Using an established process – like that set out below – allows you to effectively assess the situation.
Primary survey + resuscitation
The primary survey is the first impression you have of the situation and leads to the determination of the immediate actions. A well informed individual will be able to make a quick assessment of the scene and a quick examination of the dog.
Immediate attention is given to the dog’s level of consciousness, airway, breathing and circulation.
Resuscitation is then used in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Secondary survey + first aid
The secondary survey consists of an examination and assessment of the dog’s eyes, ears, nose, neck, chest, abdomen, back and extremities, along with procedures to stabilise and protect the dog from further harm.
Making A CRASH PLAN
Remembering the acronym A CRASH PLAN allows you to have a systematic approach to assessing a dog in need. This needs to be done carefully, gently and mindfully.
A stands for Airway – check for obstructions
C stands for Cardiovascular – check the heart beat
R stands for Respiratory – is the dog breathing?
A stands for Abdomen – look for deformities; DO NOT palpate
S stands for Spine – look for deformities; DO NOT palpate
H stands for Head – look for deformity and establish consciousness
P stands for Pelvic and anal areas – look for injury
L stands for Limbs – check for deformity
A stands for Arteries and Veins – check for signs of bleeding
N stands for Nerves – check ability to move limbs and tail