Emergency Treatments

allergic reaction | bleeding | newborn kittens that are not breathing | unconsciousness

  1. Allergic Reaction
  1. Clinical signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and difficulty breathing (often manifested by panting or open-mouthed breathing as a dog would do). These reactions may occur following vaccination or drug injections.

  2. Treatment:
  1. EPINEPHRINE (1:1000) Dilute 1 mL in 10 mLs of saline and give 0.5 mL per 10 lbs. IM. See page H205 for details on epinephrine.
  • In severe cases, epinephrine can be given IV. If given IV, administer slowly.
  1. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY - Dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and triamcinolone are often used. These are given IM, IV, or SQ, depending on the product.
  1. Contact a veterinarian immediately.


  1. Bleeding

Bleeding can be slowed by utilizing many different methods:

  1. Apply direct pressure using clean towels, bandage material, and some type of tape or wrap. These dressings, once soaked with blood, should not be removed, but should be left on and additional layers placed over the old ones.
  2. Keep the pet calm and confined.
  3. If the bleeding on a limb is extremely severe, a tourniquet may be applied above the injury. A rubber band makes an effective tourniquet for a catís leg. Caution should be taken to ensure that the tourniquet is not left on for long periods of time.
  4. Contact a veterinarian immediately.


  1. Diarrhea - See page E155

  2. Newborn kittens that are not breathing

To stimulate respirations:

  1. Remove the mucous and membranes from the nose and mouth (a syringe or bulb syringe can help).
  2. Rub the body briskly with a warm towel and stimulate the nose and mouth.
  3. Place 1-3 drops of Dopram under the base of the tongue. This dose can be repeated in 2-3 minutes if the kitten is still not breathing.
  4. It is NOT recommended to swing the kitten in the air or hang it upside down. Swinging actually makes it harder for the kitten to breathe.


  1. Seizures - See page E750

  2. Unconsciousness (Giving CPR)
  1. Clinical signs: Recumbent (lying down), cold, pale gums, possibly not breathing. Injuries may be evident if the cause of unconsciousness is a traumatic event.
  2. Treatment: Find out if the cat is breathing and has a heart beat. Artificial respiration and heart massage (i.e. CPR) must be initiated immediately if the cat has no pulse and/or has stopped breathing.

To stimulate breathing:

  1. Remove any obstruction to the upper airway. This is done by reaching inside the catís mouth, feeling for any abnormal object, and removing it.
  2. Administer mouth to nose artificial respiration. The mouth of the cat must be gently shut or be partially covered. Blow air into the catís nose, then pause to observe if there is movement in the chest as the lungs fill with air. Care should be taken not to overinflate the lungs. Recent guidelines suggest rapid respirations (2 to 3 per second), should be given simultaneously with cardiac massages.

To stimulate the heart (heart massage):

  1. Perform heart massage (compression). Lay the cat with its right side down. Place the thumbs of both hands on one side of the chest, with the fingers of each hand on the other (see Fig. 1). The best location for this is right behind the catís elbows. Firmly compress the chest between the fingers and thumb. These compressions should be given repeatedly at the rate of 2 to 3 per second concurrently with artificial respirations.

If both breathing and heart have stopped:

  1. Administer simultaneous heart compressions and artificial respirations at the rapid rate of 2-3 compressions and 2-3 respirations per second. Continue this pattern until the heart begins to beat and the cat breathes on its own.
  1. Contact a veterinarian immediately.
 Figure 1
Performing heart compressions
  1. Vomiting - See page E924

  2. Weakness - See page E948