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Care of Open Wounds in Dogs

My dog has an open wound. My vet suggested that it be left open for healing rather than repaired with sutures. What is the reason for this?

Wounds differ based on:

  • Causes – puncture wounds scratches, or abrasions
  • Location – paws, abdomen, eyes, etc.
  • Infection level – Clean (surgical) wounds or wounds that are infected (infected)

Your vet has considered the above factors when determining the best method to treat the wound. Sometimes the site or extent of skin loss hinders surgery closure, or even bandaging (wounds in the facial area or at the knee). wound care is a slow process

Sometimes puncture wounds, or any other traumas force bacteria into tissues. A wound that is contaminated and longer than a couple of hours old should not close by surgery debridement (removal of all contaminated and dead tissues) and, in certain situations, it could cause more lasting injury than treating the wound with medical care and allowing it to heal.

What can I do to treat my dog’s wound?

Abscesses can be lanced or removed under intense sedation or anesthesia. A drain made of latex is installed to prevent the closure of the abscess too fast in order to permit adequate drainage and stop the growth of infection.

“Wherever possible a wound will be closed and sutured in order to speed healing.”

If it is possible, the wound is closed and then sutured to speed up healing. However, if there’s an infection or a deep laceration there is a need for the wound to be left open for treatment as well as for drainage.

Your vet might need to anesthetize your dog in order to eliminate dead cells from the area. If the wound is not shut surgically, the vet could apply a protective bandage in the event that this is feasible. Your dog will receive oral or injectable antibiotics (such as amoxicillin-clavulanate or cefazolin).

What do I need to do to take care of this wound in dogs?

After your pet was released from the hospital, it was were provided with specific instructions for the care of your pet at home. The general guidelines for pet care comprise:

  • It is crucial that the wound and its surrounding area are gently cleaned to get rid of any sticky or crusty debris. This helps keep the wound’s edges clear, decreases the chance of infection recurrence, and also allows healthy tissue to grow.
  • Take all medications according to your doctor’s instructions. Don’t stop taking antibiotics for any reason, unless you are specifically directed to take them by your doctor.
  • Your dog shouldn’t be allowed to chew or lick the wound. A lot of dogs require a collar to protect them (see the handout “Elizabethan Collars in Dogs” for more details) to stop injury to the site.
  • It is crucial to stop it from healing the wound too fast. This is especially important for abscesses that have been lanced and removed surgically. If the wound does not close properly the chance of recurrence rises.

How can I stop the wound will close too soon?

After you clean the wound you can gently massage the skin to release the wound and facilitate drainage. There may be some bleeding or discharge as you perform this. Check if it appears to be affected (a clear or colored drainage) or if it’s clear and thin. It is recommended to eliminate or allow any type of discharge to go away. If the discharge persists to be red, green, or yellow for a number of consecutive days, you should contact your vet to get instructions.

What should I use to clean the wound using?

Water from the tap is suggested to wash the majority of wounds. Warm salinity (salt solution) can also be utilized. This can be made by adding about one teaspoonful (5 milliliters) of salt (or Epsom salts) to two cups (500 milliliters) of drinking water. In certain instances, your physician may suggest applying a dilute cleanse solution of chlorhexidine, surgical soap, or an iodine solution to remove any debris.

Do not apply soaps, shampoos hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol tea tree oil, or any other item to treat the wound unless instructed to use them by your doctor. Certain of these products can be poisonous if consumed internally, and others may cause delays in healing.

Should I avoid using mild antiseptics?

Your physician might recommend antibiotics or creams for treating the wound. Because animals are known to chew and lick wounds, they may accidentally swallow medications applied topically or disinfectants or antiseptics formulated for human use that aren’t suitable for use on animals.

How should I handle my dog if he decides to clean the wound?

Many people are under the false assumption that saliva from dogs is some sort of antiseptic. It’s far from reality, particularly when you consider the manner in which dogs groom themselves or meet one another. A dog’s instinct is to bite a wound but this can cause serious delays in healing. This is why you should avoid this from happening by every means. Elizabethan collars have become the most widely employed protective device. Other options, contingent on the site of the wound are covering the wound with a bandage, stockinette or dog coat, or even a T-shirt.

What are the alternatives to pain medication?

Your physician will prescribe medicines to alleviate discomfort and pain. When a wound begins to heal, it’s no longer painful. Your vet will evaluate the specific situation and decide the most suitable medication to treat your pet. The most commonly prescribed pain medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like the meloxicam

Supplies Needed for Dog Wound Care

Be sure to be prepared with these materials:

  • Electronic clippers (scissors or disposable razors are fine when handled properly)
  • Water-based lubricant, similar to KY jelly (not Vaseline)
  • Warm water
  • Clothes that are clean (paper or fabric)
  • Solution for an antiseptic (like 2 percent chlorhexidine)
  • Ointment to combat antimicrobials

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