The cone-shaped plastic masks, which come in three sizes, can resuscitate animals suffering from smoke inhalation and can be used on cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and even guinea-pigs.
Around 60 million U.S. households have pets, and they are often the most vulnerable in cases of house fire, since they have a tendency to hide when scared. Its is understood that more cats than dogs die in house fires because dogs are more easily directed. However, in cases where animals can be captured, and have suffered from smoke inhalation, the oxygen masks increasingly being carried by fire departments could save many lives.
The masks now used by fire departments are developed over the last few years from the masks originally developed for use by veterinarians. Almost 2,500 sets, at a cost of $60 per three-mask set, have been distributed by Best Friends Pet Care, a kennel company that set up a matching-donation campaign to buy the masks.