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A time where pet first aid can be really important is in a situation where there's been a car accident. The most important thing for you to remember is to keep safe if you are involved or witness a pet involved in a car accident. If a pet bolts out into a road and it gets hit by a car, you must assess the situation and make sure that you're not going to do yourself any damage by running out to try and do what you can for that pet.

Cats and dogs are amazingly resilient and a lot of them will actually recover from their injuries, from car accidents, depending on the speed at which the cars were going and whether there's been any internal damage or not. A majority of the injuries that cats and dogs get from car accidents would be cuts, bruises and broken bones. So for cats, the most common thing we see are broken jaws and broken pelvises. Unbelievably with a broken pelvis, a cat will still often manage to get home and even get through a cat flap to let you know that something's happened. And it's only when they get home then that you will notice actually, they can't walk on their back legs, but they have managed to get home. If your cat has been in a car accident, the best thing to do is to start to do the head-to-toe examination as we have discussed before and just look for areas of bleeding and look for areas of pain.

With dogs, if they get hit by cars, again you can get fractures. Tends to be more limbs, rather than the jaw. And this is because they don't fall the same way as a cat. So when a cat is hit it will automatically bump its head down on the floor and the chin because there's not a lot of protection around there and they have a short mouth and short noses it's a higher risk of getting damaged. With dogs you can also find that they can have chest injuries, maybe a lung injury, and you could have a punctured lung, from the impact of the car hitting them. This can happen in cats as well. Again, you may not notice anything immediately because your animal or your pet won't be moving too much. You may not find that they are in respiratory distress. However, if they did try to exercise or do any further, you may find that they were out of breath and give you a clue as to where the injury might be. Once again, it goes back to doing a full clinical examination.

If your pet doesn't get up from the car accident and is evidently more injured than just a wound or a fracture where they can't actually walk away from it, then you may want to go out there and then you will be looking at the vital signs. So looking at the capillary refill time, feeling for a femoral pulse, counting respiratory rates, making sure that they are conscious because if they are not, this is when you may be looking at doing CPR on your pet.

If your pet has sustained multiple injuries from a car accident, you want to find a way to safely get them to the vets. There may be some situations where you are not able to transport your pet because they are just too painful to move even on to a board where you can then immobilize them and you just cannot touch them at all, because it's just unsafe to do so. In those situations, the vet would need to come out and sedate them before then bringing them into the vets for emergency care. In other situations where you are able to move your pets safely, you could consider using a carrier or a crate or a box whatever you may have in a car or other cars that may have stopped to help you, to try and transport a cat or a smaller dog. In the case of large dogs, you may want to use something bigger like a car mat or a car parcel shelf to try and get them on there too then move them safely into your car to transport them to the vets.