Signs of Feline Shock – What You and Your Vet Can Do
Being able to recognize signs of shock helps save lives. Shock is defined as a collapse of the heart and lungs (cardiovascular system). It is a group of signs that occur as a result of a life-threatening disease process or situation. There are different types of shock, and each type can be associated with a different type of emergency situation.
* Signs of shock include bright red gums initially, later they are a pale white color; rapid heartbeat; collapse; shivering; cold extremities; and weak pulses. Severe shock will lead to irreversible damage and death unless treated promptly. Treatment consists of intravenous fluids and steroids, warming to raise body temperature, and therapy for the underlying disease or condition.
WHAT YOU AND YOUR VET CAN DO
* In an emergency, you can first evaluate your cat’s condition by taking the cat’s temperature (normal is 100.4-103.1degrees F or 38.0-39.5degrees C); measuring the heart rate (normal heart rates are 130-140 beats per minute in kittens, and 100-120 beats per minute in adult cats; and measuring the rate of respiration which normally is 20-30 breaths per minute in cats.
Check gums for color and capillary refill time (press on gums with our index finger for one second and release – the gum color should return to a normal bright pink color in one to three seconds). Being able to perform CPR, may be life saving. Checking for eye responses, by touching the clear part of the eye called the cornea should elicit a blink. This allows you to tell whether an animal is actually alive.
* As a last resort, try cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while someone drives you to the veterinary hospital. CPR is normally only used for a cat that isn’t breathing and has no pulse. Place your cat on his right side. Remember the “ABCs” of CPR.
* A=Airway: open the cat’s airway by extending his head and neck, pull his tongue to one side, clear mucus from his nose and mouth, and then use your hand to swipe the back of his throat.
* B= Breathing: hold your cat’s mouth shut put your mouth over his nostrils and blow four times.
* C=Circulation: place one hand on top of the other with the heel of the bottom hand at the point where your cat’s front elbow meets his chest. Press firmly. Perform five compressions, and then give four breaths. Repeat. Continue CPR until you can detect a strong pulse or you arrive at the hospital.