cover storiesPet First-AidPet First-AidWith April designated as National Pet First-Aid Awareness Month, it’s an opportune time to put client educational plans into action.With April designated as National Pet First-Aid Awareness Month, it’s an opportune time to put client educational plans into action.Prepare for Pet First-Aid Awareness
|Dr. Amy Shroff shows pet owners in a first-aid class how to check a dog’s mucous membrane color.|
By Marissa Heflin
Veterinary Practice News
A veterinarian’s role is not just about helping injured and sick animals. It is about client education, says Amy Shroff, VMD, emergency and critical care chief of staff at Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center of New England in Waltham, Mass.
With April designated as National Pet First-Aid Awareness Month, it’s an opportune time to put client educational plans into action.
The better veterinarians train pet owners on how to prepare for emergencies and how to act when one occurs, the better chance the pet has to survive, says Dr. Shroff, who holds pet first-aid classes at her clinic.
She says that the classes have been increasing in popularity, going from quarterly to almost monthly, drawing sometimes as many as 50 people.
The classes teach pet owners how to recognize if something is wrong with their pet, including teaching them to take their pet’s pulse and temperature, and what to do in case of an emergency.
This includes creating a first-aid kit, applying bandages and the fundamentals of disaster preparedness.
“I think a class like this should be taught everywhere,” says Shroff, who also gives off-site classes. “It’s really easy to put on. Using this basic outline you can start up classes in your own town.”
Pet owners bring their dogs (the clinic holds a separate workshop for cat owners using a demonstration cat) to class for a lecture, which includes a handout listing first-aid kit necessities and emergency contact numbers, and an interactive workshop in which pet owners are given hands-on first-aid training.
For smaller hospitals or those unable to hold classes at their clinic, Shroff suggests looking into student and senior centers. Clinics can also partner with other pet hospitals in their area.
Shroff says her clinic has begun charging a nominal fee, which is given to charities, but pet owners don’t seem to mind.
“[The classes are] a lot of fun and it helps bring the veterinarian closer to their clients, and I think it’s a great community outreach service,” Shroff says.
For more information on conducting first aid classes, call the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center of New England at (781) 684-8387 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.