Mar 022003
Authors: J.J. Babb

When a pet gets sick owners may immediately rush to veterinary clinics, but arrive too late.

To prevent panic and lack of knowledge in the case of a pet emergency, CSU’s Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society offers a First Aid Course for Cats and Dogs.

This seminar has been offered once a semester for the past four years, with the goal to help pet owners understand an animal’s normal health and the proper procedures in case of an emergency.

“We’re teaching people that when there’s an emergency situation instead of panicking, they’ll know what to do,” said Lauren Afsahi, first year veterinary student and member of the society.

The seminar, which was held Saturday at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 300 W. Drake Road, featured a lecture by Tim Hackett, chief of the critical care unit at the VTH. Following the lecture participants learned skills through hands-on labs.

“The hands on is great,” Afsahi said. “We have the live animals here to practice on.”

The labs focused on CPR, bandaging and transportation, bleeding, normals (what temperature, heart rate, breathing is normal for the animal) and toxins.

These labs are designed to help pet owners recognize problems in their pets before they become too serious, although the seminar is not meant to replace veterinary care. Organizers hope the skills taught at the seminar will increase the animal’s chance of survival before arriving a veterinary clinic.

“Emergencies happen,” Hackett said in a press release. “It is important for pet owners to be able to recognize symptoms of common emergencies and to identify abnormal symptoms by knowing what’s normal for each animal. They should also know what resources are available for late night or weekend emergencies.”

Although pet owners Nina and Dan Davis believe Colorado has some of the best veterinarians due to the VTH being in town, they believe the seminar helps them know when to utilize the close veterinarian care.

“There’s a lot of gray area between a well dog and a sick dog,” Nina Davis said. “(We came here) to be better prepared.”

The Davises own two miniature schnauzers that are aging.

“Now we’re into diseases and aging so we’re at a new phase,” Nina Davis said. “It’s about how do we best help our dogs grow old with dignity.”

Dan Davis believes the seminar will help them be better prepared to handle any emergencies that come along.

“(It will help us) to be better prepared,” Dan Davis said. “So that we wouldn’t panic.”

Helping pet owners like the Davises is why third year veterinary student Ginny Gill, president of the society, has organized the seminar for the past three years.

“Colorado is a huge pet-owning state and I think it’s important for people to come to learn the basic things they can do in an emergency,” Gill said.

For more information call 226-3197 or e-mail the society at

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