By Dr. Amy Lightstone
After your pet sustains a nasty wound, you may wonder just how serious it is. It can be hard to determine just at a glance, especially if you’re a little uneasy around blood. When in doubt, it is always best to have your pet’s injury evaluated by a veterinarian so they can guide you on proper pet wound care.
With Fuzzy Connect, you have the ability to quickly share a photo or video of your pet’s wound, and a licensed veterinarian will provide you with live medical guidance! In the mean time, here’s high-level instructions to determine if you should head out to the ER, and whether your pet’s wound will need stitches.
Assess The Wound
The first thing to do is to take a good look and assess it. If it seems like only a superficial scratch, make sure it’s not actively bleeding and cannot be pulled further apart with gentle pressure. If this is the case, your pet will likely not need stitches. Keep the injury clean every day with iodine or hydrogen peroxide (keep in mind that peroxide stings!). You can also apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and aid healing.
If the wound is actively bleeding, or you have the ability to pull the sides of it apart with gentle pressure, you should contact a veterinarian and have them examine it ASAP. If the wound is bleeding profusely, apply pressure or a wrap to the area while you transport your pet to the nearest veterinarian. Try to make sure the wrap is not too tight so that you do not damage the healthy underlying tissues.
When To Go To The Er
There are instances where a wound should be seen by a vet right away. The most common circumstances are:
- After a bad dog fight
- If your small pet is attacked by a larger one who shook them violently
- If your pet is hit by a car
- Other injuries involving shaking or tearing
Pets can often appear to be in a better condition than they really are when their adrenaline is pumping after trauma. Some wounds can be internal and continue to get worse over time even if everything on the skin looks superficial. If you are in an area where you cannot immediately get to a veterinarian and suspect your pet has an injury that might need stitches, here are the basics for DIY wound care:
- Stop the bleeding by applying firm pressure to the wound
- If needed, apply a light wrap to keep pressure on the area (do not leave a tight wrap on for long)
- Clean the wound with iodine or peroxide
- If you have butterfly bandages, try to close the wound and cover it with a dressing
Your pet should then be seen ASAP by a veterinarian for proper pet wound care, antibiotics, and pain control.