How To Treat Wounds In Dogs

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How To Treat Wounds In Dogs
How should I care for my dog’s open wound? – Your veterinarian will provide you with specific instructions. Some general care guidelines include: Gently clean the wound and surrounding area to remove any crusty or sticky debris. This will keep the wound edges clean, reduce the potential for re-infection, and allow new healthy tissue to develop.

  1. Administer all of the medications as prescribed.
  2. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or suitable antibiotic cream to apply to the wound.
  3. Do not discontinue antibiotics for any reason unless you have been specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
  4. Your dog should not be allowed to lick or chew the open wound.

Many dogs will require a protective collar (see handout “Elizabethan Collars in Dogs” for more information) to prevent them from injuring the site. Other options, depending on the location of the wound, include covering the wound with a bandage, a stockinette, a dog coat, or a t-shirt.

How can I heal my dogs wound fast?

A cut on your dog can be a very stressful event, but fortunately, most are not serious. In fact, your dog will likely heal just fine without any medical intervention. Even so, you will want to take care of your dog’s wound and make sure that it heals properly. The best way to do this is to use dog wound care products that are specifically designed for dog wounds. These products are available at most pet stores and online retailers. You can also find them at many veterinary offices. Dog wound care: How to treat dog wounds? The first thing you will want to do is clean the wound. Use a mild soap and water solution and rinse the area well. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, as these can actually delay healing. Once the wound is clean, you will want to apply an antibiotic ointment or cream. This will help to prevent infection and will also help the wound heal faster. Be sure to follow the directions on the package. You will also want to apply a bandage to the wound. This will help to keep the area clean and will also help to keep the area moist. Be sure to change the bandage at least once a day. If the wound is deep, you may need to see a veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to determine if the wound needs to be sutured. Sutures are usually only necessary if the wound is more than one inch deep. If the wound is not deep, you can usually treat it at home. Just be sure to keep the area clean and dry. In most cases, your dog will heal just fine without any medical intervention. However, if the wound does not seem to be healing properly, you should take your dog to the vet. One of the ways to check fast and quickly if you have to go see the vet urgently is to use vet chat online, The trusted professional veterinarian will be able to answer your questions and take a look at your dog’s wound via a camera or media files. The service is available 24/7. How to Prevent Dog Wounds The best way to treat a dog wound is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips on how you can prevent your dog from sustaining a wound: Keep Your Dog on a Leash One of the best ways to prevent your dog from sustaining a wound is to keep your dog on a leash. This will prevent your dog from running off and getting into fights with other dogs or animals. If you take your dog to the park, make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times. You should also avoid taking your dog to places where there are a lot of other dogs, such as the dog park. Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed Another way to prevent your dog from sustaining a wound is to keep your dog’s nails trimmed. When your dog’s nails are too long, they can snag on things and tear, which can lead to a wound. You should trim your dog’s nails every few weeks to prevent them from getting too long. If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself, you can take your dog to the groomer or the vet to have them trimmed. Pay Attention to Your Dog One more way to prevent your dog from sustaining a wound is to pay attention to your dog. If you see your dog scratching or licking a certain area of its body, it could be a sign that they have a wound. If you see your dog scratching or licking a certain area of its body, you should check the area for a wound. If you find a wound, you should clean and disinfect it as soon as possible. It may happen that a wound that you can find on your dog will look bad and show signs of an emergency situation for your pet. In such cases, an emergency pet fund will serve as a solid tool for you and your dog. With this service, you will not only have an unlimited opportunity to chat with the vet wherever and whenever, but also get an emergency sum for any critical medical expenses related to your pet. Please note, that the emergency reimbursement is available only one time per year.

What is the fastest way to heal an open wound?

Wounds – how to care for them

A skin wound that fails to heal, heals slowly or heals but tends to recur is known as a chronic wound.The treatment recommended by your doctor depends on your age, health and nature of your wound.Contrary to popular belief, chronic wounds are more likely to heal if they are treated with moist rather than dry dressings.

