By Peggy Scott
When is a dog’s panting cause for alarm? What’s a cat’s normal resting heart rate? How do you stabilize a broken canine or feline limb without jeopardizing mobility rehabilitation? If you’re a pet owner and you don’t know all (or any) of the answers to these and other pet emergency questions, Karla Perez does, and she’s sharing her veterinary expertise in a pet first aid class, June 5 at Fido & Company Canine Country Club in Hillcrest.
Besides being certified in pet CPR by the American Red Cross, Perez, who co-owns Fido & Co. with Lisa Wilhoit McCormick, has 15 years of experience in the veterinary field, and knows how critical it is that care is administered quickly and correctly. But, she says, people have to know what to look for first.
“I want people to leave the class knowing what normal vitals are so they will know what’s an emergency,” Perez said. “Some people don’t recognize heat stroke, for example. They just think the dog is panting really hard. Bites can happen at the dog park. Animals get hit by cars. And cats and dogs are much more different than people even think.”
Perez also helps class participants work on keeping their cool under pressure.
“I work at Animal Specialty Group in Kearny Mesa as well as at its emergency unit,” said Perez, whose official title is head surgical nurse. “In the E.R. I’ve seen how vital composure is because it saves time.”
In her class, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., Perez will cover CPR, wound care and bleeding aid, stabilization for transfer to emergency care, poison treatment, seizures, choking and other emergency situations. The class uses animal mannequins – not pets– to learn techniques. The class fee is $70, which includes certification, an American Red Cross first aid DVD and an information packet.
Students will also go home with peace of mind, Perez hopes.
“I want people to leave class knowing what to do in order to stabilize their pet until they can get it to the vet,” she said. “In an emergency, literally every minute can make the difference between life and death.”
Pre-registration is required and space is limited. For more information, call 295-9663.
Pet assistance of another kind will be the focus of the Fiesta Del PAWS “Paw to Heart” Garden Party, June 6 from 3-6 p.m. at 1048 Myrtle Way adjacent to Balboa Park. PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) is a nonprofit agency that helps low-income elderly, the chronically ill and the disabled keep their beloved animal companions. PAWS is celebrating 10 years of Fiesta Del PAWS at this tribute to the life-saving bond PAWS clients share with their companion animals. The event will have live and silent auctions, food and drink, psychic paw readings, animal adoptions, a pampered pooch area and a “Best Dressed Pooch” contest. Tickets are $85 per person. For more information about Fiesta, go to pawssdc.org or call 297-7297.