Injuries, Dislocations, Fractures,
Common sense should be used in
regard to injuries. If it is nothing
more than a simple scratch, then the application of any household
antiseptic is all that is required. A simple bruise can simply be
ignored. A slight burn will be healed by daily applications of
vaseline. More extensive burns should also be covered with vaseline and
then given veterinary attention. In his evaluation of an injury, the
owner should be guided by the same sort of reasoning that he would use
if he himself were injured. If the injury is obviously minor, the same
sort of household treatment that would be used with a human being will
work just as well with the dog. If the injury is obviously severe, only
the simplest first-aid measures can be applied while waiting for the
veterinarian to take over. If there is the slightest doubt as to the
extent or significance of an injury, a veterinarian should make an
examination at the earliest possible moment.
The most common serious injuries involve hemorrhage, bone dislocations
or fractures and internal injuries. Where there is serious external
hemorrhage, and a veterinarian is not immediately available, some
effort must be made to stop it. This can be done by wrapping some gauze
around the wound, covering this with a liberal amount of absorbent
cotton, and bandaging snugly. Then wrap the animal in a warm blanket
and contact a veterinarian.
The veterinarian will not only definitely stop the hemorrhage, but
will take measures to counteract shock and to replace, if necessary,
the body fluids that have been lost. In any
injury, shock is probably the most important concern, because collapse
due to shock is often a more common cause of death in these cases than
the injury itself. Actual treatment is rather elusive and uncertain.
Warmth and quiet are very necessary measures following injury.
Sometimes these help more than the actual shock medications themselves.
Any sort of lameness is also very significant, and demands immediate
veterinary attention. If the lameness happens to be due to a
dislocation, the dislocated bone must be put back in place as quickly
as possible for too much of a delay may make it altogether impossible
to reduce the dislocation. To make this explicit it may be said that to
reduce a dislocation twenty-jour hours old is often very difficult, and
to reduce one forty-eight hours old by ordinary manipulative means is
often impossible. This stems from the fact that the area of the bone
where the dislocation has taken place commonly becomes so inflamed that
the bone and the area around it become swollen, thereby making it
mechanically almost impossible to manipulate the bone back into place.
And it seems that even when the swelling is reduced, which may take a
day or two, reduction of the dislocation is still often impossible.
This does not mean that the animal is rendered permanently lame.
Commonly a "false joint," develops, and in time the animal may walk
without any apparent impediment. On other occasions there is merely a
shortening of the affected limb without any drastic lameness. Only
under the worst possible circumstances might there be permanent
lameness. Of course there can also be dislocations of bones other than
those of the limbs. In a general way, the same information given in
regard to limbs also applies here. All dislocations are strictly
emergency veterinary problems.
Lameness may also, of course, be due to the fracture of a bone. Broken
legs may be especially obvious and one often does not have to be a
veterinarian to determine them. The reduction of broken bones is, of
course, a veterinary problem, but it will assist the veterinarian
greatly if he has the opportunity to do his job at the earliest
possible moment. It may be
stated that, by and large, the setting of broken bones is not generally
a difficult procedure, and, in most cases, the results are very
gratifying. Even the most mutilated limbs are often amenable to the
talents of the veterinarian. So expert have veterinarians been in this
field, that they have made substantial contributions to human medicine.
The so-called Stader Splint, that is so commonly used in complex
fractures in hospitals, was developed by, and named after, a
Lameness can also be caused by the rupture of ligaments or tendons. It
is sufficient to state that these must be given immediate treatment,
otherwise treatment is of no avail and the animal stands a chance of
becoming permanently lame because the owner was too lethargic to get
around to submitting the animal to proper treatment on time.
Internal injuries are much more subtle and usually more dangerous than
the above-mentioned conditions. They are strictly a problem for the
veterinarian. The owner can rest assured that whenever any significant
injury occurs in his pet, the veterinarian always takes into account
the possibility of internal injury.