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Pets may need CPR, too

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With us today is Mallory White, a technician with Oakland Veterianary Refererral Servcies in Bloomfield Hills.

The rather beat up Frankie, a CPR "dummy" will help demonstrate.

You may wonder, how can you tell if your pet has stopped breathing?

Mallory says, "It might be hard to tell in all honesty, but the worst thing that you can do is not try to help them. The risk to doing CPR is far less than the risk from not helping them."

So, is it harder to tell if an animal is not breathing?

"Not necessarily," Mallory says, "But it's probably harder for people because they don't know what they're looking for. They'd be more familiar with how to tell with another person."

So what's the first thing you should do if you suspect an animal is not breathing?

"If that's the case, and you're concerned, and you think you might need to start CPR, then start," Mallory says.

"There are just going to be compressions that you are going to do- over the widest part of the chest in larger dogs. In smaller dogs and cats, you are going to do them more up here."

Mallory points to the area on the chest where the elbow meets it.

"And a good rule of thumb," Mallory says, "Try and keep in tempo with the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees."

That is the same suggestion for administering CPR to people.

"That gives us about a compression rate of 100 to 120 per minute," Mallory explains.

What about giving breaths?

Mallory says, "If you are able to and you have two people, then that's great. That's a great second part of CPR. But if it's just you, that could be a little tricky."

The recommendations for this are also the same as they are for people. Recent research shows that compressions are the most important part of successful CPR, but giving breaths can be helpful.

"If you do that, you are going to do about 30 compressions, and then coming over, taking a quick step, pulling the lips down over the mouth, and then putting your mouth over everything, their nose ," Mallory says.

Right over the snout, she adds, "You're making a nice big seal with their lips there. Then come back to your compressions. And keep going."

What about cats and small dogs?

"Sometimes with a small puppy or a kitten, you can almost use two hands," Mallory says, "Hold their entire body in your hands and press like this. So it really depends on the size of the pet. "


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