Medical Guidance

Field Wound Management

Written by Veterinarian, Shawn Wayment

This past weekend I was out on the prairie in pursuit of birds with my bird dogs. We had 3 dogs get similar wounds from colliding with barbed-wire.

The photos below are a representation of all 3 wounds – these are common field injuries that you’re likely to encounter while chasing your bird dogs. I’ve had several people contact me in regards to these types of wounds.

Below is how I addressed these wounds (none of the 3 dogs were sedated prior to wound management).

Obviously, when in doubt…seek professional veterinary care. Also, if your bird dog is profusely bleeding…APPLY DIRECT PRESSURE TO THE WOUND with a towel or shirt while in route to the nearest veterinarian.

The edges of the wound were trimmed away to get fresh/clean margins and to allow blood and serum to cleanse the wound. The wound was cleaned with baby wipes from Costco and flushed with diluted Betadine Iodine solution in water. The wound margins were apposed with surgical staples.

We still hunted this bird dog because there is very little motion on this area of the body. Staples are great on skin lacerations that DO NOT go into the subcutaneous tissues or muscle layers below. Wounds that cut into deeper layers need different levels or layers of suture to close up what’s called “dead space” to prevent pocketing or build up of fluid (seroma formation).

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Whether you own a retriever, setter, a pointing or spaniel breed, a beagle or one of the coonhound breeds, they all have one thing in common: they are canine athletes bred to perform specific task in what can be a very harsh environment. Your sporting dog may be one that competes in field performance events or is used for hunting or both. You have invested many dollars in training, feeding and veterinary care for your dog, because he/she is worth it, he/she is your hunting companion. He/she provides countless hours of dedicated service to you as you pursue your hunting passion. And nothing can ruin your day or hunting season like when your dog is injured or becomes sick. Read More


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