Treatment for wounds and bleeding

Treatment for wounds and bleeding

Treatment for wounds and bleeding – before you treat any type of bleed/wound, you should always go through the SEEP checklist, to ensure you take all the right steps in the correct order.  Treating a bleed relies heavily on things like the application of pressure, and the positioning of the animal’s injured limb as bleeding will slow down it if has to go “uphill” against gravity.
The SEEP checklist is as follows:-
S=Sit or lie
(sit for a head or shoulder injury, lie down for a leg or paw injury with paw raised)
(raise the wounded area above level of heart)
(see exactly what’s going on to categorize the wound and also looking for foreign bodies)
(place pressure directly on the wound unless there is something protruding in which case use pressure AROUND the object rather than on top of it)
We would treat the 5 most common canine flesh wounds as follows:-
Laceration (Rip or Tear)
This wound doesn’t bleed as much as some, but it is likely to be dirty with particles of debris in it. Therefore, work through your SEEP checklist then, after around 5 minutes of direct pressure on the wound, provided the bleeding is well controlled, clean THOROUGHLY to remove any grit, rust, glass particles or debris with warm water, saline and/or sterile wipes.  If the wound is caused by a bite, then extra care should be taken to irrigate and clean the wound (until you are bored stiff!!!) to make sure it is actually clean.  If the bleeding is NOT well controlled, apply a pressure bandage by wrapping the wound with several layers of gauze and then using vet wrap, an elastic bandage, duck tape, or masking tape over it to maintain pressure. Remember not to wrap so tightly that you compromise the circulation to the limb.
Incision (Sharp Slice)
This wound is usually very clean but does bleed a lot as, if it is deep, it may gape open. Therefore, work through your SEEP checklist. If blood seeps through your dressing, apply another pad directly on top of it. If after dressing number 2 you are still not able to control the blood loss, ring your vet immediately for further advice and notification of your intention to come to the surgery, apply a pressure dressing as above. As this wound is likely to be clean, there is no need to waste time (and blood) trying to clean it. If the blood loss is severe, slightly raise your pet’s back end to increase blood flow to the head. Keep your pet warm with a blanket if cold. If your pet is hot, cool down with cold compresses to the chest and abdomen.
Puncture (Stabbing or Standing on Pointy Object)
DO NOT remove any object that is penetrating the animal. This object may be stemming blood flow as it blocks the hole, preventing infection getting in and may also cause more damage to the tissues as it is withdrawn. Work through your SEEP check list as above, this time applying your pressure AROUND the penetrating object. Treat for shock by raising your pet’s back end as above.
Amputation (Partial or complete sevrering of a limb)
We deal with amputation in two sections:
–  firstly treatment of the dog and secondly treatment of  the amputated limb)
1) treat the dog using SEEP
2) treat for shock
3) ring your vet
– to treat the severed limb, act as follows:-
1) collect the amputated limb
2) rinse clean if possible and pat dry
3) wrap in waterproof covering – ie cling film/plastic bag
4) wrap in tissue or light bandage to protect it
5) place ON top of frozen peas/ice DO NOT PUT COMPLETELY IN ICE
6) if no ice available, place in cold milk bottle (with limb in waterproof bag)
7) transport pet & severed limb to vet urgently.
De-Gloving Injury (Flap of skin or creased skin wound)
1) Sit or Lie as appropriate
2) Elevate limb
3) Muzzle dog
4) Examine wound
5) Replace skin flap if possible
6) If skin is wrinkled rather than an actual flap and therefore cannot be repositioned, cover with plastic (cling-film or clean poo bag) or a moist dressing if plastic unavailable
7) Apply pressure dressing to the wound
8) Phone the vet
9) Transport to vet immediately
10) Monitor for signs of shock en route to vet
With any of these injuries, it is important to get your dog to the vet ASAP but please remember to PHONE AHEAD of your arrival. To turn up unannounced may cause more delay if there is no vet on site at the time you arrive or if the clinic is shut. To phone ahead gives them the opportunity to meet you there and administer treatment immediately.


  1. Reply

    So good! I am redcross for many years but have not updated my Pet and other Animal First Aid. This helped. Thanksomuch.

    p.s. people like my animal artwork – enjoy a visit

    • Reply

      Elle I’m so pleased it helped. Sometimes its good to have a little refresher – as they say, if you don’t use it you lose it and I’m always delighted when people have had no problems for so long that they’ve been able to forget it! lol … seriously though, any help I can give or advice, let me know

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