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Laceration in Dogs

By: Dr. David Diamond

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Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize the impact of the laceration on your pet. Some of these include:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination. It is important to determine whether your pet is showing signs of hypovolemic shock secondary to the trauma or blood loss.

  • It is also important to determine if there are other injuries present. Small lacerations can be difficult to find if they are not bleeding or the animal has thick hair or fur. Lung damage, broken bones or ligament injuries may occur with trauma and may require treatment.

  • If severe hemorrhage has occurred, a PCV (packed cell volume), will be performed to see if your pet has lost too much blood. The test gives an estimate of the percentage of red blood cells present in the blood stream. It is performed by placing a small sample of your pet's blood usually taken from one of the legs, in a centrifuge and spinning it down.

    Treatment In-depth

    Treatment will depend upon the cause of the trauma and secondary injuries present and may be emergency care, emergency wound care, or definitive wound care.

    Emergency Care

  • Intravenous fluids will be administered if your dog is showing signs of shock. Fluid therapy can help support the cardiovascular system in maintaining blood pressure and making sure that the body receives oxygen.

  • Blood transfusions are needed if there is anemia from severe blood loss. When the body has lost excessive amounts of blood, it becomes very difficult for the heart and lungs to supply sufficient amounts of oxygen to the tissues. The red blood cells in a blood transfusion, will prevent the tissues from becoming hypoxic, or starved of adequate oxygen.

    Emergency Wound Care

  • Stop continued bleeding to prevent hypoxia, or lack of oxygen delivery to tissues. Hypoxia of the damaged tissues in the wound worsens tissue necrosis (cell death) and inhibits the immune system from fighting bacteria thus increasing the chance for the wound to become infected.

  • Remove major contamination from the wound. Debris in the wound acts as a source for bacteria to infect the wound and impairs the body's immune system from fighting infection.

  • Cover the wound with a bandage until definitive treatment can be done. Covering the wound minimizes further contamination and potential infection.

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