A skin wound that doesn’t heal, heals slowly or heals but tends to recur is known as a chronic wound. Some of the many causes of chronic (ongoing) skin wounds can include trauma, burns, skin cancers, infection or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes. Wounds that take a long time to heal need special care.Some of the many causes of a chronic skin wound can include:

Being immobile (pressure injuries or bed sores), where persistent localised pressure restricts blood flowSignificant trauma injury to the skinSurgery – incisions (cuts made during operations) may become infected and slow to healDeep burnsUnderlying medical conditions such as diabetes or some types of vascular diseaseSpecific types of infection such as the Bairnsdale or Buruli ulcers ( Mycobacterium ulcerans) Trophic ulcers, where a lack of sensation allows everyday trauma to lead to an ulcer – such as in diabetic neuropathy and leprosy.

The healing process of a skin wound follows a predictable pattern. A wound may fail to heal if one or more of the healing stages are interrupted. The normal wound healing stages include:

Inflammatory stage – blood vessels at the site constrict (tighten) to prevent blood loss and platelets (special clotting cells) gather to build a clot. Once the clot is completed, blood vessels expand to allow maximum blood flow to the wound. This is why a healing wound at first feels warm and looks red. White blood cells flood the area to destroy microbes and other foreign bodies. Skin cells multiply and grow across the wound. Fibroblastic stage – collagen, the protein fibre that gives skin its strength, starts to grow within the wound. The growth of collagen encourages the edges of the wound to shrink together and close. Small blood vessels (capillaries) form at the site to service the new skin with blood. Maturation stage – the body constantly adds more collagen and refines the wounded area. This may take months or even years. This is why scars tend to fade with time and why we must take care of wounds for some time after they have healed.

Factors that can slow the wound healing process include:

Dead skin (necrosis) – dead skin and foreign materials interfere with the healing process. Infection – an open wound may develop a bacterial infection. The body fights the infection rather than healing the wound. Haemorrhage – persistent bleeding will keep the wound margins apart. Mechanical damage – for example, a person who is immobile is at risk of bedsores because of constant pressure and friction. Diet – poor food choices may deprive the body of the nutrients it needs to heal the wound, such as vitamin C, zinc and protein. Medical conditions – such as diabetes, anaemia and some vascular diseases that restrict blood flow to the area, or any disorder that hinders the immune system. Age – wounds tend to take longer to heal in elderly people. Medicines – certain drugs or treatments used in the management of some medical conditions may interfere with the body’s healing process. Smoking – cigarette smoking impairs healing and increases the risk of complications. Varicose veins – restricted blood flow and swelling can lead to skin break down and persistent ulceration. Dryness – wounds (such as leg ulcers) that are exposed to the air are less likely to heal. The various cells involved in healing, such as skin cells and immune cells, need a moist environment.

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The cause of the chronic wound must be identified so that the underlying factors can be controlled. For example, if a leg or foot ulcer is caused by diabetes, your doctor will review the control of your blood sugar levels and may recommend that you see a podiatrist to prevent recurring ulcers in future.

Physical examination including inspection of the wound and assessment of the local nerve and blood supplyMedical history including information about chronic medical conditions, recent surgery and drugs that you routinely take or have recently taken Blood and urine testsBiopsy of the woundCulture of the wound to look for any (pathogenic) disease-causing micro-organisms.

The treatment recommended by your doctor depends on your age, health and the nature of your wound. General medical care may include:

