Injuries are very common among animals. Be it farm animals or pets at home, all of them are prone to one or the other form of injuries. In this post you will know how to provide first aid or bandage the wounds formed as a result of injuries.
Reasons to use bandage
- To protect wounds from the environment,
- To protect the environment from wounds, and
- To discourage animals from licking or irritating a wound.
It is very essential to take care of the bandage as it should be too loose or too tight to hinder the flow of blood.
Steps in bandaging
Cleaning the wound
- Clean the wound with water or with antiseptic solution.
- 5 to 7 per cent antiseptic solution can be used for cleaning or washing the wound.
- In case of large animals water jets can be used for cleaning the extensive wounds but in case of small animals and pets, washing with mild antiseptic solution like diluted Dettol or Savlon (do not use dettol and other phenols in case of cats as they are toxic to cats) solution is helpful.
Material required for bandaging
- Betadine ointment or solution or any other Povidone Iodine solution
- Gauze wrap
- Cotton wrap/bandage
- Adhesive tape
The bandage consists of three layers and should be applied keeping in mind the three layers from inner to outer and explained as
The contact layer
It is the layer which is directly in contact with the wound. It is applied by dipping the gauze in Betadine solution or by pouring Neosporin powder over the gauze and then applying the gauze over the wound. The contact layer should
- Be sterile and inert.
- Stay in close contact with, but not stick to, the wound.
- Be very absorbent.
- Be free of particles or fibers that might shed into the wound.
- Conform to all shapes.
- Allow drainage to pass to the next layer without becoming wet.
- Minimize pain.
The absorbent layer
- As the name suggest this layer absorbs the exudate which comes out of the wound and therefore keep the wound dry for better healing.
- This layer is formed by applying cotton over the wound.
- There is no need to apply antiseptic solution or powder over this layer.
- It should be tied snugly not tightly as tight bandage hinders the flow of blood.
- Cotton wrapped in gauze can also be used as absorbent pads and for the formation of absorbent layer.
- 1 inch cotton wrap can be used for small limbs and tails of pets, 2 inch cotton wraps can be used for medium legs and 3 to 4 inch for large legs of pets and small animals and 6 inch cotton wrap is used for large animals and body.
What not to do?
- The cotton wrap should not be too broad as it is difficult to apply smoothly.
- Any wrinkles or ridges may cause the bandage to become uncomfortable for the animal.
- Uneven pressure may cause necrosis (tissue death) of the underlying tissues.
How to apply?
- Begin with just enough of an absorbent layer to hold the contact layer in place.
- If the wound is on a leg or the tail, wrap from the toes or the tip of the tail towards the body.
- If you begin at the top of the leg or the tail, the bandage is more likely to restrict blood flow and cause swelling, which may cause tissue damage.
- Apply several layers of absorbent material, which will soak up the fluid from the wound and increase the patient’s comfort by cushioning the wound.
- Make sure the material you use as the absorbent layer is the proper width, and wrap from the toes or tail tip up towards the body.
- Gauze wrap can be applied next to hold the cotton wrap in place and to add extra support. This step can be skipped for small wounds or for temporary bandages.
The Outer Layer
- Finally, apply the outer (third) layer, usually made up of porous adhesive tape.
- Wrapped from the toes up towards the body, this layer should also be smooth and snug.
- The tape should be in contact with the skin (hair) at the bandage margins, anchoring the bandage so it will not slip.
The outer layer of a bandage should be applied smoothly and snugly, but not tight enough to cut off blood circulation.
- It is very important to follow the rule of half i.e. the next wrap of the bandage should overlap the half of the first wrap of bandage for better stability of the bandage.
When to change bandage?
- Bandages should be checked frequently for any signs of swelling, skin discoloration or coolness, odor, or saturation of the bandage material.
- The bandage should be changed whenever any of the above are noticed or any time it appears to be uncomfortable for the animal.
- Wounds that are draining heavily may require bandage changes every 1 or 2 hours.
- Bandages over wounds with little or no drainage should be changed every 24 hours ideally in case of pets and horses. However in case of cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat, bandage can be changed every alternate day.
- This article is just for the information of the animal owners for bandaging the small open wounds in case of emergency.
- It is not advisable to treat animals without the prior advice and consultation of the veterinarian.
- In case of closed wounds, immediately seek veterinarian’s advice.
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