Rescuing an Injured Animal

injured animalAs a animal lover from birth, I have a hard time leaving wild, lost or hurt animals alone.  Just the other day I was working outside with a friend when we noticed a baby squirrel.  To me the squirrel needed rescuing, when in fact, his mom was right near by.  Luckily, after I held it a bit, we found it’s sibling to put it near and the mom took it back.  Obviously, my over zealous need to rescue wasn’t needed, but many times people bring dogs or other animals to a veterinary clinic that have been in an accident or found injured.  Knowing how to approach an injured animal and what to do with them is important.

Approaching an Injured Animal

You can’t always guess how an injured animal may react.  They may be scared, in shock, in pain or all of the above.  When you first approach an injured animal, you can almost tell if they are open to your approaching or more likely to growl and bite.  You need to take precaution, even if they appear friendly, because you can’t always predict what they will do.  An animal in a crisis, even if they are usually docile, can snap.  Take the advice from your veterinary clinic and approach with caution.  It is a good idea to keep something between you and the animal like a towel or a sheet.

If the animal is a wild animal, you want to make sure you don’t get bit.  Rabies is a concern you don’t want to mess with.  We cannot advise you to rescue a wild animal, if you take it upon yourself to help a wild animal, wearing gloves and getting another person to help if possible, will make things go better.

Examining the Wounds

If you are able to see what injuries the animal has, you can determine if lifting the animal is safe.  Sometimes animals need to be lifted with care to avoid hurting them further.  Unless you are a trained veterinarian, you probably won’t be able to completely diagnose what is wrong with the animal and the extent of the injuries.  If you know any basic first aide you can offer that to the animal if they will let you.   Sometimes cleaning a wound and allowing it to heal is all that is necessary to help the injured animal get back on its own.  If the animal is wild, you are better off returning it to its home after it is well than trying to keep it as a pet.

No one likes the thought of putting an animal out of its misery.  Sometimes an injured animal is in so much pain or their injuries are to the extent the best thing you can do for the animal is to end its suffering as quick as possible.

Calling Your Veterinary Clinic

If you decide the injuries require veterinarian assistance, you can call your veterinary clinic and see if they can help.  Many times someone there is willing to help with an injured animal.  If it is someone’s pet, they will be glad you brought them in for help.  Other organizations exist that can help with animal rescue and wildlife.

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you are safe when you attempt to rescue an injured animal and that you provide the animal with the most humane care.  If you have any questions, please call your veterinary clinic in Richmond, Advanced Animal Care