Leo was out for a walk on lead like normal one afternoon and was passing by another dog. The two dogs were allowed to sniff and greet each other, but unfortunately his fellow walker did not like the look of Leo, proceeded to slip his collar and attack him. After some quick action from both owners, the dogs were separated, however Leo came off a little worse for wear.
If a dog has been involved in a fight, it can sometimes be challenging to determine the extent of the injuries, particularly if the wounds are located in heavily furred areas of the body. Small puncture wounds from canine teeth can close over rapidly and can easily be missed. Leo’s owners didn’t hesitate to rush him down to us straight away to make sure he was OK. After his consultation and the discovery of a couple of puncture wounds, Leo was booked in to have a general anaesthesia and his wounds explored more the following day and was sent home with pain relief and antibiotics to start that evening.
Dr. Amy performed his surgery the next morning, during which it was discovered that Leo had several nasty wounds needing attention. Since a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria, any bite that does puncture the skin will introduce bacteria or other infectious organisms below the skin surface, where the bacteria can multiply and spread throughout the underlying tissues. Therefore, all bite wounds are considered to be contaminated and/or infected. Left untreated, the bacteria in Leo’s bite wounds would have caused a localised abscess or more generalised cellulitis (a tissue infection) that would have spread through the surrounding area.
Dog bites can cause significant injury to the skin and soft tissues. A dog’s teeth and jaws are very powerful and the wounds they inflict can crush or tear muscles and skin, penetrate through the chest wall causing lung collapse, or cause serious or fatal damage to intestinal organs. Even a bite that does not break the skin can cause crushing or bruising injuries to the underlying soft tissues.
Therefore, if your dog has been in a fight with another animal, you should take him to your veterinarian for an examination as soon as possible, just as Leo’s parents did. They will determine what sort of treatment is necessary, based on the extent of the injuries, your animal’s general health, and the location of the wounds.
Luckily for Leo, his owners knew the importance of getting his wounds investigated straight away, and after a tender few days (and maybe a bit of hurt pride!), we are so happy that Leo is making a full recovery at home.