Pet instructor skill review

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Choking - How common is it at the vets?

Video 60 of 176
1 min 53 sec
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Pet Choking Incidents: Prevention and Response

My 15 Years as a Veterinarian

During my **15 years** as a veterinarian, I've encountered only four cases of choking in animals. Three of these incidents involved tennis balls, while the fourth was caused by food lodged in the oesophagus of a working dog. Although I successfully managed to clear three of the cases, unfortunately, the dog with the blocked tennis ball didn't survive.

The Challenge of Timely Intervention

One significant challenge in such cases is that they often occur when the animal is outdoors. Transporting a large dog to the vet can take precious time, which might be unavailable in critical situations. Therefore, it's advisable to attempt clearing the obstruction at the scene if it's a genuine choking incident. Waiting until you reach the vet may prove too late.

Clearing the Obstruction

One way to clear an obstruction is by forcing air into the dog's chest to dislodge it. Typically, this involves performing abdominal thrusts, a technique we can demonstrate. However, many cases may not require any assistance because some dogs can clear obstructions on their own. They are skilled at managing such situations, which explains the rarity of choking incidents.

Preventive Measures

If you suspect that a toy or ball you have could potentially cause an obstruction in your dog, it's best not to use it. Avoid giving such items to your pet to prevent choking. In my experience, three out of the four incidents I've encountered involved tennis balls or similar toys. To ensure your pet's safety, exercise caution and select toys that pose no choking hazard.