laurenletter

What to do When your Pet gets a Cut

In Health Tips on April 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

One type of emergency seen in a variety of ways is when an owner brings their dog or cat in for a cut. This can be a true emergency or one you feel you have wasted your time and money. The reason this emergency can be so tricky, is because unless the cut is huge and bleeding, you might not even know one is there. Most cats and dogs have enough hair to cover the cut making it hard to see it. And as an owner you try to examine the cut to see how bad it is and your animal won’t let you look. photo (2) copy

This is when it gets tricky. You see blood, but you can’t see how bad it is. This is when as an owner you choose one of three routes:

  1. Go to the vet right away
  2. Wait and go to the vet when you can get in
  3. Just wait and see how it goes

Figuring out which option to choose is crucial for your pet.

Option 1:

Going to the vet right away, whether that means paying extra or even going out of your way to see an emergency vet is truly the safest option among the three. You may not know how bad the cut truly is. If it is a puncture wound, meaning there is a tiny hole, but it could be very deep. If this is the case these cuts can become a huge factor for infection. When looking at it, it seems small, like it won’t be an issue. But when it is explored a vet can find out how deep it truly is.

The hard thing about going to the vet is if the cut is superficial and does not break the skin into the tissue and muscle then you are wasting your time. There is really no need to start antibiotics or sedate your pet to clean it out.

Option 2:

Many times waiting a night before going to your primary vet the next day does not cause a ton of problems. But if you wait too long an infection might become a huge problem. Also, animals clean themselves. So, when an animal has a cut, they lick it excessively. This can make the cut larger and also cause an infection.

If you do wait, try to place a t-shirt or shorts on the animal depending on where the cut is. Also, place an e-collar on your animal to prevent licking. Try to not wait longer then 24 hours. If the cut gets too old and needs to be sutured, the skin might start to die making it difficult to fix.

Option 3:

Not going to the vet at all can be a problem if the cut is deep. As said before, pets will excessively lick the cut causing it to get larger and creating an infection if the cut is deep. If the cut needs to by surgically repaired and you do not see a vet, this cut may not heal properly on its own. This of course is a major problem.

What to do:

If you are strapped for cash to spend at the vet here is what I recommend doing. First off, do not cut the hair around the wound with scissors. I have seen many wounds become twice as worse because owners tried to clean it up themselves. You can clean it up, just please never use scissors. If you have an electric razor you can try to use it, but many pets do not like the sound of it, and if your not careful you could give them razor burn or make things worse.

To be safe, I recommend just taking a clean washcloth, gauze, or paper towel and wetting down the area and carefully pushing the hair out-of-the-way. Then, if your animal will let you, examine the cut. If it looks like a scratch that does not break the skin, I would not go to the vet. Just apply some antibacterial ointment to the area to relieve the itching and pain. Then, place an e-collar on your pet or a t-shirt or shorts to try to prevent your animal from licking.

If the cut seems to be deep, breaking the skin, or a puncture wound get an appointment with your vet within 24 hours. The wound needs to be flushed out and cleaned up. And, starting antibiotics is a necessary step. Until you can get into the vet, rinse the area as best as you can with water or an antiseptic and apply antibiotic ointment.

If the cut is bleeding profusely and your animal is clearly in pain, head to the vet right away. If you wait, your animal is going to be very uncomfortable.

Has your pet had a cut before? What did you?

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!

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