Home
JoAnna Lou
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
First CPR Guidelines for Pets
Researchers identify the ideal rate for chest compressions

Demand for pet first aid and CPR classes has increased as animal lovers look for ways to be prepared in an emergency. Until recently there was no standard for the canine and feline version of the procedure, despite the fact that laboratory animals were instrumental in developing CPR guidelines for people.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University set out to change that by looking at decades of peer-reviewed data to determine the proper rate for chest compressions. Earlier this month they published the first set of evidence-based guidelines for resuscitating dogs and cats with stopped hearts.  

The researchers found the ideal rate of chest compressions is 100 to 120 per minute, the same rhythm used for humans. Doctors and medical students have found it helpful to think of the Bee Gees disco hit, Stayin' Alive, to help keep the ideal beat when performing CPR.

Fortunately sudden cardiac arrest is not as common in dogs as it is in people. It's thought that the condition in pets is closer to what occurs in young athletes with structural abnormalities of the heart muscle or a defect in the electrical circuitry. Pets can also suffer cardiac arrest due to difficulty breathing or a severe illness that also affects the heart.

Now that there's a CPR standard in place, I hope that veterinarians will be more proactive about getting this information out to pet parents. I would also like to see pet first aid certification becoming a requirement for those who work in animal-related fields like pet stores or doggy daycares.

Have you taken a pet first aid class?

Print|Email
JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

More From The Bark

More in JoAnna Lou:
Dog Allergic to Humans
High Tech Collars for Border Patrol Pups
Optimism in Dogs
Dog to Be Killed in Ebola Fight
The First 'Pup Nup'
British Airways Launches Onboard Pet Entertainment
Borrowing a Pup on Vacation
Do We Over Include Our Pups?
Latest Shock Collar Research
OSU's Full Time Pet Therapy Program