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Esedess's avatar

Do I really have to take my dog to the vet?

Asked by Esedess (3439points) March 7th, 2017

Last night my 45~lb dog (German Shepherd/Husky) got in a little scuff with some coyotes. She got bit on her back thigh. 2–4 small puncture wounds that bled a little then stopped once I cleaned them. She’s up-to-date on her vaccinations (June 2016).

Last night she wouldn’t put any weight on that leg, but she didn’t show any signs of pain when I prodded the area. I checked for anything lodged in her paw. Nothing. So I just gave her 160mg of aspirin and we went to bed. This morning, 6 hours later, she was putting weight on it with a very slight limp, and only sometimes at that.

The vet and a lot of people who treat their dogs like they’re not one of the most successful species on earth are telling me I HAVE to take her in IMMEDIATELY, and that they’ll probably have to shave the area and attach some drainage device, give her antibiotics, maybe a rabies booster, keep her for observation, etc, etc… Needless to say I’m skeptical.

To me, it sounds like a huge money grubbing overreaction (I’ve been scammed by vets before). How fucking fragile are dogs!? I’VE been bit, and got through it just fine without a trip to the ICU.

Is this really something I can’t just clean myself, watch, and then take her in if it doesn’t get better? I’d rather not go spend $100+ just cause a vet would rather make some money than tell me it’s a minor injury.

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12 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

To go the DIY route…Infection is your biggest concern. Keep the punctures clean and washed and look for discharge of the wound. DO check with your palm a few times a day for “hot spots” which is a sure sign of infection. Bite/puncture wounds can cause trauma to the puncture area and swelling will set in the muscles causing the animal to not want to stress the limb. Absent outward signs of a fracture I would give it a couple days to see it she seems to exhibit signs of progress. If she stops eating/drinking and or going potty then take her to the VET by all means. The attack probably stressed and traumatized her as well and let her rest. I am not a vet or a doctor….just have had a bit of 1st aid/survival training.

Esedess's avatar

@Cruiser When checking for “hot spots” are you referring to temperature?

tinyfaery's avatar

Do what you want, but if your dog ends up dying or is permanently injured it is YOUR FAULT.

jca's avatar

I had a cat that was bitten by another cat once, and the wound got swollen. I took her to the vet and it was over 200 bucks (and this was 15 years ago) to drain it. I am not sure what would have happened if I didn’t take it to the vet, but I was not only concerned about the infection but I didn’t want to see the cat in pain. Once the vet drained it, all was well. I just got a little bunch of money from a bonus at work so that’s where the bonus went. It was annoying but it’s part of the responsibililty of pet ownership.

Cruiser's avatar

@Esedess Yes. Infected wounds will swell and feel very warm/hot to the touch and time for medical intervention. I should add a hot compress will help facilitate the draining of a pussy wound sometimes for a day or two. Keep all dressings sterile as boiled in water for at least 5 minutes sterile.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. The primary issue is infection. The bite could be an issue too. Small puncture marks aren’t the only damage usually. When a bite occurs, the skin can be pulled loose from the muscle wall,creating a negative space, that is HIGHLY susceptible to rampant infection. A vet may have to probe the wound to determine the best way to treat it.

And then there’s pain. Never use over the counter meds,unless specifically told by a vet who knows a brief medical history, and weight of the animal.

In addition, dogs hide their pain well. When I worked as a tech at the emergency veterinarian hospital, I used to say “I consider pain an emergency, bring email in.” My place would allow a tech to evaluate a problem for free,to determine if an actual treatment was required, maybe your local place will…

In addition to keeping it clean, watch for attitude, and appetite changes. A dog that isn’t eating, and has reduced activity level may have a fever. If you have a suspicion of this,take the dog’s temp rectally. A normal body temp for a dog is between 100–102.5°f. If it’s higher, I would definitely take em in.

Good luck.

kritiper's avatar

If it bled a lot I wouldn’t worry. If it didn’t bleed much I’d be concerned. At least clean the area thoroughly and treat the area with some rubbing alcohol to kill any infectious germs. Then keep a close eye on the dog and it’s wound. Make sure it gets lots of water. Some swelling might be normal but be mindful of the color of the flesh. Any sign of infection, get the dog to the vet. (Even animals can acquire antibiotic resistant superbug infections!)

dappled_leaves's avatar

“The vet and a lot of people who treat their dogs like they’re not one of the most successful species on earth…”

I know this isn’t the focus of your post, but I feel I should point out that “success” only refers to the fact that dogs leave lots of offspring, not that they can recover well from injury.

As others have said, infection is a risk, and that risk can be lowered by antibiotics. You need to assess the risk and decide what’s best for your dog.

si3tech's avatar

@Esedess The vet’s my best recommendation.

Esedess's avatar

@dappled_leaves What I actually meant by dogs being one of the most successful species is in their ability to adapt and live along side us in almost every climate on the planet. Like plants, most species have a fairly narrow environmental range in which they can thrive.

DarknessWithin's avatar

If you’re not a licensed veterinary professional than who are you to assess that this is a minor injury or that it’s healing properly?

Nonetheless, you have a right to feel as you do and no one can force you to do anything.

Do whatever you’re comfortable doing, but if you DIY the treatment you’re accepting responsibility if it proves inadequate because that dog ends up with an infection and possibly dying. If that’s the outcome, then you were careless.

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