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Pets can be hard to give medicine to at the best of times. But imagine, if you will, having the use of only one hand and arm. Say What??? Come again??? I understand; that concept would never go through your mind unless you’re in that position. Why would it!
So I went to the local veterinarian clinic to find out just how the professionals, if they were in that position, would handle the situation. I gave not one, not two, but three scenarios to the veterinarian hoping to receive positive responses for each scenario. Here’s what the veterinarian had to say….
An individual that has an arm amputation must use their legs and the surrounding environment to complete the task of giving their pet medication. Environment??? What could I possibly use in my surroundings to aid me in giving my pet medication? Well… you could include walls, sides of cupboards, countertops, and doors. Now I bet you are scratching your head and asking yourself how you could include the previously mentioned examples.
Let me lay it out for you. Depending on the size of your pet the use of your legs is straightforward. If you have a large to medium pet you will want to straddle the animal and pin it with your knees, not to hard but enough so your pet won’t move as much. On a smaller pet you will need to kneel down and perform the same action previously mentioned. Also, pertaining to a smaller pet, one of my colleges knows a great trick on how to keep the movement of your pet to a minimum. What you do is put your pet into the leg of an old pair of pants and slide it down until its head pops out the other end. Sweet, eh! All neat and tidy like a present on Christmas morning.
I diverge, any who…. back to the task at hand. Ok, we know what the environment consists of and how to incorporate your legs. Now I will describe each task then what the veterinarian advises to do.
First task: How do you administer eye drops to your pet? Second task: How do you administer ear medication? Third task: How do you administer oral liquid medication? Ironically it is the same method for each task and here it is. For large to medium size dogs back them up to the wall, corner of wall, door, or cupboard, then straddle your pet and pin with knees, if eye is on opposite side of your arm, wrap your are j arm under the pet chin and pinch chin with the crux of your elbow and administer medication. If eye is on the same side of arm the stance is the same however you need to pin the head of your dog to the inside of your leg then administer medication. For administering ear medication the method is exactly the same, but for oral liquid medication you can use either method. Smaller dogs everything is the same except you need to kneel down.
I know I know your wondering where the countertop comes in to play. Mainly for cats but you can also use this technique for small dogs. What you do is put your small pet on top of the counter and pin it against the wall and countertop with your forearm and stabilize the head with your wrist then administer the medication to the eye, ear or mouth.
That’s it! Easy peasy… right… Well not exactly. First you must take in consideration if your pet is high strung, if so, then this method is probably not for you and your pet. You’ll just have to find a friend or family member to help or make an appointment with your vet. Another thing to keep in mind as well is that your pet has to trust you and be willing to cooperate. If not, well then, there’s a lot of work ahead of you.
Oh, I almost forgot. Giving your pet medication in pill form is way easier now. You use to hide the medication in peanut butter or try to hide it in their food. Now they came out with treats that have pockets so that you can put the medication in the middle of it then squish it shut. OH HAPPY DAY! There was one more tidbit I have for you before I go. Maybe you already know but I didn’t so I’ll throw it your way. Ready??? They now make medication with different flavors! Isn’t that AWESOME? Chicken, Beef, Fish, plus 12 other flavors are available for your pet’s enjoyment. Your pet will love you and at the same time make your job that much easier.
That’s all I have for you today so I’ll be signing off. Remember, believe you can and your halfway there!
By James Pickard, Independent Living Specialist
University of Idaho Pitman Center, Vandal Ballroom
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