Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 27, 2008

Oxygen for animals: Firefighters to carry masks to help pets stuck in fires


In the past, Mansfield said he has had to treat pets for smoke inhalation using a oxygen mask designed for humans.

Because the masks don't fit the pets correctly, the animals receive less oxygen, he said.

"Just surrounding them with that oxygen atmosphere will get rid of the contaminants from the smoke," said Mansfield. "It operates the same exact way as a regular oxygen mask would on a regular patient."

Mansfield said firefighters often find pets while searching a home during a fire.

"A lot of the pets, when a fire occurs like that, they try to hide in a safe place," said Donna Pirolli, manager of the Main Street Animal Hospital in Salem, N.H. "A couple of days later is usually when they start developing some (smoke inhalation) symptoms."

Pirolli said her staff decided to use the money from its annual fundraiser on oxygen masks after they treated two dogs for smoke inhalation as a result of a New Year's Eve house fire in Salem.

"Obviously, it was an emergency," said Pirolli. "The owner was very grateful that we took them in right away.

"They need to get the oxygen to clean that out," said Pirolli. "They do great once you get them in here and on oxygen, which is now what the firemen will do on-site."

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