Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 25.3 Other Scientific

Wound management 2 – Penetrating injuries in dogs

Published 19/04/2021

Written by Bonnie Campbell

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Penetrating wounds are often deceiving! An innocuous-looking skin puncture may overlie tissue that has been significantly compromised by strong forces, vascular damage, and/or inoculation of bacteria or foreign material. 

Key points

When presented with a bite or bullet wound case, think “iceberg”: a small amount of surface damage often belies a large amount of damage in the deeper tissues!


Endoscopy allows early detection of esophageal perforations before clinical signs appear.


Penetrating wounds should be opened, explored, debrided, and lavaged; they are usually then best managed as open wounds. If wounds require closure, they should be closed over a drain.


If there is a penetrating wound (or suspicion thereof) or significant crush injury to the abdomen, exploratory celiotomy is indicated.


Foreign objects lodged in the body are best removed via a surgical approach in an operating theatre with an anesthetized, fully prepared patient.


Introduction

Penetrating wounds are often deceiving! An innocuous-looking skin puncture may overlie tissue that has been significantly compromised by strong forces, vascular damage, and/or inoculation of bacteria or foreign material. Even if the animal appears stable initially, continuing deterioration of damaged tissue can lead to necrosis, infection, inflammation, sepsis and death. Effective management of penetrating wounds requires first and foremost that the clinician recognizes small wounds can hide severe damage. 
 

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