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How to Recognize a Small Pet Emergency

Knowing how to recognize a small pet emergency could help you save your little friend's life. Unlike dogs and cats, small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and rodents get ill very quickly which may lead to fatality. The old adage that goes, "it's always best to be safe than sorry" applies perfectly to taking care of your small pets. Once you get to know how to recognize a small pet emergency, you somehow give your pet one less reason from leaving you behind unexpectedly.

You should know that the first sign that your pet is nearing an emergency situation is when he suddenly stops eating. If you're new to taking care of small pets and more used to dogs and cats as pets, your first instinct is to put your pet under observation for a day or so, right? But with small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and rodents, you CAN'T afford to wait that long. Your pet might be dead in a matter of hours if you don't know how to recognize a small pet emergency like this one and act on it right away.

Check your pet's vital signs. In rabbits, the normal rectal temperature is 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit; heart beat is at 130-325 beats per minute; and respiratory rate is at 32-60 breaths per minute. In guinea pigs, average rectal temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit; respiratory rate is 42-105 breaths per minute; and heart rate at 240-250 beats per minute.

If you find out that your small pet's rectal temperature is less than the average, wrap him with a warm towel. Further, if you learn that your pet's temperature is greater than the average, moisten his ears and bottom feet with rubbing alcohol or place him on a towel wrapped in ice bag.

Knowing how to recognize a small pet emergency due to respiratory dangers could be tricky. If you find your pet hardly or not breathing at all, first check his chest for presence of any foreign body. Pull his tongue out just a bit, close his mouth and tilt his head to open up his airway. Try to administer CPR by blowing 4-5 breaths into his nose. You should know your CPR is working when you see you pet's chest rise. Be careful, though, not to blow him too much air, or you might just risk more danger.

Knowing how to recognize a small pet emergency due to heart circulation issues would also require an owner to know small pet CPR. If you find your pet's pulse dangerously slow, place him flat on the ground and gently compress the heart between your first finger and thumb at 70-90 times per minute. If pulse stops, commence with CPR.

However, remember that these immediate solutions to small pet emergencies are only temporary. You should rush your small pet to the nearest vet or emergency clinic as soon as possible. Don't forget to bring your pet's medical records if you're not going to your regular vet. A trained professional should be able to accurately diagnose your pet's illness and can also give you more advise on how to recognize a small pet emergency.