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Dogfight Injuries and Wounds

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Dogfights comprise about 10 to 15 percent of all traumas. Dogs have strong jaws and their bites can result in severe injury. In addition to biting and crushing, dogs tend to shake their victims, which also has the potential to cause severe damage. The most severely injured animals are usually small dogs or cats attacked by large dogs.

Small skin puncture may appear insignificant but are deceptive. After the tooth penetrates the skin, further damage occurs as the tooth tears and rips the tissue underneath. Since the skin is flexible, after the tooth penetrates, the skin can move with the tooth and not result in additional damage. This is why a minor skin wound can hide extensive, and sometimes severe, underlying injury.

Wounds to the neck, face, genitals and legs are most common. The damage that occurs is based on the area of the body bitten. The most life threatening wounds occur in the neck and groin area.

Wounds to the skin can include:
  • Punctures
  • Lacerations
  • Skin tearing and removal (degloving)

    Wounds to the legs can include:
  • Fractured bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Severe bleeding if a major blood vessel is torn
  • Dislocated joints

    Wounds to the chest can include:
  • Fractured ribs
  • Bruising or bleeding within the lungs
  • Pneumothorax (air trapped outside the lungs due to a collapsed lung)
  • Punctures of the chest wall
  • Infections within the chest (pyothorax)
  • Bruising of the heart
  • Diaphragmatic hernia

    Wounds to the neck can include:
  • Torn trachea
  • Punctured esophagus
  • Nerve damage
  • Severe bleeding
  • Airway damage

    Wounds to the face and head can include:
  • Fractured or dislocated jaw
  • Eye injuries such as corneal lacerations, eye punctures or ruptures
  • Proptosed eye
  • Extensive bleeding
  • Airway trauma (nose and mouth)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Head trauma

    Wounds to the abdomen can include:
  • Perforations of the intestines
  • Ruptured spleen or liver
  • Abdominal infection (peritonitis)
  • Abdominal hernia
  • Kidney damage, possibly rupture of a kidney

    Wounds to the genital area can include:
  • Vaginal tears
  • Urethral tears
  • Penile laceration
  • Testicular laceration or puncture

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