On the road, especially if it is dark, animals can be difficult to see. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may accidentally bump into an animal. If this happens, try to remain calm. You can help the animal if you don't panic and quickly assess the situation. If you follow a few simple steps, you can learn to help animals that have been hit by a car.
Part 1 of 4: Assessing the Situation
Step 1. Keep yourself safe
If you're looking for an animal that got hit in the middle of the road, you're in an unsafe area. What's more, if it's dark, other vehicles may not see you and you may be injured. You should always be on the lookout for other vehicles and assume that they can't see you.
- Be sure to check road conditions and listen to the sounds of the cars. Be especially careful if the road is a busy road.
- Do not stop and try to help if you run into an animal on a busy road or expressway because the risk to your own safety is too great.
Step 2. Use lights
If it's dark, you'll need to use a flashlight or other light sources. This will allow you to see the animal and help make you visible to others. Even if the incident occurred during the day, you should also turn on the vehicle's hazard lights (emergency lights) to alert other vehicles to your presence.
You can also turn on your vehicle's headlights if the injured animal is within reach of the light. However, if not, you can turn it off so as not to use up the car battery
Step 3. Find the animal
In most cases, the location of the animal will be easily visible. The animal is usually still on the road or on the side of the road. However, some animals, especially wild animals will use the last of their strength to run and hide.
- If you can't see it, look for the animal by looking for traces of blood or plants that appear to have been stepped on.
- If the animal you hit is a wolf, large deer, or other dangerous animal, you should not approach it without the help of someone else.
Step 4. Seek help if the animal hit is a wild animal
The animal you hit may be a wild animal. Not only aggressive, injured wild animals are also likely to act violently. Before touching a wild animal, you should prepare yourself as best you can. If the area is covered by a cell phone signal, contact the nearest veterinarian, animal welfare agency or animal rehabilitation center. You can find the phone numbers online or 108.
- These parties may be able to send staff to assist you. If they agree to help, don't leave the animal behind so you can guide the staff to the location.
- If possible, wait for help to arrive. Animal care institutions or animal rehabilitation centers will have special equipment for handling wild animals, such as leather gloves, special restraints, and cages.
- Do not approach animals that are considered dangerous or too large such as wolves, foxes, bears, or large deer. With these animals, always wait for help from staff so you don't get hurt. Professionals know how to handle these animals.
- Do not handle injured animals yourself if medical personnel are on the move. Remain in the area until help arrives.
Step 5. Do not approach overly aggressive animals
If the animal you meet is very aggressive, you shouldn't approach it even if you can't get help. Also, don't approach him if the animal is shaking uncontrollably, has a drooping jaw, or is drooling white like foam. These are signs that the animal may have rabies.
If you can't call for help when you hit this type of animal, you should pay attention to its location and then go to a place where you can make a call
Step 6. Help the wild animal if no one else can help
If the animal is a stray animal but there is no veterinary authority or veterinarian available to help, you must plan how to safely lift and transport it. If the animal is small, you will need to find a suitable box or container in the car to move it.
- If the animal is large, you may have to put it in your trunk. You may also need a large cardboard or blanket to move them around.
- You should also look for gloves or other protective equipment. These tools will help you to move the animal. Don't pick up the animal until you're sure you're ready to handle it.
Step 7. Rescue the pet
Pets are used to humans and compared to wild animals, you can approach and calm them more easily. However, you still have to be careful because animals that are in pain will be aggressive. So you have to prepare yourself and act accordingly.
- These animals should be treated like wild animals. Look for containers or wooden boxes that are large enough for small animals. Also look for objects that can be used to move them as well as blankets or cardboard.
- You should also first find protective equipment for handling pets. This is because pets can become ferocious, especially when injured.
- If the animal lets you approach it, make a brood. This is so that you do not get bitten by the animal.
Part 2 of 4: Handling Animals
Step 1. Check the animal for injuries
Before touching and trying to move it, you should watch the animal from a distance. See if the animal is breathing normally (breathing every 3-4 seconds). Also see if the animal is trying to get up or not and if so, whether its leg is injured or not.
