Lucky Travis after his life was saved with pet kiss of life (Image: PDSA)
Quick-thinking Karen Hodge saved Travis the boxer with pet first aid skills taught by the country’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA. Using CPR and then breathing air through the unconscious dog’s nostrils, she was able to bring him round. Moments later, the dog walker had to instruct her daughter to perform the same life-saving first aid as Travis stopped breathing while they were rushing him to the vets by van.
Today both the PDSA and Travis’s owners applauded the mother and daughter's actions in saving the pet’s life.
Although Travis stopped breathing three times in quick succession, he has been put on long term medication after seeing a cardiologist.
Vigorous exercise, however, is off the agenda because his heart could stop at any time.
Pet charities recently produced a “good walkies” guide for professional dog walkers with tips on how walkers should react in an emergency and the need for them to be first aid trained and always carry a medical kit.
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Karen Hodge with Travis (Image: PDSA)
Karen, who recently completed a PDSA first aid course organised by the charity, Notts and Yorkshire Dog Rescue, was surprised she had to put her newly acquired skills to use so quickly.
It was while Karen was taking eight year old Travis on a walk through woods near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, that he seemed to slip and took a tumble.
She explained: “I’ve looked after epileptic dogs before so at first I thought it was a fit and knew what to do, but then he didn’t seem to recover as expected.
"He lost control of his bowels, and then I saw he’d stopped breathing and his eyes were glazing over.
CPR demonstration at PDSA first aid course (Image: PDSA)
"At that point I knew something was seriously wrong, and I needed to act immediately.
“The PDSA Pet First Aid course was great, it covered lots of information and we did demos too, so everything was fresh in my mind.
“I never thought I’d be using the skills so soon, but something just took over. I went into automatic and knew exactly what to do.”
The combination of heart compressions and canine kiss of life brought Travis round, although he was confused and unable to walk and needed carrying back to the van to be rushed to the vets.
Travis has been diagnosed with a heart condition (Image: PDSA)
"During the drive, the dog stopped breathing again, and Karen had to instruct 19 year old daughter Emily how to resuscitate while she drove.
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At the vets, Travis stopped breathing a third time and had to be revived by staff.
He was later diagnosed as suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart becomes enlarged and unable to pump blood around the body. Boxers and certain other large breeds are prone to the condition.
PDSA Community Vet Nurse, Kaya Hawrylak, who delivered Karen’s pet first aid course, praised her actions: “Travis is incredibly lucky to be alive, and he has Karen to thank for that.
"Our pet first aid courses enable people to learn vital emergency skills that can literally mean the difference between life and death for pets, until they can get to a vet.”
Travis playing with toy given to him by Karen Hodge (Image: PDSA)
Travis’s family, who have asked not to be identified, also applauded Karen and are now planning to attend the same first aid course.
They said: “We really can’t thank Karen enough. Without her, Travis wouldn’t still be with us.
"Thankfully, he’s pretty much back to normal, he still loves to play and to look at him you wouldn’t know anything was wrong with him.
"But it’s a real worry for us that this could reoccur, it’s like living on tenterhooks constantly.”
PDSA recommends all owners should have pet first aid kit (Image: PDSA)
PDSA vets advise all animal owners to keep a pet first aid kit at home and while travelling.
Keeping vets’ phone numbers in phone contacts can also help save valuable time in the event of an emergency.
PDSA’s Pet First Aid courses cost can be booked online for just a £5 booking fee, and are run on a regular basis throughout the UK.
For details of upcoming courses visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsaevents