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Is My Dog’s Wound Infected? – Tips for Monitoring a Wound on a Pet

January 09, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Injuries, Dog Symptoms, Dog Wounds and Infections, Symptoms of Infection in Dogs

Learn tricks to monitor a dog's wound or incision for symptoms of infection. (Diego Jaimovich Photo)

Wondering, “Does my dog have an infected wound?” Or perhaps your dog has had a recent surgery and you’re wondering, “Is my dog’s incision infected?”

Whatever the case, The Sick Dog Blog has some great tips to help dog owners monitor a dog’s wound or incision for infection.

Is My Dog’s Incision Infected? – Photograph the Wound

Generally speaking, changes in a pet’s wound are gradual. Since a dog owner checks and cleans the dog’s wound several times a day, it can be difficult to tell if dog’s wound is healing since the process is gradual.

So here’s a tip: take digital photographs of the dog’s wound or incision once a day. Photograph the wound in the same light (i.e. the same spot in the same room) and ensure that the dog is standing or sitting in the same position for each photo.

Then, upload the photographs of the dog’s wound or incision into your computer and compare the photos. Sometimes, you won’t see a real difference when comparing photos from consecutive days. But if you compare a photo from day one and day four, you should see a noticeable difference (hopefully, for the better).

Over time, the dog’s wound should be looking better – less swelling, less redness, etc. If the dog’s wound is not healing or if the incision looks worse — not better — it’s time to return to the veterinary clinic for an exam and some antibiotics.



Symptoms of an Infected Wound or Incision in a Dog (or Other Pet)

Symptoms of an infected incision or wound in a dog include:

  • Wound odor – A dog’s wound should never have an odor. Sometimes it’s just a vague, unpleasant odor. In more severe infections, the odor is sickenly sweet, similar to rotting meat (after all, it is, technically, rotting flesh).
  • Green, yellow or white discharge – Clear or slightly bloody discharge is normal, especially during the first couple days following a dog’s surgery or injury
  • Redness around the wound or incision – Some wound redness is normal; but after the first 24 hours, it shouldn’t get worse – it should slowly improve after day one
  • Swelling around the dog’s incision or wound – Like redness, some swelling around a dog’s wound or incision is normal, but it should not get worse after the first 24 hours – it should gradually improve.
  • Dog’s stitches separating or pulling apart – An infected incision will pull apart, creating a gap between the edges of the wound. The stitches may appear very taught and tight.
  • Blackened skin around the wound or incision – Necrotic tissue (dead tissue) can be seen in severe wound infections. Don’t mistake dried blood/scabs for necrotic skin – apply a warm, wet washcloth to the wound or incision for about 10-15 minutes; if it’s dried blood/scab, it will wipe away after applying the warm, wet compress.

If you suspect that a dog’s wound or incision is infected, do not delay in getting the dog to the veterinary clinic. Infections do not go away on their own; they only get worse. If ignored, a dog’s infected incision or wound will require surgery to clean the wound and to remove the dead tissue.

In severe cases, if the dog’s infected wound is ignored, the infection will spread to the blood stream and the dog will eventually die from sepsis. A dog with sepsis will require lots of antibiotics and hospitalization (read: lots of money) if he is to survive. So when it comes to infections, don’t delay in getting a dog to the veterinary clinic.

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Is My Dog’s Wound Infected?

February 20, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Illnesses and Diseases, Dog Injuries, Dog Symptoms

Dealing with a dog wound or cut? Learn a dog's symptoms of infection. (Benjamin Earwicker Photo)

This article will provide answers to questions like, “What are the symptoms of an infection in a pet’s wound?” “My dog’s wound smells bad and has discharge. Is it infected?” and “Why is my dog’s wound red and swollen? Does this mean the wound is infected?”

At some point, your dog will be wounded from an accident around the home or yard, or even due to a dog fight or other unfortunate mishap. Whatever the case, you’ll need to know how to know the signs of infection in a dog’s wound.

Disinfecting and cleaning a dog’s wound is vital to promote healing, but even in the best dog owner’s care, a dog’s wound can get infected.

But do you know the signs and symptoms of infection in a dog’s wound? Do you know when it’s time to take your dog to the veterinary clinic for an exam

Signs and Symptoms of an Infected Wound in a Dog

There are several symptoms that you may see if your dog’s wound, cut or incision gets infected. Signs of infection include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness (which often spreads instead of receding as it should if proper healing is occurring.)
  • Discharge (which is often thick, yellow or green in color)
  • Odor or Foul Smell
  • Pain and Tenderness


Is My Dog’s Wound Healing? Do I Need to Take My Dog to the Veterinary Clinic?

It’s important to note that some redness, swelling, discharge and pain is normal following an injury, but these symptoms will usually reach their worst point within 24 hours of the dog’s injury.

After 24 hours, the dog’s wound site should slowly begin to improve and heal. Your dog may have an infected wound if the redness, swelling, discharge and pain associated with the pet’s injury seem to get worse.

In addition, a dog’s wound should never have an odor. If the incision, cut or wound smells bad, this is a definite sign of infection in the wound. In fact, the dog may have developed an abscess – a pocket of infection beneath the skin’s surface.

Dog abscesses, infected wounds, severe wounds, bite wounds and wounds that won’t heal are all grounds for a trip to the veterinarian’s clinic for an exam, disinfecting and a prescription of antibiotics.


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