Crystal Lake Veterinarian Trains Chicago Firemen to Use Life-Saving Pet Oxygen Masks

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Dr. Thomas Nick helps kick-off the Project Breathe™ initiative to equip fire stations throughout the US and Canada with life-saving pet oxygen masks

Dr. Thomas Nick of the Crystal Lake Veterinary Hospital in Crystal Lake, IL ( is working with area fire stations to teach firemen how to save your family pet’s life.

Thanks to Invisible Fence® Brand, thousands of pet oxygen kits have been donated to fire stations in Chicago and cities across the country as part of the Project Breathe initiative. Joyce Brennan from the Crystal Lake office of Invisible Fence notes that, “Dr. Nick has been instrumental in the program’s expansion and developed the curriculum used to train area firemen.”

Dr. Nick volunteers to teach rescue units how to use the pet oxygen masks so that these first responders are prepared to act quickly. He demonstrated the use of the pet oxygen masks at a recent event at the Chicago Fire Academy to kick-off the effort to equip every fire station in the US and Canada with the equipment needed to provide dogs and cats with life-saving oxygen.

“Oxygen is the mainstay of treatment for smoke inhalation and the faster oxygen can be administered, the more likely the pet will survive,” says Dr. Nick. “By using a mask specifically designed for pets, it allows first responders to provide life-saving oxygen support until veterinary care can be obtained.”

Thousands of pets, guide dogs and search and rescue dogs die each year from fires and smoke inhalation. Invisible Fence and Dr. Nick are working to ensure that these family pets and heroic service dogs receive oxygen, if needed at a fire rescue.

Dr. Nick encourages pet owners to develop an evacuation plan that includes the family pet and a predetermined safe place for all family members to gather. He recommends that, “Once safely outside, people should be prepared to tell the firemen on the scene whether or not there is a pet trapped inside.”

To learn more about Project Breathe and ways you can help your own and other local fire departments get pet oxygen masks, please call the Crystal Lake Veterinary Hospital at 815-459-3380 or visit the Project Breathe website,

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