Cleaning to remove dirt and debris from a fresh wound. This is done very gently and often in the shower.Vaccinating for tetanus may be recommended in some cases of traumatic injury.Exploring a deep wound surgically may be necessary. Local anaesthetic will be given before the examination.Removing dead skin surgically. Local anaesthetic will be given.Closing large wounds with stitches or staples. Dressing the wound. The dressing chosen by your doctor depends on the type and severity of the wound. In most cases of chronic wounds, the doctor will recommend a moist dressing.Relieving pain with medications. Pain can cause the blood vessels to constrict, which slows healing. If your wound is causing discomfort, tell your doctor. The doctor may suggest that you take over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol or may prescribe stronger pain-killing medication. Treating signs of infection including pain, pus and fever. The doctor will prescribe antibiotics and antimicrobial dressings if necessary. Take as directed.Reviewing your other medications. Some medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, interfere with the body’s healing process. Tell your doctor about all medications you take (including natural medicines) or have recently taken. The doctor may change the dose or prescribe other medicines until your wound has healed.Using aids such as support stockings. Use these aids as directed by your doctor.Treating other medical conditions, such as anaemia, that may prevent your wound healing.Prescribing specific antibiotics for wounds caused by Bairnsdale or Buruli ulcers. Skin grafts may also be needed.Recommending surgery or radiation treatment to remove rodent ulcers (a non-invasive skin cancer).Improving the blood supply with vascular surgery, if diabetes or other conditions related to poor blood supply prevent wound healing.

Be guided by your doctor, but self-care suggestions for slow-healing wounds include:

Do not take drugs that interfere with the body’s natural healing process if possible. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs (such as over-the-counter aspirin) will hamper the action of immune system cells. Ask your doctor for a list of medicines to avoid in the short term.Make sure to eat properly. Your body needs good food to fuel the healing process.Include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet. The body needs vitamin C to make collagen. Fresh fruits and vegetables eaten daily will also supply your body with other nutrients essential to wound healing such as vitamin A, copper and zinc. It may help to supplement your diet with extra vitamin C.Keep your wound dressed. Wounds heal faster if they are kept warm. Try to be quick when changing dressings. Exposing a wound to the open air can drop its temperature and may slow healing for a few hours. Don’t use antiseptic creams, washes or sprays on a chronic wound. These preparations are poisonous to the cells involved in wound repair.Have regular exercise because it increases blood flow, improves general health and speeds wound healing. Ask your doctor for suggestions on appropriate exercise.Manage any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.Do not smoke.

Check your wound regularly. See your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms including:

BleedingIncreasing painPus or discharge from the woundFever.

Always see your doctor if you have any concerns about your wound.

In an emergency, call triple zero (000)Your doctorHospital staffDomiciliary care staffSpecialist wound clinicsEmergency department of your nearest hospital.

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.

The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances.

The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. : Wounds – how to care for them

Can a dog recover from open wound?

What You Can Do To Help Heal Your Dog –

  1. Keep the wound clean and moist.
  2. Change bandage on a regular basis
  3. If you went to a vet, administer medicine as instructed.
  4. If there is any drainage- as long as it is clear and does not smell, allow it to drain.
  5. Give lots of cuddles and love for your furry friend.
  6. Do not let your pup lick the wound (if you went to a vet, you may have a cone).
  7. Be attentive and responsible to your dog while the wound is healing
  8. Watch the daily progress of the wound, and make sure the inflammation and swelling are going down.

When you take your pup home from the vet they may be a little out of it because of the anesthesia. Allow them to get comfortable and return to their full senses. If your dog’s wound was sutured, be sure to keep the bandage on and allow the wound to heal.

  • Check on it often and be sure to follow any advice given to you by the vet- including administering any medicine.
  • If necessary, get your pup a cone to prevent any biting or licking of the wound.
  • You will want to schedule a follow up appointment with the vet to remove stitches and to check on the wound healing progress.

‍ If your dog did not require stitches to close their wound, you will need to make sure that the open wound is kept clean and moist, and that bandages are changed on a regular basis. This allows for new skin to grow and promotes healing in the wound. Continue to administer medicine as instructed by the vet.

  • If there is any drainage- as long as it is clear and does not smell, allow it to drain.
  • Perhaps most importantly, you can continue to show affection to your dog and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
  • Watch the daily progress of the wound, and make sure the inflammation and swelling are going down.

Do not let your pup lick the wound- as uncomfortable as it may be- make sure they wear their cone properly. Your dog may not have as much energy as usual, but that is because they may be in pain. Be patient and allow the wound to heal. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for a wound to fully heal- so make sure not to rush the process.

Can a deep wound on a dog heal without stitches?

