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Laceration in Dogs

By: Dr. David Diamond

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Definitive Wound Care

  • Your pet may need to be anesthetized to allow the wound to be treated adequately without causing undo pain.

  • The wound and surrounding skin are clipped free of hair to allow the wound to be thoroughly cleaned and monitored while healing.

  • Antibacterial scrub solutions are used to clean the wound and surrounding skin in order to reduce further contamination while the laceration is being repaired.

  • Any severely traumatized tissue is excised from the wound. This surgical debridement facilitates the body's ability to clean up the wound, and lessens the chance that the wound will become infected.

  • Damaged muscles, tendons, or ligaments are repaired at this stage, before retraction of these structures makes reconstruction much more difficult if it is performed later.

  • The wound is closed whenever possible, to minimize the chance for infection. In some cases, a drain is left in the wound protruding from a separate hole in the skin, which allows excess fluids to flow out of the wound, preventing fluid build-up under the skin. This is another way of reducing the chance for infection. The drain is usually removed in a few days when the amount of discharge is small.

  • In major lacerations, in which there has been excessive skin loss or contamination, the wound may be left open. Daily wound debridement may be necessary until the wound is clean enough to be closed. In some cases, the wound may not be closed and the body will be allowed to heal the wound on its own.

  • Intravenous and oral antibiotics are used in many cases to prevent an infection from becoming established, or to help the body fight the infection once it is established. A broad-spectrum antibiotic is used to cover the typical kinds of bacteria that might infect a laceration.


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