Paws for Wellness A happy and healthy pet starts with a plan!

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month – Be Prepared!

First aid kitWhen an emergency strikes, many people know some basic first aid to assist family members, but are you prepared to help your furry friend if your pet has an emergency? April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so now is a good time to learn the skills you need to help your pet in case he has an emergency.

First and foremost, stay calm. Try to minimize your pet’s movement and contact your veterinary hospital for instructions. There are some steps you can take while waiting for further instructions from your veterinary office or while on route to the hospital. If you have another person available to help you – even better.

1) Insect stings: If you suspect that your pet has been stung by a bee there are steps you can take to minimize the reaction. Try to locate the stinger, and carefully scrape the stinger away using a credit card. Make a paste out of baking soda and water to soothe the area. To reduce swelling, apply ice or a cold towel to the area. If your pet begins to exhibit more serious symptoms such as severe swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea, seek emergency veterinary care.

2) Bleeding due to deep cuts: Apply pressure using a bandage, piece of clothing, or towel. If the bleeding persists and is soaking through the bandage, don’t waste time – seek emergency veterinary care. Most wounds that are treated quickly can be sutured, but if you wait too long, surgery may be required.

3) Bites from cats, dogs, or other animals: Apply pressure to the wound. Seek veterinary care to prevent infection even if the wound seems minor or bleeding stops quickly.

4) Seizures: If your pet has a seizure do not restrain the animal. Pets can accidentally bite you while having, or right after the seizure because they may not know who you are. Keep your pet in a safe place during the seizure to protect him from injury, and keep him in a quiet, dark place after the seizure. Seek veterinary care immediately.

5) Eye injury: If your pet gets debris such as sand or grass in her eye, it may be possible to remove it by gently rinsing the eye with eyewash or saline solution. Seek veterinary care to prevent infection and assess if your pet’s cornea was scratched.

6) Heat stroke: NEVER leave your pet in a car on a hot day. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, reduce your pet’s body temperature as quickly as possible using cool water and keep him wet during transport to the veterinarian. Do not use ice or ice water.

For more in-depth pet first aid training such as learning rescue breathing, CPR, and treatment for shock, consider taking a Pet First Aid course. Several organizations, including The Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance, offer such courses. If you don’t have access to taking a course, there are Android and iPhone apps that provide instructions for common first aid emergencies that can help you care for your pet until you can obtain veterinary care.

If your pet has been involved in an accident or emergency, take your pet to your veterinarian for an examination. Even if he appears to be fully recovered, it is important that your pet be thoroughly examined for injuries that may not be visible to you.


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Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Laura  Neuhaus (Raiff) Photo
    Dr. Laura Neuhaus (Raiff)


    Dr. Laura Neuhaus is a graduate of the University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an emergency and specialty medicine internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. She enjoys ophthalmology and has a special interest in avian medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She is the proud parent of a cat and 2 parrotlets.
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    Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer


    A Virginia native, Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer (Dr. M is fine!) started his career in the veterinary field in high school at Chesterfield Technical Center's veterinary science program. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University while working as a veterinary assistant in a specialty and emergency hospital. Dr. M then completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine training at Virginia Tech, enjoying the hiking and outdoor scenery in Blacksburg when he could ...
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    Veterinary Technician

    Beth joined the GAH staff in April 2010. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in the Gloucester area. She has been working as a Licensed Veterinary Technician since graduating from Blue Ridge Community College in 1989. Away from work, she enjoys reading and working her dogs in obedience and agility classes. She has two dogs, three cats, four ferrets and three reptiles.
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    Veterinary Assistant

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    Treatment Team Lead

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    Kennel Care Team

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    Kennel Care Team

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    Kennel Care Team

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    Professional Groomer

    I'm Aidan, and I'm not your typical groomer. I'm a passionate animal lover with a heart full of love for our furry friends. Every day, I get the incredible opportunity to work my magic as a groomer at the renowned Grafton Animal Hospital. I can't express just how much I adore what I do. It's not just a job; it's a calling. I find immense joy in transforming your beloved pets into the best versions of themselves. Whether it's a shaggy dog that needs a fresh haircut, a cat in need of a spa day, or ...
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    Practice Manager

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    Front Desk Supervisor

    Ricky came to Grafton Animal Hospital in April of 2011. He was a little shy at first, but once he became more comfortable with us, he became one of the team. Ricky is a Congo African Grey Parrot. We think he is around 10 years old, but no one is sure. He will sometimes put on a show of whistling, talking, singing and dancing, and imitating sounds like telephones and coughing. Visit our Facebook page for an opportunity to see Ricky in action.
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    Staff Meeting Coordinator

    Lucy joined the Grafton Animal Hospital reception team as the new Noisemaker bird in September 2016. After losing our long-time mascot, Croaker, earlier that year, we learned of a young Quaker parrot available for adoption at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and decided she might be a good fit for the clinic. Lucy quickly made herself at home and before long, she was showing the staff who was really in charge. She is generally pretty friendly, so you will often see the staff holding her. ...
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    Daisy & Duke

    Staff Meeting Coordinators

    Daisy and Duke joined the GAH team in June of 2009. They were stray kittens that needed a home, and Squeaks was in need of a brother or sister. After some convincing, we were able to keep both. If you haven’t seen our kittens roaming the clinic, it’s because they are still learning their way around. For now, they are great morale boosters that keep us entertained during our staff meetings.
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    Grooming Manager

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