Most wounds that dogs suffer heal in a matter of days with no complications. However, some wounds do not heal completely; some can become chronic. Some such wounds will exude a serum or pus to keep the wound moist. There are several ways to remedy the situation or prevent it from becoming chronic.
Wounds on the Mend
Normally, wounds on people and animals go through several stages of repair. First, blood platelets will gather along the injury and seal off blood vessels. These platelets stimulate the formation of thrombin, which creates a fibrin mesh that helps seal the wound. This usually takes place in minutes. Next, the wound will become somewhat inflamed and may even swell some. This inflammation causes the secretion of a serum that helps remove debris from the wound. Other cells then begin to form new tissue that appears granulated. Finally, fibroblasts finish the healing process.
Although most wounds will heal within three weeks, some do not follow the normal steps. Often this is due to underlying health problems such as diabetes. Other wounds will become infected because of debris left in the wound. Others will refuse to heal because of continual irritation of the wound itself. Some wounds will stay too moist or become too dry, and thus hinder the healing process. In order to help chronic wounds to heal, it is necessary to find the underlying reason for their failure to do so.
Underlying Health Problems
According to veterinarian Rosanna Marsalla, the type and location of the chronic wound may give clues to underlying health problems. Some crusty lesions may signal pancreatic tumors or liver disease. Some skin lesions may be indicative of autoimmune diseases. Often, if the wound is located on the paws or lower legs, the dog may continue to lick it until a dermatitis forms.
Once the underlying health problem is identified and treated, the wound will usually go on and heal. In the case of diabetes, insulin injections may be necessary. Some tumors can be surgically removed. In the case of bacterial infections, allergies or autoimmune disorders, antibiotics or steroids may remove the cause and allow healing to take place. Antibiotic ointments may also help.
Carolyn Kaberline has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications and have covered a variety of topics. In addition to writing, she's also a full-time high-school English and journalism teacher. Kaberline earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical journalism from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts in education from Baker University.