Dog bites can range from superficial bruises to serious deep wounds. Immediate cleaning of superficial wounds can reduce the risk of infections. After cleaning, take the cat to the vet to be examined and continue taking care of the animal at home according to the instructions received. Be aware that a dog bite can cause internal wounds, including crushing, internal organ damage, and pneumothorax. It is essential to seek veterinary care if the dog has bitten and shaken the cat, as this can result in trauma to the feline's internal organs. Remember, the damage caused by the dog can be greater than the wounds visible on the surface.
Part 1 of 3: Taking immediate action
Step 1. Take care of any bleeding as soon as possible
Check to see if the cat is bleeding immediately. Even a small dog bite can cause bleeding.
- Apply pressure directly to the wound. For this, it is necessary to use sterile gauze. It is safe to use gauze found in human first aid kits. If you don't have a first-aid kit, it's also possible to use large dressings, as long as they're sterile. Do not use anything that could cause infection, especially tissue paper or toilet paper left in the bathroom, as they may be infested with bacteria.
- Bleeding can take five to ten minutes to stop. Your cat will probably be scared and will instinctively run for cover. It may be necessary to ask someone for help to hold the cat. It is also a good idea to wrap the cat in a blanket to prevent it from kicking or scratching.
- When the bleeding stops, attach the gauze or bandage in place if possible. Removing the bandage can break up the blood clot, causing the cat to start bleeding again.
Step 2. Look for other wounds on the cat
Even though only a part of the cat's body is visibly bleeding, it's important to examine the animal closely for other, less obvious injuries. Dog bites and scratches can cause multiple marks.
The cat may have small cuts, punctures or scratches on the skin. It is possible that these bruises do not bleed at all or only bleed a little, but they still need to be cleaned
Step 3. Clean the wound as best you can
After taking care of any bleeds and checking the cat's body for other bruises, you should clean the wounds quickly. The best thing is to use an antiseptic solution, but if you don't have something like that, just use water.
- You can dilute concentrated solutions containing iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate in water to prepare an antiseptic solution. Such solutions can be purchased from most pharmacies and should be diluted until they are tea colored or light blue. Never use disinfectants that contain phenolic compounds (such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide), as these substances are toxic to cats. If in doubt, it may be safer to prepare a salt water solution by diluting a teaspoon of salt to 480 ml of boiled water. Wait for the solution to cool.
- Pour the solution onto the surface of the wound, using a syringe if possible. If the wound is very large or deep, or is a puncture, clean only the edges and not the inside of the wound.
Step 4. Be aware of possible complications
Left untreated, a dog's bites can result in all sorts of complications, including infections and different symptoms.
- An untreated bite can end up causing an abscess - a lump filled with fluid just under the surface of the skin. You may notice the cat limping, lethargic, or lacking in appetite. Hair in the bite area may fall out and the skin may be red, pussy, and smelly.
- If the cat hasn't been vaccinated against rabies recently and you don't know if the dog that bit you has the disease, the feline should be vaccinated right away. It may be necessary to quarantine the cat to check for signs of rabies.
Part 2 of 3: Seeking Veterinary Care
Step 1. Make an appointment as soon as possible
As small as the wounds may appear, they should be treated by a veterinarian right away. Dog saliva can cause infections, and if your cat needs any kind of treatment beyond the basics, it's important to know as early as possible.
- In addition to looking at the most common vital signs such as heart rate and breathing, your veterinarian will do a thorough examination of all bites to determine the best treatment.
- Before the physical examination, the cat's fur is likely to be shaved off in the areas near the wounds. The veterinarian may also order X-rays, depending on the severity or depth of the wounds.
- Perhaps the cat will behave aggressively in the office if it is still shaken by the event. In that case, it may be necessary to sedate him. If the appointment is with a new veterinarian, be sure to give him a summary of the cat's medical history. Cats suffering from certain illnesses, such as heart murmur, can be negatively affected by sedation.
Step 2. Evaluate treatment options
The type of treatment needed will depend on the severity of the wound. The veterinarian will choose the ideal treatment option for the cat.
- Small wounds may not need much care. The veterinarian will clean the wounds and may use some type of skin glue to close the wound. Deeper wounds will receive careful cleaning and, if they have occurred less than 12 hours ago, they will be sewn up.
- Insertion of Penrose drains may be necessary if wounds are contaminated or are extensive and deep. The Penrose drain is a soft rubber tube that drains contamination from the wound.
Step 3. Ask for instructions on how to administer any medications
The cat may need to receive medication. If the wound is infected, the cat may need to take antibiotics. In some cases, the cat will only need pain relievers to withstand the discomfort. Try to understand well how and when to administer any prescribed medications, and ask your veterinarian about possible side effects.
The veterinarian will usually prescribe a series of antibiotics for the cat. Administer all medications as instructed. As long as the symptoms go away, continue to give the antibiotics until the prescribed period
Part 3 of 3: Taking care of your cat at home
Step 1. Stop the cat from licking the wound
It is important not to let the cat lick or bite the wound, as this can cause an infection or open bandages, drains or sutures too soon.
- It may be necessary to ask the veterinarian for an Elizabethan collar, which is a kind of cone that is attached to the animal's neck, preventing it from licking the wounds. Depending on the cat's temperament, it may tolerate the use of the Elizabethan collar.
- If you notice the cat licking or biting the wound, gently correct its behavior. Clap your hands and say "no". It may be necessary to have someone supervise the animal while you work or study, thus ensuring that the feline does not try to tamper with the wound.
Step 2. Change dressings as instructed
The veterinarian will give advice on how to change the animal's dressings. Follow the instructions and don't hesitate to call your veterinarian if you have any questions.
- It may be necessary to change dressings even two to three times a day. If you are a busy person, ask a friend or relative (who is comfortable with felines) to change the animal's dressings during the hours you are working or studying.
- In some cases, it will be necessary to apply antibiotic ointment around the wounds when changing the dressings. This will depend on the care routine determined by the veterinarian.
- If you notice an unusual odor or secretion when changing the dressings, take the feline to the vet to be re-examined.
Step 3. Schedule all necessary appointments
If the cat has a drain or stitches in the wound, an appointment will need to be made again to have them removed.
- Stitches are usually removed 10 to 12 days after they are made.
- Penrose drains are usually removed after three to five days.
Step 4. Avoid this type of accident in the future
It is important to ensure that such accidents do not happen again. Dog bites can be fatal.
- If the bite was caused by the neighbor's dog, talk to that neighbor to make sure it doesn't happen again. Politely ask your dog not to let your dog out on the street, and suggest obedience training to deal with your dog's aggression issues.
- In general, don't let the cat run around the neighborhood unattended. This will prevent him from coming across another dog in the future.
- If the cat has been bitten by your own dog, you will need to separate the animals until both are calm, then gradually reintroduce them. Let them interact separated by a gate and then allow them to interact normally but with your supervision.