One of the most common reasons dogs or cats see their veterinarians for emergency appointments is because of a simple wound or bite wound. The bite wound may have been caused by another family pet or by a fight with a strange or unfamiliar animal. Depending on the size of the animal inflicting the wound, they may be life threatening and require immediate veterinary attention.
There are certain symptoms that require immediate emergency treatment. These include uncontrollable bleeding (bleeding that can't be stopped), breathing difficulty, weakness, crying or whining, limping, pale or blue gums, or collapse.
Your veterinarian will determine what sort of treatment is necessary, based on the extent of the injuries, your dog's general health, and the location of the wounds. The goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of any infection that develops. Antibiotics will be prescribed for all wounds that have penetrated the skin. For minor injuries, or for wounds that must be left open to heal, your veterinarian may prescribe a topical antibiotic. If there is any doubt about skin penetration, your veterinarian will prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic to lessen the chance that a serious infection will develop. Wounds that are treated within 6 hours of the injury have the best chance of healing without complications. Most wounds are painful and it is more humane for your animal to be given some sort of pain medication or a sedative or anesthetic before attempting to assess the extent of the injuries.