Gundog vet

Vicky con­tin­ues her first aid se­ries with a les­son in how to as­sess and ban­dage bleed­ing wounds

Sporting Shooter - - Highland Diary -

Do you know how to as­sess a wound? And would you be able to ban­dage it? Vicky pro­vides some es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion on how to treat in­jured dogs in the field

Bleed­ing wounds are one of the things that peo­ple most want to learn how to deal with on first aid cour­ses. Know­ing how to stem bleed­ing, as­sess wounds, and ap­ply ban­dages can re­duce the risk of fur­ther in­jury to your gundog and make treat­ment eas­ier.

It is al­ways a worry when your dog comes back seem­ingly cov­ered in blood. First, check that the blood is from your dog and not from game it has been re­triev­ing! Even small wounds can bleed a lot, and if your dog is wet (and white) a small amount of blood can go a long way. Nicks to the ear flap can be some of the most dra­matic, and can be hard to stem. Bleed­ing might stop if you pinch the wound with your fin­gers for a minute or two, but a shake of the head or start­ing work again will usu­ally dis­lodge the clot. I al­ways have some tights in my pocket first aid kit as they can be used to make an emer­gency head ban­dage. If bleed­ing con­tin­ues your vet may need to stitch or glue the wound.

The amount of blood isn’t al­ways a good in­di­ca­tion of how se­vere a wound is. Sharp cuts will bleed co­pi­ously, whereas blunt tears may not bleed much at all. It is im­por­tant to be able to tell ve­nous bleed­ing from the more dan­ger­ous ar­te­rial bleed­ing. A sev­ered artery will pump out very bright red blood. If you sus­pect ar­te­rial bleed­ing put a thick pad over the wound and hold it firmly be­fore bandag­ing it in place. If the blood soaks through add more pad­ding and ban­dage over the top. You might not have enough in your first aid kit and may need to use scarves or clothes in­stead. If you can’t stem the bleed­ing with bandag­ing, you can con­sider a tourni­quet. This is an­other good use for the tights in your pocket! Only tie them tight enough to slow the bleed­ing to a drip; if you tie them too tightly the cir­cu­la­tion will be cut off com­pletely and the tis­sues might be dam­aged.

Bandag­ing can also be use­ful for less se­ri­ous wounds to re­duce blood loss, keep the wound clean, and to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age from the dog lick­ing or chew­ing the wound [as il­lus­trated]. Don’t ap­ply any creams or pow­ders to wounds that might need stitch­ing and don’t leave wounds un­til the next day. Re­pairs are usu­ally eas­ier on fresh wounds. Call the clos­est vet be­fore you leave the shoot and have some­one in the car with you to look af­ter the dog.

Wounds on the body can be pro­tected in a sim­i­lar way with a dress­ing, ban­dage pad­ding, and co­he­sive ban­dage, but this can take some time. A T-shirt or a towel wrapped around the body can make a good al­ter­na­tive.

Glue and sta­ples

Some gundog han­dlers ad­vise car­ry­ing tis­sue glue or skin sta­ples to re­pair wounds in the field. This is not some­thing that I rec­om­mend as it is im­pos­si­ble to get wounds suf­fi­ciently clean in the field. Dirty wounds ini­tially seem to heal well, but break down or de­velop in­fec­tions later.

Tis­sue glue can de­lay the heal­ing of wounds if not used cor­rectly so if this is some­thing you wish to carry, ask your vet to train you in its proper use.

‘Bandag­ing can be use­ful for less se­ri­ous wounds to re­duce blood loss, keep the wound clean, and to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age’

Ap­ply a dress­ing pad to the wound ... and con­tinue bandag­ing un­til it is com­pletely pro­tected and se­cure Ban­dage over the pad... A co­he­sive ban­dage will pro­vide sup­port and al­low move­ment

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