Today’s lesson is… bloody!
Most wounds go hand in hand with with the loss of blood. Sometimes it’s very little, sometimes a lot! Severe loss of blood can result in shock.
Shock happens when the blood pressure is low and the heart rate is high, therefore you need to stop the loss of blood asap.
External loss of blood, caused by for example a cut, is of course easily detectable. However, internal bleeding can’t be detected visually so that makes it a bit more complicated. But before we head into that, let’s focus on external bleeding.
There are a few techniques you can use, but again, you must keep your own safety in mind at all times. It’s highly recommended to muzzle a dog who’s in pain or distress. As soon as you’re able to stop the bleeding, you should rush to the vet! All options described below can be combined!
Option 1: Apply direct pressure
This is the most effective way. Use a clean piece of fabric (this could be a piece of a t-shirt, a female sanitary pad,…) and put it on the bleeding wound. Apply firm pressure.
The blood gets soaked into the fabric and starts to clot. It’s important to not move the fabric, as it can break down the clotted blood. You can apply several layers of fabric if the bleeding is severe. If needed, you can tie the fabric around the wound with a piece of rope, a shoelace or anything else.
Option 2: Lift the leg
If your dog has a bleeding wound on his paws or legs, you can lift the injured leg up so that the wound is higher than the level of the heart. Gravity does it’s job and reduces the blood pressure in the leg.
The longer the distance between the heart and the wound, the more effective this is. You should also apply direct pressure on the wound!
Option 3: Reduce the blood flow by blocking the artery.
When the wound is still bleeding, and it’s difficult to stop the bleeding even after applying direct pressure and lifting the leg, you can try to block the main artery that supplies the blood to the area of the wound.
Apply firm pressure on the main artery to reduce the blood flow. Seek immediate veterinary help!
If at all possible, call your veterinarian and explain the situation. He or she can give further instructions while you’re on the way to the hospital.
Note: This should only be used in very extreme cases when you see the blood pumping out of a wound. This means that a main artery is broken and the dog loses blood very fast. This option is the very last one to save your dog’s life!
This procedure can potentially lead to disability and/or amputation.
Severe internal bleeding is extremely dangerous, especially because it’s difficult to detect.
Internal bleeding is common for dogs who were in a traffic accident. If you suspect that your dog suffers from internal bleeding, rush to the emergency care immediately.
Internal bleeding often requires surgery!
Although internal bleeding can’t be detected from the outside, you should look out for these external signs:
Heavy diarrhea with a lot of blood
The lips and gums are very pale
The paws, ears and tail feel cold
The dog doesn’t move, seems depressed
Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information.
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