Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pets in Peril How to Help Save an Animal's Life in an Emergency

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pets in Peril How to Help Save an Animal's Life in an Emergency

Article excerpt

NBC news correspondent Dawn Fratangelo used to allow her two cats on the terrace of her New York City apartment. The iron railing, she thought, would protect them.

But one hot August night, Fratangelo called their names and only one came inside. The search for her missing feline ended when she looked over the terrace railing and saw her tabby, lying motionless, in her neighbor's garden patio four floors below. Its gray fur was matted with blood.

Once at his side, Fratangelo carefully slid her cat onto a flattened piece of cardboard. She and a neighbor, both still in pajamas, rushed to New York City's Animal Medical Center.

"I was a wreck," Fratangelo recalls. "I felt like it was my fault."

The animal was treated and miraculously recovered in three months. Did this cat use up one of its nine lives, or did the swift action of its owner save its life?

"A lot of animals die while someone wastes valuable time figuring out what to do," says Michael Garvey, chief of medicine at the Animal Medical Center. "If you have a pet in your house, know the right reaction before a medical emergency strikes."

Are you prepared? Top vets give their lifesaving advice for the most common animal accidents.

Poisoning: Household products such as dishwashing detergent, antifreeze and medications are toxic to pets. Be wary of warning signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and strained breathing. Alert your vet to evidence: unusual odors, powders or liquids on the animal's coat; peculiar-smelling breath; spilled antifreeze. Follow instructions from an animal poison hot line. The number for the National Animal Poison Control Center: (800) 548-2423; per-case fee, $30.

Bee sting: Puppies, kittens and some adult animals can have extreme allergic reactions to bee stings. Seek treatment if your pet faints, vomits, drools, scratches excessively or develops facial swelling. Otherwise, pull the stinger out with tweezers and apply a cool compress. Fall from a window: It's common for urban cats to fall from windowsills and balconies. …

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