Pippen's Lucky Escape

Pippen is an Australian Shepherd X who presented to the clinic after he had been attacked by a dog while he was being walked on lead. The owner of the other dog did not have him restrained on a lead, though stated that 'he never usually behaves like this!'.

Pippen was bitten on his scruff (the loose skin on the back of his neck), and sustained two very nasty lacerations.

On initial presentation to the clinic Pippen was suffering from shock. He was quite pale in his gums, had a very fast heart rate, and was hypothermic (low body temperature). He was placed onto intravenous fluids to aid his circulation, and given a antibiotic injection and some pain relief to make him feel more comfortable.

Once stable, Pippen was given a general anaesthetic and his wounds were cleaned, debrided (removal of dead tissue), and sutured closed. A drain was placed under his skin to avoid excess swelling from fluid build up. Pippen was then given a anti-inflammatory injection.

His recovery from anaesthetic was uneventful, though he remained in hospital overnight for monitoring. He also sustained significant bruising around his neck, though was lucky that no major vessels were involved in his wounds.

Three days later Pippen returned to the clinic for a post op check and to have his drains removed, His wounds were healing well, and he was bright and happy following his surgery. Ten days later his sutures were removed. His wound had healed perfectly, and his hair had begun to re grow.

Pippen was lucky that he did not sustain more fatal injuries. Dog attacks happen all too often, as many owners do not know their pets social limits, or are irresponsible when it comes to restraint. Be aware of other dogs around you while your pooch is playing in the park.

If your dog becomes involved in a scuffle, be sure NOT to pull the dogs apart with your hands, as you may end up being bitten. Instead, look for distractions such as a water source (hose etc), toys, and treats.

Fight wounds may appear quite superficial initially, though most often they extend deep under the skin, and due to the power of a dogs jaw, the skin may be lifted off the underlying muscle. This often destroys the blood supply and can lead to widespread tissue necrosis (tissue death).

If your dog is involved in a fight, be sure to seek medical advice or attention from your veterinary surgeon, as nasty wounds are not always evident.

The staff at Fitzroy are happy to answer any queries you may have regarding this topic.