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Bite wound not healing.

Species: Dog
Breed: American Eskimo
Age: 2-5 years
My dog was attacked on the weekend and had a puncture wound on her left shoulder. She went in to the vet who said that they were "the tip of the iceberg" and that there was likely damage underneath. We could opt to have him surgically inspect and drain the wound and repair any damage or take our chances and just take her home with antibiotics. Since we didn't really know what we were dealing with and she needed dentistry anyways, we opted to go with the surgery.

He found two other wounds and he said the muscle had been pretty badly torn.

Anyways...the part that I'm concerned about is that she now has gone from punctures to three 1.5 inch wide oval wounds about 1/4 inch deep (there's a layer of skin, what looks like sub-q fat or collagen, then the "muscle" is exposed). The vet has said to leave the wounds uncovered and simply soak them twice a day and treat them with neosporin. But it seems so counterintuitive to me to not use a gauze dressing.

I just wanted to get a second opinion. The only explanation or justification that the vet provided is "dogs are different than people" and that they do better when the wounds are managed this way.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Tehya is going through this. I have seen a number of cases like this where what looked like a simple puncture wound from a dog bite ended up being something much more serious.

I would agree with your vet that leaving these open is likely the best idea. Often what I like to do is something called hydrotherapy where I will take a lukewarm stream of water and gently rinse the wound for about 3-5 minutes three times daily. This will really help with the healing.

We generally do not cover these types of wounds.

Sometimes a wound like this needs additional surgery as time goes by. If you are noticing that part of the wound is black then Tehya may need to have the wound addressed surgically again.

However, most of the time an open wound like this just heals with time and antibiotics.

I really hope she heals up soon!

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.