The following are questions that you should ask and things to check before calling the veterinarian:
- What type of accident?
- Is the kitten safe from further injury?
- How is the kitten breathing?
- Mucous membrane color (gums)?
- Is the kitten alert or unconscious?
- Any bleeding? How much/from where?
- Can you feel a pulse or heartbeat?
- Any major wounds? Where?
- Is the kitten able to walk?
- Any obvious broken bones?
- How is the kitten breathing?
- Mucous membrane color?
- Is the animal alert or unconscious?
- Any vomiting or diarrhea? With what frequency, color, duration?
- Any abdominal distension?
- Is the kitten urinating? Any straining or blood?
- Any fever?
- Is the kitten on any medications?
Remember that a frightened or painful animal could bite or scratch. Be prepared with a cloth or with a large, thick blanket or towel to restrain a small animal. Have a family member or neighbor assist in transport.
Trauma: Make sure kitten is breathing. Reduce any bleeding with direct pressure. Arterial bleeding (spurting blood) may require a tourniquet. (Tourniquets can be dangerous if left on too long; transport immediately.) Secure kitten in a blanket or towel if possible to reduce movement. Transport to hospital immediately.
Choking: Be very careful when attempting to clear airway; kitten will often bite if panicked. The Heimlich Maneuver may work if an item is lodged in windpipe. (Note: coughing and gagging are often confused with choking--a kitten which is truly choking will move little or no air at all, and his gum color will be gray or bluish. A kitten who experiences periodic episodes of "choking" may be gagging.) Transport to hospital immediately.
Poisoning: Call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). DO NOT induce vomiting unless instructed to do so. If advised to induce vomiting, give Hydrogen Peroxide until desired result achieved. Some poisons are fatal over time; immediate treatment is crucial even if kitten does not appear sick. Bring the poison label with you if possible and transport to hospital.
Respiratory Distress: If kitten is gasping or breathing heavily, remove collars/leads and use minimal restraint during transport. Stay calm--kittens can sense and react to our stress. Transport to hospital immediately.
Seizure: Make sure that kitten cannot hurt himself. DO NOT attempt to place anything in his mouth. If poisons such as snail bait have been used recently, bring box with you to the veterinarian. Bundle kitten in a blanket--get help to transport kitten in case seizures occur. Transport to hospital immediately.
Straining to Urinate: Inability to urinate is life-threatening. There is no home aid. Transport to hospital immediately.
Diabetic Insulin Crisis: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be characterized by weakness, disorientation, seizures. Place Karo Syrup® on gums and transport to hospital immediately.
Nonproductive Vomiting or Retching: This is the most common sign of a life-threatening condition called "gastric dilitation and volvulus", or "torsion." There is no home aid. Transport to hospital immediately.
Bleeding (Hemorrhaging): For bleeding wounds, apply direct pressure with a thick cloth. If blood soaks through, apply additional cloths (do not remove original dressing). If blood is spurting from wound (arterial bleeding), apply tourniquet above wound. (Tourniquets are only practical on limbs, and can be dangerous if left on long, so transport immediately.) If kitten is bleeding from rectum, mouth or other orifice, no home aid is recommended. In all cases, transport to hospital immediately.
Heatstroke: Heatstroke is characterized by acute collapse, often following heavy activity in hot weather or confinement in a hot space such as a car. The kitten will pant heavily, and mucous membranes may be brick red. Give a cold water bath or drench with a hose and transport to hospital immediately.