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Fainting and Dizziness (Syncope): First Aid

Date Published: 12/31/1994
Date Reviewed/Revised: 08/14/2009

Fainting is the sudden loss of consciousness or a sudden and marked weakness. It may be associated with numerous medical conditions and can be caused by anything from low blood sugar and neurological diseases to severe heart disease. 

What to Do

  • Immediately position the pet with the head down and the hind quarters elevated. This will improve brain blood flow. 
  • Cover the pet with a blanket to preserve body heat. 
  • If the pet vomits, make sure he or she does not inhale any of the vomitus into his lungs by keeping the head down. 
  • Seek veterinary attention.

What NOT to Do

  • Do not administer anything by mouth. It can be aspirated into the lungs and cause serious problems. 
  • Do not slap the pet or douse him with cold water trying to shock him into consciousness. 
  • Do not fail to seek veterinary attention just because the animal recovered quickly and seems fine now. Several of the conditions that cause fainting or dizziness are extremely serious and require diagnostic tests in order to determine the cause and prevent future episodes.

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