Gazette Vet: To Stitch or Not to Stitch By John Andersen, DVM Summer is here, and one thing we are sure to see a lot more of at the veterinary hospital are cuts, bites, and wounds. Running through the woods, playing in the river, tussling at the dog park, dogs are like a bunch of rowdy kids, not always aware of their bodies until play time is over.

  • So here you are, on a Saturday afternoon just finishing up a long hike with your family dog, and you notice blood in the back of the car.
  • After making sure the kids are all intact, you examine the dog, who now seems to have lost the invincible forest wolf energy she had just minutes ago, and now looks at you sadly and holds her paw up.

You see a deep cut in the pad that at first glance makes you go “ewww.” What do you do? Rush to the veterinary ER? (Of which there are two in Charlottesville, thank goodness!) Clean it and wait until Monday, which is a long 36 hours away? Duct tape? Here is my guide for dealing with these inevitable moments when also inevitably you’ve got soccer games, family travel, and a million other things to deal with! Deal with it now.

The most common “worst case scenarios” we see regarding cuts and wounds are ones that are brought to us 2-3 days after they happened, and are now terribly infected and much larger problems than they were a few days ago. Any time there is a cut deep enough to bleed, there is a break in the natural protective barrier of the skin and bacteria WILL enter—not just bacteria from the dirt, bite, etc., but also the bacteria that already live on the skin.

We routinely see relatively small, but deep, cuts and punctures turn into very large areas of dead skin because of infection. Superficial wounds can be cleaned and treated topically at home, whereas deeper wounds likely need deeper cleaning and antibiotics to prevent infection.

  1. The key thing is it’s always better to deal with it now vs.
  2. In two days.
  3. Superficial cuts and scrapes can usually be treated at home.
  4. Think of these as the “skinned knees and elbows”—not really a cut, but more an abrasion of skin.
  5. Just like cleaning your kid’s knee, treating your dog’s scrape is not very different, except that he is very hairy!! So, steps in taking care of these simple wounds: • Get in good lighting! • Clip or cut hair away from the wound—otherwise it will stick to the wound and foster infection and keep it from staying clean.
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• Clean blood, debris, etc. from the wound and surrounding skin—a warm washcloth is good here, as is hydrogen peroxide. Note on hydrogen peroxide: while this is a good disinfectant, and is especially helpful when there is a lot of dried blood and goop on a wound, it does delay wound healing.

  • So think of peroxide as Day 0 wound cleaning only.
  • Apply antibiotic ointmen.
  • Yep, bacitracin, Neosporin, etc.—all safe for kids, all safe for dogs too—even if they lick it a bit (which they will).
  • Apply a thin layer on the wound and repeat a few times a day until it’s dry.
  • Eep them from licking.
  • Some dogs are totally cool, while others become a neurotic mess and start licking the heck out of any skin wound.

They can certainly create a larger problem from their tongue and saliva, so if they are obsessing about it, you may need a cone collar or bandage. • Only bandage if you need to. Bandages need to be placed with care—if too tight, they can cause swelling and tissue damage.

If left on more than 12-24 hours on a new wound, they are just becoming a cozy home for bacteria to fester in. Deeper cuts should be dealt with by your vet, ideally that day. There are many deeper cuts that we see that we don’t sew up—if the skin edges are close enough and there is not a lot of motion or skin tension, we may just clean it out and let it heal on its own.

The key decision with these is whether it is deep enough to warrant an antibiotic or not. Remember, every wound is contaminated. If cleaned thoroughly within a few hours and if not too deep, it may not need antibiotics. However if not dealt with for over 4 hours, if deep, or if difficult to clean all the debris out of it, it may need some vet care for proper cleaning and antibiotics to keep it from getting infected.

Many cuts need to be sutured closed. For dogs who are calm we can do this in the office with no sedation, just a local block and a few staples or stitches. However many dogs need to be sedated because they are too scared, wild, or painful. Punctures should always be seen as soon as possible. Bite wounds from a fight/scuffle with another dog/cat can become terribly infected because the teeth can sink deep below the skin, despite some very small skin wounds.