If the animal is not trying to get up, look for an obvious injury such as an open fracture, excessive bleeding, or an open wound
Step 2. Approach the animal
You can approach him if you have decided that the animal needs help and there are no medical personnel available to help. As you approach it, you should move slowly and calm the animal. Use a calming tone when talking because the animal is scared and in pain. Depending on the breed and size, you will have to approach the animal in different ways.
- For small animals (the size of a cat), cover the animal with a blanket or jacket. This will prevent the cat or small animal from biting or scratching you while you are helping it.
- Dogs can be handled in several ways. You have to assume that the dog can bite. The first option is to cover his head with a blanket to cover his teeth. However, the most likely option is to wrap a tie or bandage around the dog's muzzle as a temporary muzzle. Once the mouth is closed, you can more safely examine the injury.
- Whatever method you use, make sure that the animal can breathe and is not overcrowded. If you must make a brood, be sure to leave room for the animal to breathe.
Step 3. Look for signs of shock
The animal you hit may be in shock. Even if they have no physical injuries, animals can die from shock. Notice if the animal is panting. Other symptoms of shock include fainting, weakness, rapid breathing, pale gums, cold soles of the feet, long-lasting discoloration under the nails, and a lack of response to stimuli.
If the animal appears to be in shock, you may need to help it on the spot before taking it to a medic. Do this only if you feel you have to save his life
Step 4. Cover the animal
On the roadside, the help you can provide to a shocked animal is limited. The best thing you can do is keep the animal warm and find or take it to a medical professional as soon as possible. The body of an animal in shock may be very cold because its circulation is impaired. If you can touch it safely, you should feel the temperature of the animal's paws. If the soles of the paws feel cold to the touch, the animal is suffering from cold and you should cover it.
- Cover pets that have not suffered serious external injuries with a car rug, jacket, or blanket. If the animal is small, cover the area around it so it doesn't touch the ground.
- Never give pain medication to the animal. The drug will not be absorbed by his body (especially in a state of shock) and settles in his intestines. This can cause serious stomach ulcers that can be life threatening.
- Cover animals that are bleeding or injured and require stabilization as best as possible. However, the bleeding area should be left exposed.
Step 5. Take care of the wild animal
If a stray appears dazed but has an external injury, try to keep it warm while waiting for medics to arrive. Don't try to treat the wounds. If he doesn't recover and remains dazed, his best chance of survival is to be treated by an animal rehabilitation officer. If no staff is available to help, you will need to transfer the animal to the nearest hospital or clinic.
If breathing is difficult, the animal may try to get up for a few minutes and then leave. Don't try to stop it. His best chance of survival is to stay in his territory in the wild because his nests and food sources are there. Unnecessary transfers will only make it difficult for the animal to return when released
Part 3 of 4: Coping With Traumatic Injuries
Step 1. Stop the heavy bleeding
Traumatic injuries cause two types of blood loss; severe bleeding due to rupture of an artery or vein and seeping of blood from the wound. Compared to seeping blood, wounds that emit blood should take priority. If the wound is dripping with blood, you should try to stop the blood flow by applying pressure to the area with a cotton swab. The pressure must be strong enough to prevent blood from seeping out.
If within 5 minutes after the cotton is removed the blood starts to come out again, press the wound again for another 5 minutes. Sometimes, re-pressurization is needed to stop the bleeding
Step 2. Dress the wound
If re-pressing doesn't work, you'll need to bandage the wound. Wound dressings are another way of putting pressure on the wound and can help stop bleeding when you move the animal. To do this, place a cotton swab over the wound. Then, wrap the area with a bandage or piece of cotton cloth until it is firmly held.
- Apply pressure when you bandage it so that the bandage feels strong when squeezed. The distance between the bandage and the skin should not be more than the width of a finger.
- Dressings can run the risk of impairing limb circulation if left on for hours, but can be done if the animal may suffer fatal blood loss. After that, you should also immediately take the animal to a medical officer.
