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Lacerations in Dogs

dog laceration

Lacerations are cuts of varying depths and severity, which can affect your pet at any time. Common causes of injury include bite wounds from other dogs and running into the sharp edges of furniture. Lacerations are not to be confused with milder incisions. While incisions are usually linear, lacerations are often found in a jagged and irregular shape.

Wound infections may occur in lacerated areas of the body, which might be life-threatening if left untreated.


Injured pets may exhibit a wound that bleeds profusely. There are various depths of laceration, ranging from superficial wounds to full-thickness that cuts through every skin layer to expose muscle, tendon or even bone.

In severe cases, you might observe your pet struggling for breath, which could be a sign of organ damage or complications due to infection.


Vets will perform a physical examination to determine the severity of the laceration. Your vet might request the medical history of your pet for a better understanding of overall health conditions before starting on treatment. Injured pets might also be provided with an X-ray to determine the extent of the injury.


The wound is usually cleaned of debris and treated with a saline solution to reduce the risks of bacterial or viral infections. Fluids or discharge are drained to avoid the formation of an abscess. Superficial wounds are usually cleaned and dressed immediately while serious cases may require the use of general anesthesia or strong sedation before surgery. Multiple sutures are usually required for serious wounds with damaged deep tissues. Vets may prescribe a course of antibiotics in the case of an infection.

Expected Costs

Laceration procedures range between $100-$750, excluding additional procedures in the event of an infection.

Home Care and Management for Dogs with Laceration

A superficial laceration may be handled at home by applying firm pressure over the wound with a gauze or towel for a couple of minutes. Owners should be cautious when dealing with their injured pets, they may be unusually aggressive due to their fear and pain.

For deeper lacerations managed after a vet visit, owners should administer dressing changes 3-4 times a day (as long as the gauze or bandage remains moistened). Keep injured pets at home to minimize physical strain, which will improve the healing process. Indoor recovery will also enable owners to closely monitor their pet’s behavior and wound condition. Seek a second opinion if you notice your pet eating less or if the bleeding persists.

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