Wound First Aid

Our precious furry friends can get into all kinds of predicaments, and unfortunately on occasion the results of these events may lead to a visit to the vet. This article guides you through what to do in case of a wound emergency.

As most of you are aware, there are multiple types of wounds that require different treatments. The types of wounds regularly seen on our furry creatures can range from lacerations, abrasions, burns, puncture wounds and projectile wounds.

Lacerations are best described as a tearing of body tissue, most of the time these wounds are jagged or irregular. Abrasions are more described as a wear or scraping of the surface of the skin.  These types of wounds should always be assessed by a Veterinarian. Once first noticed it is important as a pet owner to use caution and try to cover the wound surface, this can be achieved by lightly applying a piece of glad wrap around the site of the wound, this will assist with the prevention of further contamination, this initial action can be extremely crucial with the process of wound management for the future process. You must never try to apply human sourced therapeutic goods as most products are toxic to animals.

If the wound is bleeding, it is important to apply pressure to that wound. Be cautious and if possible have a secondary person assisting you, while your pet may usually be mild mannered, when painful and scared they can behave differently and you need to be careful to not get injured yourself. The best way to apply pressure to the wound is by using a form of ‘pressure bandaging’. Ideally applying a non adhesive item to the wound first and then wrapping a piece of material over that wound should help with pressure. This will assist with a physiological effect of wound healing known as coagulation. If the wound is still bleeding, do not unwrap the already placed bandaged. Instead apply a secondary layer over that wound. Removal of a bandage can reverse the coagulation step and ultimately delay wound healing.

Puncture wounds can be treated much the same. Puncture wounds are often described as bite wounds (dog attack wounds). Take extreme caution when you’re assisting your pet as again they will be in pain and may react without complete consciousness. It is important to try and stabilise your pet as much as possible and travel to the closest vet so treatment can be started. Remembering that the sooner you get to the clinic the better the outcome for your pet.

Burns are classified according to the depth of the burn injury and each degree of burns requires different treatment. Ultimately as soon as recognised seek veterinary attention ASAP. Application of cool-packs or cool water to a burn within 2 hours of injury can dramatically reduce the extent and severity of the resulting burn by accelerating heat loss from tissue. Optimal cooling temperature is between 2-17 degrees and the optimal cooling application time is at least 30 minutes.

Projectile wounds are known as injuries caused by penetrating objects. If the projectile source is visible it is of uttermost importance that you DO NOT remove the object. If possible and without causing any damage to your pet, reduce the size of the protruding part of the foreign body to 3-4 centimetres above the skin level. Removal of the penetrating object could be detrimental to the patient as most of the time these types of wounds are impacting vital organs within the body. Try to stabilise your pet carefully within your arms and go to the nearest clinic.

Using this advice , you can perform basic first aid until a Veterinarian is able to assess your pet. If you’re unsure at the time, always phone our veterinary practice so that our trusting professional staff members are able to provide phone triage to assist your pet’s needs. Your animal is our highest priority!

For further information please refer to our first aid tips on our website.

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