EXO-Lesson 3- Wound Management

Wounds occur when there is a break in the outermost layer of tissue. These can be caused by anything and vary in type. The different types are: abrasions, lacerations, punctures, and crushing wounds

  • An abrasion is also known as a scrape. These are typically pretty shallow in-depth but tend to be painful since nerve endings may be exposed. These occur when a rough surface rubs tissues with enough friction that it wears away layers of cells. This can happen if a pet falls onto a rough surface such as a rock.
  • A laceration is a cut or tear into the tissues. These can range in depth and severity. This can be caused by anything sharp coming into contact with the tissues. An example of this would be a pet coming into contact with a piece of broken glass in their habitat.
  • A puncture is a deep wound that occurs from something that is sharp and pointed. These often don’t bleed much and can appear very minor on the surface of the skin, but can extend deep into the underlying tissues. These can occur from bites from a predator type animal.

A crushing wound can occur when an object falls on to the pet causing an injury. This can occur simply by an object in the habitat falling on to the pet or the pet being stepped on. Depending on the size of the pet, this can be fatal.

Wounds should be rinsed off with clean, sterile water to help remove any debris that may be present. Once this is done, you can apply a clean gauze to help stop any bleeding and to keep the wound clean until you can have you pet evaluated by a veterinarian.

Wounds in animals come in different types and severity. They happen for variety reasons and can be considered minor to severe in nature.
Most pet wounds are general and can be considered a basic first-aid situation, while other wounds are considered traumatic, and are considered an emergency situation. In order for a pet owner to understand what to do with a wound, they must first understand what kind of wound their animal has sustained. It is important to also understand the healing process of wounds, and what the treatment options are.

Something to keep in mind is that some injuries can cause internal bleeding.  Look out for the signs of internal bleeding, which include: blood in urine, bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum, and pale gums.

Classifications of wounds:

  • Clean wound- a wound made under sterile conditions where there
    are no organisms present in the wound and the wound is likely to
    heal without complications.
  • Contaminated wound- the wound is a result of accidental
    injury where there are pathogenic organisms and foreign bodies in
    the wound.
  • Infected wound- the wound has pathogenic organisms
    present and multiplying showing clinical signs of infection, where it
    looks yellow, oozing pus, having pain and redness.
  • Colonized wound- the wound is a chronic one and there are
    a number of organisms present and very difficult to heal.

Fractured bones

Bone injuries occur when too much stress is applied to the skeleton. Fractures are described not only based on the name of the bone broken, the location, and on the characteristics of the break itself. There are four types of common fractures: closed, compound, green-stick, and epiphyseal.

  • A closed fracture means that the bone itself is fractured, but the surrounding tissues and skin around it are intact.
  • A compound fracture means that the bone is fractured and has punctured its way through the surround tissues and skin. The bone is visible and exposed.
  • Green-stick fractures are small cracks in the bone, but it is still intact.
  • Epiphyseal fractures are seen in young animals who are still growing and have soft areas near the end of each long bone where growth occurs. These areas are called growth plates or epiphyseal plates. When a broken bone is suspected, you want to get your pet placed into a carrier or container where their movement is limited is ideal and have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Bleeding can occur from any type of wound. Since most of our exotic pets tend to be small, it is of the utmost importance that the bleeding is stopped as soon as possible. To stop bleeding you want to apply gentle, but firm pressure to the wound with clean dry gauze. If the blood continues to seep through the gauze, you want to apply more dry gauze on top of the original gauze. If the bleeding has not stopped in five minutes, you will want to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. You can also use a styptic powder or stick to stop minor bleeding. If styptic powder is not available, household flour or corn starch can be used.

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