are two types of bleeding Venous (oozing dark red blood) and Arterial
(spurting bright red blood). You may often see both in the same wound
or have to treat for both at the same time. Arterial bleeding is the
most important to stop first, as the heart pumps the blood spurts
out of the wound and death can come quickly due to blood loss.
are basically three ways to control bleeding, styptic pencil or powder
for very minor venous bleeding, pressure bandage for more serious
venous bleeding and tourniquet for arterial bleeding. (pressure bandages
will need to be used if the wound is in a location that a tourniquet
cannot be used on).
pencil or powder
the bleeding is mild and not deep (as in a puncture), liking clipping
a toe nail a little close. Styptic pencil or powder can be applied
to control the bleeding, it is applied to the wound topically. In
a pinch we have used baking soda or corn starch, these approaches
are not sterile so should be used with caution. It is always important
to read the label on the styptic, as some forms are also non-sterile.
wounds may be more serious and require pressure or bandaging to stop
the bleeding. Take several pieces of clean or sterile gauze and apply
it to the wound firmly bandaging it into place. (see companion article
this issue on bandaging) Be sure to check below the wound (if extremity)
for swelling, if swelling occurs, the bandage will need to be removed
clean or sterile cloth or gauze apply it to the wound and apply pressure
with hand until bleeding stops, help arrives or you can get to help.
temporary way to control arterial bleeding is by pressing down on
the arteries located in the armpits or groin until an assistant can
apply bandaging or tourniquet. (you can locate the area by feeling
for the pulse)
tourniquet is placed above the wound. The tourniquet is used only
on extremities (legs or tail). Take a strip of cloth, rolled gauze
or heavy string/rope (caution must be used with string or rope as
it can cut through the skin if too thin), loop it around the extremity
above the wound (between the heart and wound). With a stick or something
straight, approximately 8-12 inches long, insert it into the loop.
Start twisting the stick so that the loop starts winding up below
the stick. As you tighten towards the skin, watch the bleeding, it
should begin to slow down and stop. Once it stops secure the stick
to the extremity so that no slack can occur. Seek Veterinary attention
ASAP! The tourniquet needs to be released every 20-30 min. for 2-3
min. to allow blood to return to the lower extremity.
you can see the severed end of the artery you might want to attempt
to grasp it with hemostats and attempt to tie it off with thread.
The end you wish to tie off is of course the spurting end. This should
really only be used in severe emergencies or by someone trained to
not use peroxide on a fresh wound, it will inhibit the control of
not wipe a fresh wound that has stopped bleeding (clotted) as you
might knock the clot off and bleeding will resume. (see companion
piece on Treating Skin Wounds this issue).
used. The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats by Rodale
Books & Cat Owners Home Veterinarian Handbook by Delbert G. Carlson,
D. V. M. & James M. Giffin, M. D.
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