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Cut on ear.

Species: Dog
Breed: Chinese Crested Powd
Age: 8-11 years
Hi Dr. Marie,

My dog was attacked by a collie two days ago. They were just greeting each other and the collie bit Jack's ear all of a sudden! I pulled open his jaw and Jack ran free. The owner said her Collie has never done that before and she was very apologetic. Both dogs have all of their shots, so I'm not worried about rabies.

The gash is in Jack's ear, the outside cartilage. Because it's only a small gash in this part of his body and because he seems totally fine, like his regular happy self, I didn't bring him to a vet. I let a couple of days go by and then bathed him this morning and I could see that the gash is about 3/4 inch long and doesn't look like it's healing (yet).

I have pictures that I will email to you. I am wondering if you think he needs stitches or if this is something that will heal on it's own. Should I cover it or let the air get to it. My only concern is infection. Aside from that, I would just leave it be because it's not bothering my dog and it stopped bleeding right after the attack occurred.

I would rather not take him to the vet if I don't need to, but of course I want to do what's best for him so that's why I'm asking your advice. I read online that if the gash is less than 1 inch, it can heal on it's own, but I don't know?

Thanks for your help,
Heather


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hmmm...this looks like a wound that may have difficulty healing. I've attached one of your photos here:

cut on dog's ear

If this was a fresh wound that had just happened in the last few hours then I would want to be stitching it right away. However, now that it's older than that, it may not be able to be stitched.

If this wound was made by a dog bite then Jack really should be on some antibiotics. If it gets infected it's going to be a really really difficult wound to heal. In order to get antibiotics, you'll need to see the vet. The vet will assess it and determine whether it needs surgery.

Now, my gut instinct is that the vet will say to let it heal by itself. It is not likely to come together and look normal again, but as long as we can keep it from getting infected, it should heal. Jack will likely always have a notch in his ear but it shouldn't cause him lasting problems.

I have seen a few wounds like this that were really problematic because they kept bleeding. Ear wounds often bleed a LOT. But, if it's not bleeding now, then you're probably ok in that respect.

If it is a holiday where you are today, you are probably ok to wait until tomorrow to take him to see the vet, but I would definitely recommend that you have a vet take a look.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.