Merck Manual

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Wound Management in Animals

By

Kevin P. Winkler

, DVM, Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners

Last full review/revision Jul 2019 | Content last modified Aug 2019

Wound healing is the restoration of the normal anatomic continuity to a disrupted area of tissue. An understanding of the normal process of wound healing is essential to make sound decisions in the management of wounds. Correctly using the principles of wound management helps avoid premature wound closure and its potential complications.

Wounds may be classified as clean, contaminated, or infected. Clean wounds are those created under aseptic conditions, eg, surgical incisions. The number of bacteria present can determine the difference between contaminated and infected wounds. As a guideline, >105 bacteria per gram of tissue is considered adequate to cause infection. The level of contamination, blood supply, and the cause of the wound all contribute to development of the necessary conditions for infection, and each case must be assessed individually.

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Test your knowledge

Wound Management
Veterinarians encounter many types of wounds, including incisions, lacerations, bites, burns, and degloving injuries. Although the management of these wounds can vary, the microscopic healing process occurs the same way with each type of wound. Which of the following is NOT typically considered a stage of wound healing?
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