Dog Almost Loses Leg Because of Bandage

Bandages make me nervous.  When used properly, they help the patient heal by stabilizing the affected body part and protecting the injured area.  Unfortunately, bandages can also cause great harm if used improperly.  Pictured below is the leg of a dog who sprained his paw.  He was placed in a supportive wrap and released to his family with the following instructions: 

1) Keep the bandage dry by placing a freezer bag over it when outside.  If it gets wet, remove it immediately and bring the dog back as soon as possible for a new one.  
2) Check the toes for swelling several times a day. 
3) Restrict his exercise to leash walks only.
4) Return every seven days for a bandage change. (The time frame will vary greatly depending upon the patient and problem.)  

Unfortunately, this dog’s family ignored the instructions.  They let him play in the yard while the sprinklers were going, never checked his toes for swelling and decided to wait 2 weeks for bandage changes to save money.  When they finally brought him in, I knew from the smell that his paw was in bad shape before I removed the bandage.  Pictured below is what I found.  With intensive therapy, the dog made a complete recovery but I still get upset when I think of how needlessly and terribly he suffered.  If your pet comes home with a bandage, please follow the rules listed above to keep them safe.      

Warning:  This picture is not for the faint of heart.  Only look if you have a strong stomach. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.