Pet ownership means a lot of things. Joy, companionship, a lot of laughs… but it can also mean dealing with an injury when your pet gets hurt. As we all know, injuries can happen anywhere, any time. While there’s nothing especially dangerous about playing in the park, going for a run, or having a healthy after-dinner game of fetch in the front yard, even in these instances injuries can and will occur.
When a pet sustains an injury, pet owners often have a lot of the same questions as parents (and spouses!), such as: How bad is this, really? What should I do to treat this? Is this an injury requiring immediate professional medical care, or can it be dealt with at home? That’s why it’s good to have a little understanding of what the difference is between a major and a minor injury in your pet.
Basically, while pet owners can take care of minor injuries at home, a major injury is one that requires a visit to your vet or specialty veterinary healthcare center (if it’s after hours). Minor injuries are things like bruises, torn nails, insect bites or stings, burrs from grass or weeds that can get caught in paws or your pet’s fur, and minor abrasions. It’s always good to be careful when dealing with such things—dogs and cats may snap and bite when in pain—but in an emergency, a little styptic powder on a torn nail or saline solution (for cleaning a shallow cut) can be effective first aid, and have the added benefit of not upsetting your injured pet more by taking them to the vet. Of course, once they’re calmed down, if you have any concerns it’s a good idea to be safe rather than sorry, and follow up with a vet visit.
Major wounds would include lacerations, a bite wound, any puncture wounds, burns, scalds, serious abrasions, snake bites of any kind, and of course any broken bones. These are not the sorts of injuries that can be treated at home. If your pet sustains any sort of injury like the above, take them to your local veterinary specialist immediately, or to the after-hours clinic if they happen late at night. A deep cut can get infected and require stitches, and even a small burn can send a pet into shock. Snake bites can be ugly even if the snake wasn’t a poisonous one, and, of course, any broken bones require immediate professional care to treat.
Playtime is crucial for pets, but accidents can and will happen even if everyone’s being safe and smart. If you have any questions at all about treating a pet’s injury, it’s best to get them in the car and take them to someone who knows what they’re doing!
VRC is a specialty veterinary healthcare center in Malvern. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so if your pet sustains an injury at any time of the day or night, give VRC’s emergency center a call at (610) 647-2950.