Fissure Wounds in Dogs

Written by emilytrudeau
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Fissure Wounds in Dogs
The pads of dog paws are a common location for fissure wounds. (Une patte sur le parquet image by MaxLeMans from Fotolia.com)

Fissure wounds are long narrow cracks, usually in the skin. The most common fissure wounds in dogs are anal fissures, due to an unbalanced diet, or fissure wounds caused by abrasion of their pads from overuse. These wounds can be painful and can become abscesses if left untreated. Dogs that experience fissure wounds could be required to avoid normal activity until the wounds have healed. To treat fissure wounds, you need to treat the cause of the wound as well as apply first aid for the trauma.

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Fissure wounds

Fissure wounds are tears in the skin and are caused by a number of things, depending on where they are located. They are usually preceded by some form of abrasion and can bleed consistently. They can also reopen and bleed again if treatment is stopped prematurely. Fissure wounds can be quite painful, as they are tears in the skin, but can heal fully in about two weeks. If left untreated, they can become abscesses, which is a bacterial infection of the wound and is filled with pus.

Causes

One common type of fissure wound in dogs is in the pads of their feet. This is usually started by running on rough surfaces for extended periods of time. Snow or gravel will cause the abrasion, which will continue to weaken into fissures after a lot of overuse of the paws. Another type is an anal fissure, which is caused by diarrhoea or constipation of the animal, leading to the break in the anal wall.

Treatment

Treatment of fissures is similar to treatment of abrasions. You should clean the wound thoroughly first to avoid any kind of infection later. For anal fissures, you will first probably have to relieve the constipation by giving the dog a stool softener or high-fibre foods. For both types of fissure wounds, you can apply ointments such as colloidal silver cream or antibiotic ointment until it heals completely. The vet can prescribe antibiotics if there is a likelihood of infection.

Prevention/Solution

For fissure wounds in the paws, avoid working your dog outdoors to extremes. If you're going to be taking your dog on rough or snowy surfaces a lot, work your way up by starting out for short periods of time. This will help your dog's paws adjust to the terrain and avoid getting injuries from exhausting them immediately. Anal fissures can be prevented by giving dogs a balanced diet that is high in fibre. Fat-rich foods or bones can cause constipation, leading to tears.

Warning

Fissure wounds in the pads of dog paws can look similar to puncture wounds, which are much more likely to become infected. You should take your dog to the vet if your dog remains in pain for more than a week, and check it carefully for a high temperature, which could suggest infection. Anal fissures can become more serious abscesses easily, so a trip to the vet to be sure that they are healing properly is a good idea.

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