Take a cat bite for example. This may cause only a 2 mm puncture wound in the skin, but that cat tooth may have sunk in ½” and is almost certain to be a painful infected mess in 1-2 days if not treated immediately. Most puncture wounds will be cleaned out and placed on antibiotics—again, virtually all cat bites will become infected due to the nature of the bacteria that normally live in the mouths of cats.

Not all dog bites will become infected, but the deeper ones usually cause enough tissue trauma that antibiotics are needed. It’s not getting better. It’s important to see that the wounds are getting better, whether a simple scrape that you treated, or a dog fight wound your vet helped you with. Sometimes there is blood supply that was damaged at the time of the injury that will delay healing, or sometimes your pet has been licking at it.

Check these wounds at least twice a day to make sure they are healing. I tell people the wounds should look more “boring” each day: less redness, less discharge, and less painful. Get your pets out there and enjoy our area this summer, but when the inevitable accidents happen, simply ask what you would do if it was your own skin.

What does a healthy dog wound look like?

How to Tell If Your Dogs Wound Is Healing Correctly – During the times when you have removed the old bandage but have yet to put the new one on your dog, you’ll want to take a moment to inspect the wound. Dog wounds follow four stages during their healing process,

  1. These stages include inflammation, debridement, repair, and maturation.
  2. Given that you are checking in on an older wound and want to track the progress of its healing we don’t need to worry about inflammation and debridement.
  3. These are the stages the wound goes through in the first couple hours after the initial injury.

The stages you’ll be concerned about are the repair stage and the maturation stage. The repair stage starts the first day and lasts a week or two. During this stage the wound should look like you would expect a wound to look like after a few days. New soft moist pink tissue should be forming in the area the wound was sustained in.

  • If there is no new soft pink flesh forming where the wound was sustained, and you notice flesh around the wound is looking dark or feeling leathery, this is a bad sign.
  • That means that this flesh is dying and you’ll want to get them to a vet right away.
  • Eep an eye on the wound over the next week or two every time you change the bandage.

As long as you don’t see the blackened or dying tissue and you do see new soft pink tissue forming, that means the wound is healing appropriately and soon the maturation stage of the wound will begin, As the wound enters the final stage of healing the wound will be much smaller and the flesh will be less of a pink color and will become more of a white color. If you are concerned that the wound isn’t healing correctly, get your pet to the vet at your first opportunity. Photo Courtesy of PetMD,

Do dog wounds hurt?

Stage 1: Inflammation – The first dog wound healing stage––often called the “first responders” stage––starts immediately after your pet hurts itself. All injuries begin with inflammation, whether a laceration, abrasion or puncture wound. Pet owners may notice swelling, redness, heat, and pain.

As the name “first responders” suggests, this stage controls the bleeding and activates the immune system. After all, a dog’s body reacts immediately when it senses a sign of danger. The body receives chemical signals to start inflammation. When this happens, the capillaries constrict, arterioles dilate, and blood clots form.

This process allows blood, white blood cells, and fluids to get to the injured area and prevent infection.

How do you tell if a wound is healing or infected?

Discharge – After the initial discharge of a bit of pus and blood, your wound should be clear. If the discharge continues through the wound healing process and begins to smell bad or have discoloration, it’s probably a sign of infection.

What to do if dogs wound is not healing?

At the Vet – If your dog unfortunately received a more serious injury- one that is larger, in a sensitive area, or is a high risk of contamination- you will need to have them treated at the vet. Depending on the stage of the wound- and whether it looks infected- the vet will begin to suture the wound to start the healing process.

  • This is called a closed wound, and is usually done when there is no sign of infection present.
  • If the wound has not begun to heal itself and is showing signs of infection, the vet will immediately begin to remove any tissue that is decaying via a debridement procedure.
  • This type of wound must be left to heal as an open wound- meaning that it will not be sutured and should be allowed to drain.