Step 3. Make a tourniquet
If there is blood spurting out, the animal may have an arterial haemorrhage. This bleeding is very serious and you may have to make a tourniquet. To do this, wrap the animal's paw with shoelaces or a tie so that it is between the wound and the heart. Tie the tourniquet until the bleeding stops. Remember to take him to the staff immediately because a tourniquet can stop blood flow to other parts of his leg.
- Only use this technique if necessary and if you suspect that the animal could die from blood loss. The use of tourniquets is still controversial because tourniquets risk cutting off blood circulation and paralyzing body parts. You can reduce this risk by loosening the tourniquet every 10 minutes to allow blood to flow back to other parts of the animal's leg.
- If you're with someone else, ask them to drive while you keep the tourniquet pressed.
Step 4. Treat bleeding
In this type of wound, blood seeps but does not drip. In this case, no technique is necessary because the rate of blood loss is usually harmless. If needed, collect clean, cotton-based materials such as a sterile swab from a first aid kit or clothing. Place the cloth around the wound and press firmly.
Keep the pressure on for 3-5 minutes and then remove the cloth. The bleeding should have stopped. If that doesn't work, you can leave the wound alone and take the animal to a medic or bandage the wound
Step 5. Don't clean the wound
Do not try to clean wounds that animals suffer on the side of the road. To be effective, dirt or contamination must be cleaned thoroughly and requires plenty of sterile saline solution. This can only be done at a fully equipped veterinary clinic or animal rescue center.
Don't waste time checking for bleeding and get the animal to the clinic as soon as possible
Step 6. Support the broken bone
If you see or suspect that the animal has a broken bone, do not trying to straighten the body part or push the protruding bone back in. This will make the animal feel great pain, exacerbate the shock and can cost him his life. If it appears drooping, support the body by placing your hands under it as you lift the animal.
- If the animal has an open fracture and you have a first aid kit, cover the bone with a sterile swab to reduce contamination. Lift the animal while supporting its body and put it in your vehicle.
- You should not cover or bandage the body on the side of the road unless the bleeding is severe. The dressing can put pressure on the broken bone and cause the animal to feel more pain. Just try to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Part 4 of 4: Moving Animals
Step 1. Move the small animals
Once covered, lift the animal and support the front and back with your hands. If the animal is not blanketed or needs to be moved to a cleaner or warmer place, you should transfer it as gently as possible to the blanket. Then, lift the animal by supporting its back and head.
- Try not to overcrowd it so the animal doesn't feel any more pain.
- Never lift an animal by the neck and let the spine hang vertically, especially if you suspect that the animal has a bone injury.
Step 2. Bring a large animal
Large animals are more difficult to move than small animals, especially if you are alone. For carrying large animals, cardboard or a large sturdy object will work best. If not available, a blanket or jacket can also be used. Place a cardboard or blanket behind it and lift the animal into it. Cover the animal with a blanket or towel and have someone lift it to your car.
- Don't roll the animal unless you absolutely have to. This can be very painful and cause more injury to the animal.
- If the animal fights and kicks, you may need to cover the paw with a blanket to prevent the animal from injuring itself.
- If you are alone, the only thing you can bring with you is probably a blanket. Handle the situation as best you can and try to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Step 3. Move the animal gently
Injured animals may need to be moved and taken to a veterinary clinic. Do this as gently as possible so you don't aggravate the injury or cause the animal to feel more pain. Make sure that the animal with the fracture is lying down with its uninjured body part. This is so that his weight is not supported by the injured leg.
If you suspect that the animal has a spinal cord injury, gently hold the animal and try to support its back. You also shouldn't move or bend the back too much so the animal doesn't feel more pain and suffer more injuries
Step 4. Take the animal to a medic
Once safely put in your car, you should take them to the nearest animal hospital or animal rehabilitation center. If you don't know information about these places, go to a place that provides it. Then, find the nearest ER or veterinary clinic.
- Please contact your veterinarian before bringing the animal so that your arrival time can be estimated.
- Also contact an animal rehabilitation center and let them know what kind of animal you are bringing.
- If possible, bring a first aid kit for animals in the car. That way, you might be able to save more lives.
- Be careful around injured animals. If you're not careful, the animal could accidentally injure you for not thinking clearly.