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Shock is defined as a lack of oxygen to the body's tissues. It can be as a result of fluid loss after an accident but also cardiac or neurogenic problems. 

It may be a result of

  • Serious bleeding
  • Fracture
  • Burns
  • Internal bleeding - signs may not be immediately obvious but the pet's condition may go downhill rapidly
  • Or any other situation where fluids are lost from the body

When in shock the body increases the heartbeat to increase the blood circulation and dilate the blood vessels to make the circulatory system smaller, but there is only so far this can be effective. Shock can come on instantly or over hours or even days.

Signs are:

  • Heart rate, rapid which in dogs is over 140 BPM and cats this can be over 180 but also a concern if it drops below 140 BPM 
  • White or pale pink gums, refer to what’s normal 
  • Cool extremities like the ear tips, tail and toes 
  • Low rectal temperature 
  • Lethargy
  • Shows weakness 
  • Looking generally unwell
  • Changes in their character 
  • Unconsciousness and cardiac arrest are possible

Another type of shock that can affect your pet is Anaphylactic Shock which is an allergic reaction to a substance they eat, absorb through their skin or if they are stung by something they are allergic to.

In first aid terms, treatment is limited but wrap in a blanket and get them to the vet.