By Jack LoudermilkJune 12, 2009
CASEY GARRISON, South Korea - A first for Area I, the local American Red Cross completed a "Dog First Aid" certification course June 6.
Jana Fullmer, station manager for Casey's American Red Cross office, said American Red Cross helps people prepare for all kinds of emergencies, including pets.
"Many people consider their pets as part of the family," she explained, "so pet first aid seems like a good fit."
Fullmer said she plans to continue offering pet first aid classes if possible.
"This class was taught by Capt. Cynthia Facciolla, our veterinarian in Area 1," she said, "but she's leaving next month. We are hoping her replacement will agree to continue the program."
Fullmer said she expects to offer pet first-aid classes at least twice a year, depending on demand. "If there's more demand," she said, "we will hold classes more often."
Facciolla said she volunteered to conduct the training because "it's a great idea. Just like you should be prepared to give basic first aid to your family, there's no reason not to be prepared for your dog or cat," she said.
While the course covered a range of topics from approaching an injured animal to CPR techniques, Facciolla said it's important for owners to know what's normal - health wise - for their pet.
"I think the most important thing is just knowing when you're in over your head," she said, "when is the issue minor vs. major. People wait or turn to the Internet. Maybe their dog is coughing so they give it something they read about on line and they end up waiting too long to get help. Knowing what's normal for your dog will help determine when it's time to seek a professional."
Facciolla said surfing the Internet for answers only "tells you someone's opinion; it doesn't necessarily have to be credible," she said. "People rely on the Internet hoping to save money. There's no reason not to call on us. We are cheap, it's easy to get an appointment, and someone is available to take calls 24 hours a day."
Military veterinarians are sometimes limited to services they can provide, but Facciolla said they do offer vaccinations, hold sick-calls, and by-appointment service.
"We can also discuss the problem over the phone and determine if the issue is a real emergency," she said.
To learn more about veterinarian services in Korea, visit the 65th Medical Brigade's Veterinary Services web site at http://www.korea.amedd.army.mil/vet/default.asp.