Fundamental Foster Resources

Foster Pet Bite Protocol

Please follow this protocol if your foster pet bites you or any other human. 

 

If a bite occurs:

 

  1. Immediately remove the foster pet to a safe environment, i.e., a crate or other option that both prevents further injury to the person and provides a calm environment for the pet.

  2. Report the incident immediately to the Foster Team at foster@pvastx.org. If it is an emergency or you need immediate assistance, call or text 956-330-3206.

  3. Your email should include a detailed description of the incident and photos of any injuries (this can be done in a follow up email).

  4. PVAS will determine the pet’s future placement and any needed behavior modification or training.

 

If the bite resulted in an injury, follow these additional steps:

 

  1. Call 911 if injuries are life-threatening or severe (e.g. excessive bleeding, broken bones, person is in shock or unconscious).

  2. First Aid: Wash bite and scratch wounds with soap and water immediately.

  • If there is no break in the skin, no further action is required.

  • If a break in the skin occurred, stop any bleeding with pressure. If punctured, professional medical care should be sought as soon as possible to prevent further injury. Wounds should be monitored for redness and infection.

  1. The Foster Team will verify the status of the pet’s rabies vaccination and provide you with proof thereof, as needed. Note: Per Texas law, pets under the age of 3 months will not have been vaccinated for rabies.

  2. If the bite broke the skin (deep scratch, puncture wound, bleeding), it may be necessary to quarantine the foster pet for 10 days. This can usually be done in the foster home or, in some cases, may require a pet to serve the quarantine at PVAS. If the pet that bit is given a clean bill of health after 10 days, it could not have passed on the rabies virus at the time of the bite.

 

Bites are a serious issue and must be reported immediately per the instructions above. Reporting is especially important for a bite involving an unvaccinated dog or cat. 

 

Appropriate medical treatment is also crucial. An infected bite can cost thousands of dollars if not treated immediately and can cause sepsis, loss of function, or even death.

 

PVAS IS NOT liable for any damages relating to a bite or responsible for any medical bill or other cost associated with a bite (including any injury to another animal). If you choose not to seek medical help, PVAS IS NOT liable for any resulting consequences.

 
 

Levels of Emergency

PVAS Levels of Emergency for Fosters.jpg

Los niveles de emergencia

Español- PVAS Levels of Emergency for Fosters.jpg
 
 

Fading Kitten/Puppy Protocol

Fading Kitten/Puppy Syndrome is a life threatening emergency in which a pet “crashes” and begins to fade away. If not dealt with immediately it can result in death. If you are fostering kittens or puppies 6 weeks or younger, it is a very good idea to familiarize yourself with this handout so you know what to do if it happens.

 

Symptoms:

 

Extreme Lethargy - not getting up, unable to stand, not responding when pet

Gasping for breath

Whining/Crying out

Cold to the touch

 

When this happens, it is vital that you take these immediate steps!

FPS is caused by 2 things : Hypothermia (being too cold) and Hypoglycemia (not enough blood sugar). You must combat both of these things or the kitten/puppy will die.

 

Treatment:

 

Step 1- Get them warm:

Create the “burrito” towel. Immediately wrap the kitten/puppy up in a towel like a burrito leaving their face exposed only. Their whole body, tail, ears, and paws should be in the towel, only nose and mouth exposed. Do not take them out of the towel to adjust them, check on them, etc. - this is very important! Every time you take them out you will make them cold again, even if it is only for a second.

 

You must apply an extra source of heat (listed below). The pet's body can’t warm itself up with just a towel alone, you have to apply external heat. Also, your body temperature is much lower than what a pet's should be, so trying to warm them up with your body heat won’t work either.

If you have a heating pad - Then wrap a heating pad *turned onto low* around the towel - duct tape it or secure it around the towel so it stays wrapped around them. Don’t let the heating pad touch them directly, it can cause burns, make sure the ‘burrito’ towel is between their skin and the heating pad. If you don’t have a heating pad - you can either:

a) Keep your dryer running full of towels. Grab a new hot one every 5 minutes and wrap this new hot towel around the “burrito” towel. After 5 minutes, trade that towel out for a new hot one. Don’t remove the “burrito” towel.

b) Fill 2 socks full of rice, tie the ends of them so it doesn’t spill out. Throw them in the microwave for 3 minutes. Keep them next to the pet on the outside of the burrito towel. Every 30 minutes reheat one sock and leave the other next to the pet so they don't cool off.

 

Step 2- Raise their blood sugar:

Once you get the heat on them, get a bowl or Tupperware and a few tablespoons of sugar in some hot water. Stir it up so you get a sugary water solution- you don’t want it super syrupy like pancake syrup, but you do want it to be as strong as possible while still pretty runny. Undiluted Karo syrup or agave nectar can be substituted. Using a syringe or your finger, give 3 drops every 3 minutes into the mouth. If they aren’t swallowing, try not to get it down the throat, try to get it on the tongue or gums. Set an egg timer or use the stopwatch on your cell phone to make sure you are doing it at least every 3 minutes. Every 5 minutes or 10 minutes will not work, it must be every 3 minutes.

 

Step 3 - Call our Foster Team:

Call our Foster Team at 956-330-3206. Don’t leave your kitten/puppy to make this call or forget to do your sugar every 3 minutes. They won’t have any extra advice for you that isn‘t in this handout, but they will need to be made aware of what is going on. Starting on an antibiotic is usually necessary as even subtle changes in gut bacteria can cause FPS. 

 

Prognosis:

 

We generally have success with these pets if the above steps are followed. We DO NOT recommend you rush them to the vet for many reasons:

 

You have the motivation to sit right there with them and make them your top priority. A vet clinic has many patients it is helping and can’t give your kitten/puppy the 100% undivided attention you can give them.

 

Your pet will continue to be cold/hypoglycemic on the way to the vet, in the waiting room, in the hospital while they try to determine what is wrong, etc. Most pets won’t last long enough for them to start the treatments there.

 

Austin Pets Alive!’s Dr. Ellen Jefferson came up with these protocols based on what would be done if she saw these patients in her clinic.  Most clinics would do the same thing - try to keep them warm and get their blood sugar up. APA! did a test-trial period a few years ago of having all of the fading puppy syndrome seen by Dr. Jefferson or a technician to try other treatments, and they had a much higher failure rate (it was close to 100% failure) than if the foster did it themselves at home.  This was because the puppies were made to withstand travel and the clinic staff could not devote 100% of their time to them (but a foster can).

 

Keep in mind, it can sometimes take hours for them to come out of it and start acting normally again. Once they do come out of it, make sure you contact the Foster Team to discuss what could have possibly caused them to fade in the first place and make sure we have the kitten/puppy on all the right medical treatments for any illnesses they have that may have caused it. An exam may be necessary.

 

Also keep in mind, even with all the love and attention and perfect treatment of this condition, some of them still won’t make it. Try not to blame yourself during this difficult time. 

Emergencies in Kittens and Puppies (14 min. video)