Bandages are mainly used to protect a wound, incision, or injury while it is healing. A bandage protects the wound surface from contamination with dirt or debris from the environment. It may be used to cover a layer of topical medication that was applied to the wound, preventing the medication from being rubbed or licked off.
Bandages can be readily applied to the head, neck, chest, tail or lower legs of a dog or cat. In some cases a bandage is used to hold an injured part against another part of the body, such as bandaging an injured ear to the head, or bandaging an injured or broken toe to the other toes on the paw. Splints are usually applied below the knee on the back leg or below the midpoint of the humerus (the bone that connects the shoulder to the elbow) on the front paw.
The anatomy of the upper part of the front and hind legs makes it very difficult to apply a bandage or splint that will stay in place without slipping or causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. If it is necessary to protect or stabilize these areas, your veterinarian will apply some type of immobilizing sling.