Bleeding

 

If the wound is rhythmically spurting blood, this may indicate a bleeding artery.  Arterial bleeding is more difficult to stop, bleeds more rapidly and causes a much greater loss of blood than bleeding of a vein.  Slower oozing of blood indicates bleeding of a vein, which is much easier to stop and less dangerous.

First Aid

 
1.    Wearing latex gloves, hold a piece of gauze, wash cloth or other clean material over the bleeding site and apply direct pressure.  If the material becomes soaked through, do not remove it (you may disturb a clot -- which is the body's attempt to stop bleeding) but apply another cloth over it.  Do this repeatedly if necessary.  Direct pressure is the safest way to stop bleeding until you can reach a veterinary hospital. 

 2.    If bleeding has not stopped and blood is spurting, in addition to direct pressure over the wound, hold the area just above the wound with your hand.  (You are attempting to close off the blood vessel to the areas.)  If the blood is flowing heavily but not spurting, hold the area just below where it is bleeding to close off the blood vessels. 

3.    If holding above or below the wound fails to stop the bleeding, apply a pressure bandage. 

 4.    If the limb does not appear to be broken, elevate the limb above the level of the heart, while continuing to apply direct pressure. 

 5.    If none of the above techniques works, resort to applying hand pressure to pressure points. 

Pressure Point Techniques

Pressure points are areas from which the blood vessel travel; if you apply hand pressure to them, the bleeding should stop.  

To use the pressure point technique, apply firm, even pressure to the appropriate pressure point:

When using pressure points to control bleeding, you must release pressure slightly for a few seconds, at least every ten minutes.  This helps prevent permanent damage. 

Avoid using the neck pressure point on any animal suspected of having a head injury, unless you feel the animal's life is in immediate danger.  Ensure you do not restrict breathing. 

Tourniquet Technique

Use only on limbs -- never place a tourniquet around the neck!  This technique can cause a lot of damage and should only be used as a last resort, for a life or death situation.  (For example, the animal has lost enough blood to lose consciousness). 

 
1.    Wrap a wide strip of cloth or gauze (about 2 inches) twice around the limb above the areas that is bleeding. 

 2.    Do not make a knot. 

 
3.    Tighten the gauze or cloth by wrapping each end of the cloth around a rigid object such as a stick. 

 4.    Turn the stick slowly and just enough to stop blood flow.  Write the time on a piece of tape on the tourniquet so you can keep track. 

 5.    Loosen the tie for several seconds at least every 10 minutes to help avoid permanent tissue damage. 

 6.    Be aware this animal may lose the limb due to the interrupted blood supply. 


Pressure points and tourniquets should be used only as a last resort to stop bleeding in a life and death situation, as persistent decreased blood flow to the area may cause severe damage.