How do I Care for an Injury?
Caring for a hurt animal is nothing to take lightly. A small injury can quickly become infected, lead to long-term injury, disability, or even death. Because an injury or wound is likely to result in pain for your animal – they may not want you near them.
If your dog or cat is growling or hissing at you – don’t let this deter you from seeking medical attention for their wounds. A muzzle may be used on a dog, or you may try asking someone to help you. The two main objectives in wound care are: to stop any bleeding, and to prevent infection.
To stop the bleeding, you may try applying pressure to the area, (never use a tourniquet as this stops circulation). To prevent infection, the wound should be cleansed and a fresh clean bandage should be loosely applied. Do not use human band aids, as they will stick to your animal’s coat!
When Should I Worry About an Injury?
If the bleeding does not stop within a few minutes, contact your veterinarian. If any wound fills with pus or you notice yellow discharge, take your pet to the vet immediately. Similarly, if your pet shows swelling at the site of the wound, has a fever, or stops eating, seek the attention of your vet.
Please note: If the wound to your animal is severe of if you suspect that they are in great discomfort, or not healing as they should, always seek veterinarian advice!
After inspecting and cleaning the wound out, your vet will most likely use a topical wash and/or antibiotic ointment. Your vet may also give your pet an injection of antibiotics combined with a short acting steroid for inflammation and to reduce fever. They may also dispense oral antibiotics depending on the severity of the wound.
Cats and dogs have very elastic skin with a fair amount of fatty tissue between the skin and the underlying muscle. In cats, the problem of bacterial growth is especially bad because cat skin heals too quickly over a puncture, trapping the bacteria under the skin. Once this occurs, drainage and removal of necrotic (damaged and rotten) tissue is performed.
Help for Injuries
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to soothe pain and help to gently clean open wounds, cuts and scrapes. Hamamelis virginianum has been used for centuries as a natural antiseptic. Calendula officinalis is a gentle herbal ingredient used to address skin wounds – with its soothing and calming properties.
Melissa officinalis is well-known for its ability to help soothe irritated skin – especially handy in the case of wounds, bites and stings when used topically. To promote healing of injuries, Arnica is a highly respected remedy, helping to maintain the body’s own natural restorative functions, while Calendula is well known for its tonic effect on skin, bones, muscles and connective tissue.
More Information on Injuries
Tips related to injuries:
- Cuts on paws and ears bleed a lot because these areas have a very good blood supply. It is important to stop any bleeding and this is best done by applying firm pressure with a wad of cotton swabs to the bleeding area. Keep the pressure on for at least 5 minutes. If you cannot control the bleeding after applying pressure, seek veterinary attention.
- Deep cuts and injuries may need to be stitched to achieve complete healing. Seek veterinary advice in cases of deep or wide cuts
- Injuries caused by nails, pieces of wire or anything rusty or dirty may cause tetanus. Consult your vet about tetanus prevention.
- Trimming the fur away around the wound will aid healing. The other pets on the block might laugh at your furry friend’s odd hairstyle, but by trimming the hair away the risk of wound infection is lowered
- Remember to regularly cut back bushes and hedges in your garden in order to avoid stray branches, which might cause harm to your pet. Never leave wire lying around for your pet to get caught up in – make sure your home is safe place for your pets!