A wound is an injury causing damage to the skin and often underlying tissues. It can be open (e.g. a cut) or closed (e.g. a bruise).
Try to stop initial bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with an absorbent dressing such as dry gauze, followed by a layer of bandage such as elastoplast or clean dry linen. This will protect the wound during transport to the vet and prevent any further contamination of the injury. If possible, try to raise the affected area. Do not apply ointments or any other chemicals to the wound, as they can interfere with its eventual healing.
Most open wounds will be contaminated with bacteria after several hours and can often contain other foreign material such as dirt, grit or hair. If possible, the vet will try to clean this wound and repair it, either immediately or after several days, depending on its size and degree of contamination.
When the wound is old (i.e 12 hours or longer) or grossly infected (e.g. a cat bite abscess), it will often be left to heal without stitching using a combination of repeated bathing, bandaging and antibiotic therapy. In these cases mentioned above, this treayment combination is the way to promote a speedy recovery of your pet's injury.
As instructed by the vet, bathing the wound, 2-3 times daily, with a mild antiseptic solution such as warm salted water (approximately 1 teaspoon to 1 pint), will help to remove any crusted discharge and keep wound edges clean.
Bandaging daily, as demonstrated by the vet, may also be required if there is a lot of discharge from the wound and/ or to prevent your cat from excessively licking the area. Bandaging is usually only performed by the vet or nurse, as particular care needs to be taken to ensure the bandage is not placed too tightly which can compromise the blood supply to the area. Bandaging therefore should only be performed at home if directed by your vet.
Sometimes your pet will be prescribed a course of antibiotics if the wound is very infected, but no other topical treatments should be used, unless directed by the vet, as some chemicals can damage tissues and delay wound healing.
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