Lacerations 101

Lacerations and wounds are often seen at VetUrgency.

The severity and location of the wound will determine the necessary treatment(s). For deep wounds amenable to closure, multiple layers of sutures may be used to close the layers of tissue. Internal sutures dissolve over time.  The superficial layer (skin closure) of either sutures or staples typically is removed in 10-14 days. In some cases, drain placement is necessary to allow any bacteria, inflammatory fluid and debris introduced, to drain from the body prior to allowing the wound to fully close.  

It is important to keep wounds clean and dry. Depending on the location of the wound a bandage may be applied. Due to the absorbent materials used in bandages it is essential to keep it dry. When going outside a cover may be necessary to protect the bandage from ground water or bad weather.

Bandage on forelimb

In general, an Elizabethan collar or similar device may be necessary to prevent licking as this can introduce bacteria to the wound. Licking may also remove the sutures/staples before the wound is fully healed. Some pets may chew on a bandage, exposing the wound and even ingesting the bandage material creating an additional medical issue for the pet. For wounds on the trunk of a pet, a t-shirt can be a good option to prevent licking. Veterinary staff can assist with determining the best preventive measures based on the injury a pet suffered.

It is important to remember animals in pain can become defensive and may be more likely to bite, even those who are normally calm. Please proceed with caution when trying to help an injured animal. The staff at VetUrgency is trained to safely handle pets of all temperaments in a variety of situations. 

At home care is important to ensuring the wound heals properly. During the appointment, all necessary information regarding care for the wound is reviewed. The staff at VetUrgency is trained not only to help pets in need, but also to answer any questions pet owners may have regarding their pet’s injury and treatment. Not all wounds are the same, so an individual treatment route will be determined at the time of visit based on the pet’s needs and health history. VetUrgency strives to provide personalized care for each patient even in the urgent care setting.