Bleeding injuries in pets
Arterial (high pressure) bleeding
This occurs when an artery is cut. Arteries carry blood under high pressure so you will see a jet of blood shooting outwards or blood filling up very quickly under the damaged tissue causing swelling. Arterial bleeders need to be stopped very quickly as it does not take long for an animal to pump out its blood supply through a damaged artery.
Arteries are located deep in muscles and are usually on the inside of limbs, so they are not normally damaged if it is a shallow wound to the outside surface of a limb.
Venous (low pressure) bleeding
Veins carry blood under a much lower pressure so do not squirt out blood- they tend to ooze out blood instead. Veins tend to lie just under the skin surface so they tend to be the first blood vessel damaged in an injury.
DO NOT APPLY A TOURNIQUET UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES
- APPLY PRESSURE TO THE WOUND
Applying digital pressure
Grasp the affected leg above the level of injury and squeeze with your fingertips into the deeper tissues on the inside of the leg.
Applying direct pressure
- Apply a bandage, handkerchief, clean rag to the wound and press down very firmly
- Do not release the pressure
- Then place a bandage or wrap around the pressure pad to keep it in place
- Do not change the dressing if blood starts to seep through it; add more layers to it instead
Look for symptoms of shock
The animal is starting to go into shock if some or all of these symptoms are noticed:
- Pale gums and/or slow refill time (when you apply finger pressure ot the gums)
- Weak pulse
- Rapid heart rate
- Cool extremities