Badass small dog meets one bigger and badder
October 24, 2009 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Our dog got in a fight and was bitten. It's just a flesh wound, but how should we care for it?

I was at my folks' for dinner and let our two small dogs out on their deck. Normally the gate's closed. Tonight it wasn't and Alan, a toy fox terrier, tore off and ran around the corner. There was barking. I ran as fast as I could and called for him. He came running back with a stripe of blood along his side.

Yes, I know I should've checked the gate. Believe me, I've given myself enough of a guilt trip over this as it is. I'd like doggie first aid advice.

I plan to take him to the vet Monday. He was bit once, by what looks like a large dog. It's a pencil-sized hole. I cleaned it the best I could with soap and water, then spritzed some hydrogen peroxide on it. He seems to be his normal old self. I'm going to get some Neosporin to put on the bite mark.

He's current on all his shots (just had 'em in August).

Any help/insight would be appreciated.
posted by Atom12 to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As long as it bled freely while you cleaned it, you should be okay. Keep a close eye on it tomorrow- puncture wounds can get nasty fast.

And keep on eye on Alex - if decideds to terrier his wound, he can cause trouble for himself.

You want a nice health scab, no puffines, and the bite area to be the same temp as the rest of his little body.

If anything seems off, you should at least call the vet's office on Sunday.

Most likely, everything will be fine.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:59 PM on October 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks. It's on his shoulder, so he can't get at it to lick it.
posted by Atom12 at 6:09 PM on October 24, 2009

Best answer: Vets used to have me flush puncture wounds with (drugstore-strength) hydrogen peroxide, on the grounds that it made it slower to knit closed (so it would heal from the inside out), and doctors once had us do the same for a roommate who waded into a fight and got bit. I didn't get that advice the last time I took a dog or cat to the vet for puncture wounds, they just had us put Neosporin on it, but I still did the peroxide. It should help float out any debris in there, as well.

Note: dogs are not fond of this procedure, though the roommate said it didn't really hurt, it just felt funny. But it's peroxide, it's 60 cents, you can splash generously and then back away for the shake.

Second note: we have two girls with dominance issues and have about 2 nasty fights a year, with slack-boxer-neck puncture wounds. This has worked for us. I'm not a vet, but I've had a lot of dogs, so this is advice, just not legally-binding advice.

You really don't want the skin to knit before the inside of the wound closes, or your risk of abscess is higher. But dogs are pretty tough. Look at it several times a day and watch for bad changes (increased swelling, redness around the puncture, limping, crying, or favoring the nearest leg or refusing to move neck in normal ways) and smell it (if it smells bad, vet up).

Look, it happens. Don't beat yourself up. Dogs, again, are pretty tough. Just watch it, and be aggressive if you think there's something wrong. I've dealt with some really horrific dog injuries (the fight that got the roommate bit resulted in 80 stitches in my dog), and the only one that turned out to be really difficult to treat was the one that was so insignificant (one dog nicked another with a long toenail) that we really didn't bother to treat it. That one took three years, three vets, two surgeries, nearly dying, and a month of Cipro (used for gangrene and anthrax). It would actually be better if he could lick it, so you may need to treat it several times a day (effective since he can't lick off the ointment). If, by Monday morning, he's acting like he still realizes it's there, go to the vet. Otherwise, you'll probably be fine.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:38 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Our two dogs have gotten into two bad scraps together, but I think they were more serious than what you describe with your dog. The first time, Meg was urinating what looked like blood. We took her to the doggy ER and they said it was from extensive crushing bite wounds breaking the cell walls. They had to put her on IV fluid to dilute the urine, otherwise she would have had kidney failure and died, so keep an eye on your dogs urine. The second time Meg had a puncture wound and seemed OK at first. A few days later she was all puffy and it felt like she had bubble wrap under her skin. It turned out she had a bad clostridium infection and had to be treated with antibiotics, so watch out for that also. BTW, if we ever have 2 dogs at the same time again, they will NOT be the same gender. Too much doggy friction.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:41 PM on October 24, 2009

Oh, and best of luck to you. I hope your dog is OK.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:41 PM on October 24, 2009

Best answer: It is kind of hard to say exactly what you should do without seeing the wound. Some bite wounds can be really bad while others just dry up and heal on their own. If the bite created a pocket under the skin, the wound can easily become infected and create an abscess which will require medical attention. If you are planning to see your vet on Monday, keep the wound clean and warm compress it to promote draining of any fluid that accumulates under the skin. If it becomes swollen, red and/or hot then you may need to keep the wound open so that it can drain. Abscesses can occur without you really noticing so I would definitely suggest you see your vet.
posted by little miss s at 8:27 PM on October 24, 2009

I'd use Nolvasan solution to flush it out a couple times a day. A warm moist compress a couple times a day is good too. With the compress keeping the wound from getting scabbed over, it can continue to drain, and you can continue flushing the wound as it heals gradually from the inside out, minimizing the chance for abscess forming.

If it feels hot, inflamed, puffy, or otherwise infected, have the vet see to it, because oral antibiotics might be called for.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:31 PM on October 24, 2009

I gently squeeze puncture wounds (like popping a zit) to drain it and allow it to heal from the inside out. You don't want to trap the bacteria inside with the scab.
posted by Vaike at 9:09 AM on October 25, 2009

He should likely have his rabies boostered anyway, that is SOP for bites.

Do not use hydrogen peroxide, it is too harsh. You should have him checked by the vet, bite wounds can be much worse than they appear on the surface (and he should have the above-mentioned rabies booster anyway).
posted by biscotti at 3:11 PM on October 25, 2009

Response by poster: A sincere thanks to all who responded. Though he seemed to be feeling better, we took him in at 5 this morning. Glad we did. He ended up with a drainage tube, cone and about seven stitches in addition to some meds. Now, about 24 hours later, he seems to be on the upswing and feeling better. Thanks for all the input and good thoughts sent our way.
posted by Atom12 at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2009

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