A topical ointment will be applied, and if possible, a bandage to cover it as well. Your vet will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics too. Once your dog is home from the vet, you will still need to help their wound heal. If it is an open wound, you will need to:

Clean the wound to remove any crusty debris, keep infection away, and allow for new skin to growMake sure your pup receives all the medication prescribed by your vet, and do not stop administering until told to do so.Do not allow your dog to lick their wound. This can only extend the healing process and could be a reason why your dog’s wound isn’t healing.If there is an abscess, do not let the wound close too early. Allow it to drain and make sure it stays moist and open. As long as the discharge does not smell and is not colored, it means that the wound is healing as best as it can.

Once the wound is finally healed, your best friend will be back in no time!

Does saliva help heal wounds?

Abstract – Oral wounds heal faster and with less scar formation than skin wounds. One of the key factors involved is saliva, which promotes wound healing in several ways. Saliva creates a humid environment, thus improving the survival and functioning of inflammatory cells that are crucial for wound healing.

  1. In addition, saliva contains several proteins which play a role in the different stages of wound healing.
  2. Saliva contains substantial amounts of tissue factor, which dramatically accelerates blood clotting.
  3. Subsequently, epidermal growth factor in saliva promotes the proliferation of epithelial cells.
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Secretory leucocyte protease inhibitor inhibits the tissue-degrading activity of enzymes like elastase and trypsin. Absence of this protease inhibitor delays oral wound healing. Salivary histatins in vitro promote wound closure by enhancing cell spreading and cell migration, but do not stimulate cell proliferation.

What is the fastest way to heal an open wound?

Wounds – how to care for them

A skin wound that fails to heal, heals slowly or heals but tends to recur is known as a chronic wound.The treatment recommended by your doctor depends on your age, health and nature of your wound.Contrary to popular belief, chronic wounds are more likely to heal if they are treated with moist rather than dry dressings.

A skin wound that doesn’t heal, heals slowly or heals but tends to recur is known as a chronic wound. Some of the many causes of chronic (ongoing) skin wounds can include trauma, burns, skin cancers, infection or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes. Wounds that take a long time to heal need special care.Some of the many causes of a chronic skin wound can include:

Being immobile (pressure injuries or bed sores), where persistent localised pressure restricts blood flowSignificant trauma injury to the skinSurgery – incisions (cuts made during operations) may become infected and slow to healDeep burnsUnderlying medical conditions such as diabetes or some types of vascular diseaseSpecific types of infection such as the Bairnsdale or Buruli ulcers ( Mycobacterium ulcerans) Trophic ulcers, where a lack of sensation allows everyday trauma to lead to an ulcer – such as in diabetic neuropathy and leprosy.

The healing process of a skin wound follows a predictable pattern. A wound may fail to heal if one or more of the healing stages are interrupted. The normal wound healing stages include:

Inflammatory stage – blood vessels at the site constrict (tighten) to prevent blood loss and platelets (special clotting cells) gather to build a clot. Once the clot is completed, blood vessels expand to allow maximum blood flow to the wound. This is why a healing wound at first feels warm and looks red. White blood cells flood the area to destroy microbes and other foreign bodies. Skin cells multiply and grow across the wound. Fibroblastic stage – collagen, the protein fibre that gives skin its strength, starts to grow within the wound. The growth of collagen encourages the edges of the wound to shrink together and close. Small blood vessels (capillaries) form at the site to service the new skin with blood. Maturation stage – the body constantly adds more collagen and refines the wounded area. This may take months or even years. This is why scars tend to fade with time and why we must take care of wounds for some time after they have healed.

Factors that can slow the wound healing process include:

Dead skin (necrosis) – dead skin and foreign materials interfere with the healing process. Infection – an open wound may develop a bacterial infection. The body fights the infection rather than healing the wound. Haemorrhage – persistent bleeding will keep the wound margins apart. Mechanical damage – for example, a person who is immobile is at risk of bedsores because of constant pressure and friction. Diet – poor food choices may deprive the body of the nutrients it needs to heal the wound, such as vitamin C, zinc and protein. Medical conditions – such as diabetes, anaemia and some vascular diseases that restrict blood flow to the area, or any disorder that hinders the immune system. Age – wounds tend to take longer to heal in elderly people. Medicines – certain drugs or treatments used in the management of some medical conditions may interfere with the body’s healing process. Smoking – cigarette smoking impairs healing and increases the risk of complications. Varicose veins – restricted blood flow and swelling can lead to skin break down and persistent ulceration. Dryness – wounds (such as leg ulcers) that are exposed to the air are less likely to heal. The various cells involved in healing, such as skin cells and immune cells, need a moist environment.

