Abrasion and Laceration

An abrasion is a damaged or scraped area of skin. A laceration is a cut in the skin. These injuries can be mild and superficial or large and very deep with multiple areas involved. Whenever the protective outer layer of skin is damaged, bacteria can easily invade deeper tissues and cause.

Identifying Abrasions and Lacerations on Your Pet

Common causes include bites, scrapes, falls, and cuts from wire, glass or other sharp surfaces. Serious abrasions and lacerations are usually obvious. However, these injuries can be hidden under hair or in skin folds. Common signs include:

  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Chewing or licking at the damaged area

Treating Abrasions and Lacerations

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and examination.Treatment is based on the extent and severity of the injuries. All wounds require clipping, cleaning and usually antibiotics.

Significant injuries often require anesthesia, repair of damaged tissue, deep cleaning and, if necessary, removal of foreign bodies. Sutures (stitches) or surgical staples are frequently needed to repair lacerated tissue. Severe abrasions and lacerations can be life threatening, especially if significant bleeding occurs. These extensive skin wounds can be accompanied by deeper injuries to muscles, tendons, vessels, nerves, bones and organs.

Post-Treatment and Prevention Tips

Good home wound care and monitoring are vital to a speedy recovery. Pets frequently may try to lick or chew at healing wounds, sutures or surgical drains, causing more damage. This can be prevented by the use of an Elizabethan (cone shaped) collar.

  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet carefully and have him/her rechecked if you have any concerns.
  • Be sure to follow all activity restriction instructions from your veterinarian.
  • Carefully follow any post surgical, bandage or wound care instructions. These could mean the difference between a successful recovery or further problems.
  • It is important to have your pet rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.

Learn More

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield Pet Hospital today. You can also get more information about what to do in the event of a pet emergency in our Emergency Care section.