All veterinary surgeons are obliged by the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) to provide 24-hour emergency cover, including the provision of emergency first aid and pain relief, to all animals regardless of species
Wild animals instinctively see some other animals as dangerous, top of the list is humans, so when a wild animal is picked up it becomes severely distressed. Therefore minimising this contact along with keeping the animal calm and quiet is essential.
If you find an injured, sick or baby animal, there are a number of vital steps that you can take, which will drastically increase the chances of survival.
Most wildlife casualties are the victims of some form of trauma. They regularly have severe infected injuries and shock, not commonly seen in domestic animals. Wild animals however, generally have a greater capacity to cope with these injuries and will sometimes recover, if given the chance and the necessary supportive treatment.
Yet even the most sophisticated treatment is of no use, if the casualty does not survive long enough to reach help, or if basic steps have are not taken.
This document should be read and understood, if followed the greatest chances of survival for wild animal, will be achieved.
- Keep warm – The animal will go into shock and the body temperature will fall. Keep the animal warm, fill a plastic bottle with warm water and place in the box next to the animal to keep it warm, but the animal must be able to get away from it if it gets too warm. For small animals put in a box with shredded newspaper. Do not use damp bedding such as grass.
- Keep Quiet & in the dark – Keep the animal away from noise, including pets, children, radio and talk quietly.
- DO NOT FORCE FEED – If you found an injured human, you would never attempt to force water or food into them, so why an animal? Leave this to a rescue, someone with experience. Animals do not die or thirst or hunger overnight, but they die very quickly if incorrectly force fed.
- Voluntarily feeding – Once they are settled and warm, provide water and let them drink, if they want, NEVER give any animal or bird milk . Only offer the animal food and water, to take themselves, if the person is absolutely sure what the animal eats, otherwise do not feed.
- Seek Advice – Whilst calling to find somewhere for the animal to go, get in touch with a rescue centre as soon as possible. Don’t leave an animal in a box for 24 hours with food and expect it to eat. Injured animals, particularly hedgehogs very often suffer from fly strike. In just 24 hours eggs can become maggots and these can literally eat a the animal alive. In a lot of cases hedgehogs have to be euthanased because of flystrike and in many instances this could have been avoided if the hedgehog had gone to a rescue centre earlier.