up, he had Jack with him in his truck,” Wheeler says. “He told me that he takes him everywhere; they’re best friends.”

G.I. Wishes also helped the veteran fill out the paper work to by-pass his apartment’s pet policy. In Oklahoma there is a state ruling for therapy-type dogs that apartments must waive the pet deposit.

“We try to do everything we can,” Wheeler explains. “It’s all really on a need basis, and if we can’t help, we try to find someone who can.”

Wheeler says that there are an estimated 310,000 veterans in Oklahoma. His goal is to help at least 10 percent. The number of homeless pets in Oklahoma is growing every day, and there are plenty more like Jack out there just waiting to be matched with a veteran who needs him or her. They need each other and G.I. Wishes is meeting that need one pet and vet at a time.

One man’s great dream ends terrible dreams for another, a success story signed with a paw print.

For more information and to see their animals available for adoption visit www.giwishes.org.

Afternote: After the time of this writing TulsaPets Magazine learned that Banfield CharitableTrust has awarded a $7,500 grant to G.I. Wishes to be used to further the group’s mission. 

Can You Hear Me Now?

posted January 15th, 2012 by
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TulsaPetsMagazine.com

TulsaPetsMagazine.comClose your eyes, plug your ears and welcome to the world of a newborn puppy. Those adorable little balls of fluff snuggled up tightly to one another look so at peace and content, especially for lacking two major senses. The idea that pups are born functionally deaf (with their ear canals closed) and blind (with their eyelids tightly shut) makes every move and mealtime seem like quite an accomplishment. As the days pass, senses develop and exploring begins, but sadly, not for all. Some puppies, due to genetics, are born blind or deaf. Typically, blind pups are easy to identify, so their special needs can be met, but deaf dogs can be trickier to detect.

Any dog lover will tell you how amazing canines are, how smart and intuitive. So the thought of a dog overcompensating for a disability is no surprise. Dogs that are born deaf don’t know what they’re missing, and even though they can’t hear you call their name, they can feel the vibrations of your foot steps and come running. Many people never even know that their pet can’t hear them. How could they if sometimes Rover comes when called and other times he ignores them? They chalk it up to stubbornness.

If you find yourself frustrated by a non-responsive pooch, or one who responds half the time, a simple BAER test could be in order before deciding that your canine acts more like that of the swine family (aka pig-headed).TulsaPetsMagazine.com

The BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) machine/ procedure uses a computer to record the electrical activity of the brain in response to sound stimulation. This is the same test used to check the hearing of human infants, and it measures the same range of hearing. The test is not painful and can be performed on any dog over six weeks of age.

Unfortunately, BAER machines are very expensive and, therefore, not common. Only two are known of in Oklahoma. One is located at Oklahoma State University’s veterinary school and the other is right here in Tulsa at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Carol Best, owner of Best Friends, says the hospital purchased the machine in September, and the response has been very positive.

Oftentimes, the BAER test is used to detect deafness for breeding purposes. “As with any genetic problem, early diagnosis of the affected animals can keep them from being used for breeding and, therefore, should help reduce or eliminate the gene from the breed,” Dr. Best explains. As the BAER machine becomes more commonplace, those considering adoption from a deaf-prone breed may inquire if the dogs have been tested — eliminating any of the guesswork up front.

However, there are also benefits for the average dog owner who simply wants to better understand and meet the needs of his or her furry family member, making life easier for everyone in the home. The BAER test is the only sure way to know if a dog is deaf; it is a 100-percent reliable method for measuring the extent of hearing loss.

Dr. Best says certain breeds are more prone to deafness than others. Dalmatians and Australian Cattle Dogs are at the top of the list. Other breeds include: American and English Foxhounds, Boston Terriers, Bull Terriers, Collies, Dachshunds, English Setters, Fox Terriers, Great Danes (color linked), Great Pyrenees, Maltese, Miniature Poodles, and Scottish Terriers.

If you suspect that your dog might be deaf or have hearing loss, Dr. Best says there are some signs to look for. “They can include not coming when called, especially if their back is to you, not waking up when you come home, and having trouble locating where a sound is,” she says. “Signs of hearing loss can be subtle, especially if only one ear is affected.”

While the BAER machine can work on all types of animals, Dr. Best says it is mostly used for puppies. If you’re interested in having your pet’s hearing tested, you can contact Best Friends Veterinary Hospital at (918) 663-7595.TulsaPetsMagazine.com

By Kiley Roberson

Photos by Sirius Photography

Indoor Activities for Cooler Temps

posted November 15th, 2011 by
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By Stacy Pettit

Winter can be tough for pets and owners alike with biting temperatures and that knawing itch to get outside and play that can never be scratched.

And although the temperature outside might be dropping, that does not mean Fido and Mitten’s energy levels are dropping as well.

Well, TulsaPets Magazine has come up with a few ideas to keep both you and your furry friend entertained and moving this winter season.

Check out the list below for a few thrilling ideas to keep you busy during those chilling winter months.

1. How about taking a tip from Jack Frost outside? Try freezing one of your K-9’s favorite gooey treats, such as peanut butter, inside a Kong or other puzzle toy. Your pup will be entertained and stimulated while he tries to get to that gooey and delicious center.

2. Being confined indoors does not mean you have to stay in your own home. Why not head to your local pet supplies store and go on a shopping spree? Not only does your pet get to pick out his or her own toys for the day, but Fido and Mittens might also make a few other furry friends while browsing the store.

3. Every hound loves a magnificent mutt magic show! Let your pup watch as you place a treat under a cup on the floor. Then place two other cups next to it and switch the cups around in front of your dog. Once you stop, allow your pet to sniff out and nudge the correct cup. If he gets it correct, give him the treat and praise him for his magic trick! Warning: Keep the magic down to a minimum. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat might be a big headache and could end in chaos for said rabbit.

4. The great thing about indoor games is that they don’t have to cost you a dime. To keep your cuddly kitty entertained, try attaching a piece of material onto a string. Drag the material across the floor to grab your cat’s interest. Once you have Mittens’ attention, the chase is on!

5. Who says you are the only one who deserves a day at the spa? Truthfully, Fido has probably had quite a few more mud baths than you have, even if they were not approved by you first. Take a while to give your pup a pampering bath by using replenishing oils and washing away any signs of a dirty dog. Finish off the spa day by brushing your K-9’s coat, ensuring that he continues to be shiny and clean.

6. Everyone can feel a little closed in and secluded during the winter months, but inviting a few friends over always cures those winter blues. The same goes for your pet.

Invite friends with their furry companions over for a puppy play date.

7. If your pup is missing his normal routine of jumping in his backyard, try this trick. Use an old broomstick and prop it up in a doorway.

Then, teach Fido to hop over it. Hopefully, this game will allow your hopping hound to enjoy jumping without jumping onto the dinner table for that turkey dinner.

8. The trick to keeping your kitty entertained could simply be meeting other outdoor creatures’ needs. By hanging a bird feeder near a window, Mittens will have an irresistible scene to watch outdoors.

To ensure your furry feline is comfortable, make the perfect watch spot by placing a cushion or blanket by the watching window.

Try one, or all, of these suggestions to liven up an otherwise boring, chilly day. Your furry friend will thank you.