Dog-Bite Wound Management

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Filed Under: Emergency / Critical Care

Due to the nature of dog bites it is possible for there to be damage below the skin that we cannot detect at this time.  Blood supply to parts of the skin and underlying musculature may be compromised.  Most of the time, the body is able to heal itself.  However, sometimes the blood supply cannot restore and some of the tissues will die off.  This may require additional wound care, drain placement, and/or bandaging.  There is no way for us to predict if this complication will occur.


Please limit Pet's activity until the wounds are completely healed.  Pet may go on slow leashed walks, but should not be allowed to run, play, jump, or rough house with housemates.  It is best that Pet be kenneled and away from the other dogs during Pet's healing as they can compromise healing by grooming and Pet will benefit from the rest and recovery.  We recommend altering the living situation such that Pet has no contact or only supervised contact with the biting dog so as to reduce the risk of further injury.  Your Primary Care Veterinarian can guide you on further behavior modifications, if they are needed.

Nursing Care:

INCISION COMPRESSING:  Please monitor the incisions twice daily for any excessive redness, black discoloration, swelling, discharge, malodor, or pain.  If a concern arises, DO NOT WAIT, please have Pet evaluated immediately.

WARM COMPRESSING:  Please warm compress the wounds 2-3 times daily.  This can be performd for 15 minutes at a time for the next 4-5 days until significant healing is accomplished.  The goal is to keep the incisions open, encourage blood flow and ultimately drainage of fluid from the wounds and AROUND THE DRAINS.

E-COLLAR:  The e-collar should be worn at all times to prevent any licking at the wounds and/or chewing out the sutures/drains.  Licking cannot only compromise healing, but can introduce additional harmful bacteria that can lead to secondary infections.

Diet:  Pet can resume the usual.  Pet has been eating a bland diet of chicken while in the Hospital. 

Recheck evaluation:

The drains should be removed in 2-3 days; this can be performed here (no appointment needed) or at your Primary Care Veterinarian.

Sutures should be removed in 10-14 days.  This can be performed here (no appointment needed) or at your Primary Care Veterinarian.

Monitor Pet For:  Please monitor for any further decrease in mentation, appetite, energy, vomiting, diarrhea or any other concerning changes.  Please feel free to call at anytime to discuss a change if any concerns arise.