Wound and Bandage Care

By Tania Archbold, VN

Wounds:

 

If your pet has had surgery that requires suturing (stitching) you will need to keep them quiet until the stitches come out. This is usually 10-14 days post surgery.

Keeping them quiet is a very important part of wound healing. It can reduce inflammation and redness to the area which in turn doesn’t make the wound as sore or as itchy to the animal. Wounds heal from side to side rather than the length of the wound, so it doesn’t matter if your pet has a very small wound or a wound the length of its leg, provided all other factors are equal, the healing time will be very similar.

A lot of patients that we have seen which have had wound healing issues have been allowed to be really active in the first week or two after surgery so it is really important to keep them calm and quiet.

We understand this is easier said than done with some pets. You may need to get extra pain relief, which can help with the healing process, or an Elizabethan Collar for them while they are healing. You will need to keep them in a more confined area than what they are used to and restrict exercise while they have sutures in.


 


 


Bandages:

 

If your pet has a bandage on it is very important to keep these clean and dry. If the bandage gets wet it needs to be replaced the same day. Leaving a wet bandage on an animal can cause damage to the skin and the introduction of infection into any wound under the bandage, which the bandage should be protecting, or even in between their toes.

Different types of bandages will need to be changed at different times. Your veterinarian or veterinary nurse will inform you on when the bandage is due to be changed or come off. If they are left too long they can become irritated and uncomfortable causing your animal to bite at it and possibly causing damage to the skin around the top or bottom of the bandage.

Not all animals tolerate bandages very well so Elizabethan collars may need to be used while they have a bandage on. Again, keeping them confined will help with the healing. If your pet is really agitated by the bandage it may be on too tight or too loose so you will need to get these checked. Loose bandages can cause rubbing and irritation, while tight bandages may cause blood circulation problems.

 

If you have any issues with wounds or bandages on your pet get them seen as soon as possible. If left they may get more uncomfortable and cause damage to themselves, or slow the healing process down.

We will always request that a bandage and or wound are checked prior to giving you an Elizabethan collar or other device to prevent chewing. We need to be certain there is no other reason for your pet being irritated by the wound or bandage.

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