Urgent Care and Walk-In Exams
In addition to scheduled appointments, the Doctors at Fairgrounds Animal Hospital also see Urgent care/walk-in exams on a daily basis. Dog and cat fight wounds and bites are unfortunately a frequent occurrence we see year-round. Often times, the fight may be between animals from the same family but can also be from another dog at the dog park or walking along the street. It is important to keep your animals updated on his or her rabies vaccine in case they are bit by another animal or they bite another dog, cat or human, as this can lead to state-regulated quarantine or, in the unfortunate case of an un-vaccinated pet, euthanasia.
If your animal is involved in a dog or cat fight, please be sure to bring them in right away as an urgent care exam so that it can be addressed as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, dog and cat mouths harbor many different types of bacteria and are not a clean environment. I know the old wives tail states that dog’s mouths are very clean, which is why they clean their wounds. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! Any bite wound from an animal has a very high probability of becoming infected. This can lead to loss of healthy tissue, a foul smell and a very sick animal.
Also, many times when an animal bites skin, they pull the skin up and away from the body, creating a pocket or open space between the skin and the muscle/fat layers beneath. This area can harbor bacteria and fill with infected fluid, preventing healing of the bite wound without intervention from a veterinarian. This is also concerning because small puncture wounds that may look minor can actually be very severe. This is known as the iceberg effect. Something that looks minor, like a small piece of ice in the water, often has much larger complications under the surface. This area needs to be thoroughly cleaned out prior to full treatment or closure of the bite wound. Furthermore, with severe bite wounds, sometimes the blood supply to that area can be permanently damaged, which causes death of the skin and results in the skin falling off. This can lead to much larger wounds that cannot be closed and need to heal from the inside out, which can take weeks to months to fully heal.
Another common mistake we see with bite wounds occurs when owners wait days to weeks before bringing their animal in to examine and clean or close the bite wound. All bite wounds are considered urgent and should be brought to a vet clinic right away. If disregarded for too long, the wound may not be able to be closed surgically due to tissue re-growth. This can be a complication because if the body tries to heal the wound but is unable to, we may need to cut away excess, otherwise healthy tissue, in order to fully close the laceration.
If you notice your animal has a wound, please call Fairgrounds Animal Hospital at 775-329-4106 and bring your animal in for an Urgent Care exam.