Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category

Knowing First Aid Can Minimize Pet’s Trauma

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

By Carrie Harrington
Marin Humane Society


(Photo by Kristin Herrera)

Our pets rely on us to take care of them when they’re sick or injured. But if we’re not prepared, panic and confusion might hinder our ability to act when they need us most. The best way to increase your chances of responding quickly and calmly to a pet emergency is to familiarize yourself with basic pet first-aid techniques.

“Properly applied first aid can minimize a pet’s trauma and even save its life until you are able to transport them to a veterinarian,” says Dr. Jim Clark of the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin. Clark and PESCM staff have treated animals for countless life-threatening conditions.

In an emergency situation, your first priority should always be to protect yourself. Before approaching an injured animal, carefully assess the scene to check for hazards (such as, electrical wires, traffic, unstable structures, etc.). If all looks clear, approach slowly and with caution. Any injured animal has the potential to bite.

An animal should be muzzled and properly restrained before any care is administered. If necessary, you can make a homemade muzzle on the spot using a piece of cloth. It may be dangerous to muzzle an animal that is coughing, vomiting, having trouble breathing or resisting. In this case, do not attempt treatment on your own.

Practice measuring vital signs on your healthy pet so that you become sensitive to changes that signal a medical emergency.

The heartbeat of a dog or cat can be felt by laying an animal on its right side and placing your hand over its chest, just behind the left elbow. Normal heart rates for dogs average 60 to 160 beats per minute, while cat heart rates average 160 to 220 beats per minute. A pulse also can be measured with your middle and index finger on the inner thigh, just below the wrist and just below the ankle.

You can measure an animal’s breathing rate by observing its sides to watch its chest expand. Normal dog breathing rates are 10 to 30 breaths per minute, while cat breathing rates average 20 to 30 breaths per minute.

While it may be difficult to practice taking your pet’s body temperature, note that temperatures from 100 to 104 degrees are considered an emergency.

If an animal has stopped breathing, knowing the ABC steps (airway, breathing and circulation) can mean the difference between life and death. If there is no breathing despite a clear airway, you will need to perform artificial respiration.

If there is no pulse, compressions alternating with breaths will be necessary.

Difficulty breathing, seizures, excessive bleeding, shock, poisoning, heatstroke and snake bites are some of the more obvious situations constituting an emergency. Learn what is normal for your pet so that you are able to recognize when something is abnormal.

Always have the phone number for your emergency veterinarian handy, too.

Carrie Harrington is the director of communications at the Marin Humane Society. which contributes Tails of Marin articles. Visit; follow them on Twitter at

Illinois Teen’s Heroism in Barn Fire Saves 25 Horses

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Long time Arabian horse trainer and judge, Richard Wright, was the victim of every horseman’s nightmare on Wednesday when a fire broke out in his 64 stall, 25,000 square-foot barn near McHenry, IL. The five-alarm fire ripped through Black Tie Stable shortly after 5 p.m. With no hydrants in the vicinity, at least 21 fire departments were needed to help out, along with tankers, according to McHenry’s Northwest Herald.


Before the tankers arrived, however, 15 year-old Madison Wallraff pulled up to the property with her step-father and saw flames. After dialing 911, Wallraff ran into the barn and began pulling horses from their stalls. Returning to the blazing barn repeatedly, Wallraff, later joined by Shannon Weitzman, 21, pulled at least 25 horses to safety–a response that has horse owners everywhere calling Wallraff a hero.


“Madison Wallraf is one brave young lady and some 25 horses, many of them Arabian’s, are alive today because of her incredible bravery in the face of life threatening circumstances. I think I can safely speak for AHA’s some 30,000 members in celebrating Madison’s truly heroic efforts,” says Lance Walters, Arabian Horse Association (AHA), president. “This act of selfless courage by Madison and fellow rescuer, Shannon Weitzman, with no concern for their personal safety, exemplifies the bond between the horse and the people who love them,” added Walters.


Seeing animals and members of their own community in need, many near McHenry jumped into action to support Wright and his clients by offering care for the surviving horses. Those not as close or without the means to help directly turned to the Internet to express their sympathy with donations to the Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund (AHDF) at “It’s amazing the scope and breadth of the people who want to help in these situations. Everybody cares, and they care in the same way,” says Mary Trowbridge, an AHDF Board Member. “We didn’t even really reach out, but the outpouring of support actually crashed our server for a short time,” says Trowbridge. AHDF is accepting donations that can be earmarked directly toward the Richard Wright fire.


According to the Northwest Herald, a total of 18 horses were lost in the fire and the cause of the fire is unknown and is not thought to be suspicious.