Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dog first aid - a damaged ear

It had to happen sooner or later; one of the dogs sustained an injury.
The unlucky one was Lester. When going for a walk, our neighbour passed with his dog and Rex reacted violently. He appears to have a serious dislike for this dog and owner... Lester apparently got to close during Rex' tirade and Rex snapped at him, clipping Lester in his left ear. Ears have the unpleasant habit of bleeding profusely as we came to notice when we were on the way. We spotted drops of blood in the snow and then a red ear.
My wife used a chunk of snow to blot and stop the bleeding; the snow acting as a bandage, whilst the cold makes the blood vessels contract. This initially did the trick, but eventually the wound, not a big one luckily, opened up again as we were almost home again. The dogs had been noticeably more quiet during the walk. No goofing around and no playing until we were almost home. This time it bled a little harder.
At home we cleaned the ear and stopped the bleeding again by applying a bit of pressure on it with a damp towel. That worked and the dogs kept their distance again. Until a good hour later. I do not know what happened, if Lester scratched his ear or what, but when he shook his head he sprayed blood all over the livingroom floor and my pants. It bled even harder than before as wounds tend to do, when they are opened up again. This called for more drastic measures....
Here's where the first aid book on cats and dogs came in very handy. (the one I mentioned here). On page 26 it described a bandage for precisely this purpose; stopping the bleeding on ears.
You put a gauze on the wound, fold the injured ear upward, fold the other ear upward too and then wrap around a bandage, holding gauze and ears in place.
It may not look very neat, but it is effective. A good first lesson on a minor injury, but one that made very close contact (the head) necessary and one that, hopefully, showed Lester he can trust us with incidents and measures like this one.

And now he is lying quietly at my feet, not even trying to touch the bandage, as if he knows and accepts it is for the better.

Add on march 7th;
Of course I had spoken too soon...
Getting a bandage to sit properly on a dog, that is not to cooperative and moves about is not easy. Do it with 2 persons; one to hold the dog (and gauze) and comfort him and the other to focus on the bandage.
Lester kept rubbing and scratching off the bandage, so we had to find a way in order to secure it in place. Here the book offers yet another great solution; socks. We took one of our youngest daughters stretch cloth capri pants that she had outgrown and cut off the upper part of the leg. First we tried that without a hole for the right ear, but Lester seemed not to like that at all!! He kept rubbing his ear and the bleeding started all over again. So I cut a hole for the other ear, enabling him to hear better and to fix the "sock" in place too. And that worked!!
We however made the mistake to take it all off too
soon and as we were out for the final walk that day, he shook his head and..... yup... started ripping again. *sigh*
So we repeated the whole exercise once more for the night and hoped the best for it. And that really did work, even though he again had bandage and sock around his neck again in the morning....
I added one headsock and a regular sock for the legs to out animal first aid kit. For catpaws (and our own fingers) we have regular tube bandages.

Now I need to go out and buy more gauzes and bandages.....

1 comment:

  1. Aw poor Lester! And what a great idea for a bandage to hold the gauze in place. We've had our trauma around here. Last week our mini-mule got severe colic (horse stomach ache cause unknown). I walked him before the vet got here. Nearly killed me, too, as I was deathly sick but I had to do it. Hubby was sicker. It ultimately did not work. Next day Donkey died. I was traumatized. I'm still haunted. I feel responsible and I have to get over it because I and the vet did all we could. A terrible way to die.

    This is what we get when we choose to be animal caretakers. I'm glad Lester's injury is minor and I hope he feels better soon! Animals know when you're trying to help. Donkey, who normally wants nothing to do with humans except feed me, kept coming up to me. I know he was asking me to help him. I did my best. Lester has good humans. He's a lucky dog.