JANESVILLE – Almost all the knowledge a paramedic uses to treat humans can be used to help an injured police dog.
Most paramedics don’t know that, said Paul McNamara, a veterinarian and owner of Odin’s Fund, a nonprofit that teaches canine first aid to first responders.
McNamara demonstrated canine first aid for a packed room full of Rock County first responders Friday at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville.
His class teaches basic first aid that will help police dogs that are injured on the job.
Police dogs face the same hazards as human officers: guns, knives, explosives, chemicals, insects and other threats. Dogs often approach a scene first, making them the most vulnerable, McNamara said.
The opioid epidemic has exposed dogs and humans to even more danger because of substances such as carfentanyl, which can cause overdoses simply by touching it, McNamara said.
Friday’s class was one of the most impressive groups McNamara has trained, he said, because it included canine handlers, paramedics, doctors and other first responders who normally don’t attend the training.
The turnout showed the commitment local professionals have to police dogs and the community, he said.
Many medical skills that stabilize humans before they’re transported to a hospital can also help police dogs, McNamara said. Likewise, many of the same drugs that help humans can be used on dogs—just in smaller doses.
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