The cause of the chronic wound must be identified so that the underlying factors can be controlled. For example, if a leg or foot ulcer is caused by diabetes, your doctor will review the control of your blood sugar levels and may recommend that you see a podiatrist to prevent recurring ulcers in future.

Physical examination including inspection of the wound and assessment of the local nerve and blood supplyMedical history including information about chronic medical conditions, recent surgery and drugs that you routinely take or have recently taken Blood and urine testsBiopsy of the woundCulture of the wound to look for any (pathogenic) disease-causing micro-organisms.

The treatment recommended by your doctor depends on your age, health and the nature of your wound. General medical care may include:

Cleaning to remove dirt and debris from a fresh wound. This is done very gently and often in the shower.Vaccinating for tetanus may be recommended in some cases of traumatic injury.Exploring a deep wound surgically may be necessary. Local anaesthetic will be given before the examination.Removing dead skin surgically. Local anaesthetic will be given.Closing large wounds with stitches or staples. Dressing the wound. The dressing chosen by your doctor depends on the type and severity of the wound. In most cases of chronic wounds, the doctor will recommend a moist dressing.Relieving pain with medications. Pain can cause the blood vessels to constrict, which slows healing. If your wound is causing discomfort, tell your doctor. The doctor may suggest that you take over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol or may prescribe stronger pain-killing medication. Treating signs of infection including pain, pus and fever. The doctor will prescribe antibiotics and antimicrobial dressings if necessary. Take as directed.Reviewing your other medications. Some medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, interfere with the body’s healing process. Tell your doctor about all medications you take (including natural medicines) or have recently taken. The doctor may change the dose or prescribe other medicines until your wound has healed.Using aids such as support stockings. Use these aids as directed by your doctor.Treating other medical conditions, such as anaemia, that may prevent your wound healing.Prescribing specific antibiotics for wounds caused by Bairnsdale or Buruli ulcers. Skin grafts may also be needed.Recommending surgery or radiation treatment to remove rodent ulcers (a non-invasive skin cancer).Improving the blood supply with vascular surgery, if diabetes or other conditions related to poor blood supply prevent wound healing.

Be guided by your doctor, but self-care suggestions for slow-healing wounds include:

Do not take drugs that interfere with the body’s natural healing process if possible. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs (such as over-the-counter aspirin) will hamper the action of immune system cells. Ask your doctor for a list of medicines to avoid in the short term.Make sure to eat properly. Your body needs good food to fuel the healing process.Include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet. The body needs vitamin C to make collagen. Fresh fruits and vegetables eaten daily will also supply your body with other nutrients essential to wound healing such as vitamin A, copper and zinc. It may help to supplement your diet with extra vitamin C.Keep your wound dressed. Wounds heal faster if they are kept warm. Try to be quick when changing dressings. Exposing a wound to the open air can drop its temperature and may slow healing for a few hours. Don’t use antiseptic creams, washes or sprays on a chronic wound. These preparations are poisonous to the cells involved in wound repair.Have regular exercise because it increases blood flow, improves general health and speeds wound healing. Ask your doctor for suggestions on appropriate exercise.Manage any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.Do not smoke.

Check your wound regularly. See your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms including:

BleedingIncreasing painPus or discharge from the woundFever.

Always see your doctor if you have any concerns about your wound.

In an emergency, call triple zero (000)Your doctorHospital staffDomiciliary care staffSpecialist wound clinicsEmergency department of your nearest hospital.

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.

The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances.

The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. : Wounds – how to care for them