This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
Cuts, tears, and bites, unless they are very extensive, and there-fore likely to occupy a long time in healing, are better left to themselves, the dog's tongue being the best healing remedy. But when a V-shaped flap is torn down, or a very long and straight cut or tear is accidentally made, a few stitches should be put in with a proper curved needle, armed with strong thread or silk. It is only necessary to introduce the needle in two places on exactly opposite sides, and then, an assistant drawing the skin together, the ends are tied in a common knot, and cut off closely. When, however, this plan is adopted, a muzzle must be worn as long as the stitches are kept in, because the dog never rests satisfied until he has licked the knots open, or in some way with his teeth and tongue has got rid of them. Wounds in the dog do not heal "by the first intention," that is, in three or four days, as in man, but fill up by what is called granulation. Of course, in long wounds, more than one stitch is required, but, as perfect union can never be effected by adhesion, the attempt to bring the edges carefully together is a failure; and, provided that anything like an approach to this is effected, all is done which can be desired by a few stitches at short distances.
A bandage may be added afterwards and kept on for three days, after which it must be changed daily, the muzzle still being kept on. When the red granulations rise above the level of the skin called then "proud flesh" a piece of bluestone should be rubbed on them daily, or often enough to keep them down to the proper level. When below the level of the skin, they never require caustic of any kind.
In any cuts about the legs or feet, the parte may be protected by collodion painted on rapidly with a camels-hair brush, and allowed to dry; but a very little friction removes it. Canada balsam, spread on white leather and warmed, will keep its place well enough to bear the rubs of a course in the greyhound, and is, I believe, the best application. A leathern boot may be made to fit the pointer's or setter's foot, or, indeed, that of any dog which requires protection, during work.
Fractures may recur in any of the bones of the dog, but except-Ing in the legs or ribs, little relief can be afforded by art. They are detected by the deformity which is seen in the part, an angle being presented in the interval between two joints, when occurring in the limb, and a crepitus or crackling being heard and felt on handling the part. When the ribs have been broken, the injury is easily detected by the depression which is felt, and the grating sound often produced in breathing. In this case a flannel bandage may be bound tightly round the chest The dog, after being bled, should be kept quiet, and fed on low diet. A horse-girth passed twice or thrice round and buckled answers the purpose pretty well, but is not equal to a well-applied bandage. Fractures of the limbs may be set by extending the broken ends, and then carefully applying wooden or gutta percha splints lined with two or three thicknesses of coarse flannel.
Dislocations occur in the shoulder and elbow very rarely; in the knee and toes frequently; in the hp very often; in the stifle occasionally, and in the hock very seldom, except in connection with fracture. In all cases, they are detected by the deformity occurring in any of these joints, which is not capable of restoration by gentle handling, and is not accompanied by the crepitus, which marks the fracture. To reduce a dislocation, two persons must lay firm hold of the two parts of the limb on each side of the injured joint, and then extending them strongly, the head of the bone in slight and recent cases will be felt slipping into the socket Chloroform should be given during the operation, if the attempt is not immediately successful when made directly after the accident, inasmuch as it relaxes the muscles in a remarkable manner, and enables the operator to proceed without being opposed by the struggles of the dog. Dislocated toes are sometimes reduced directly after the accident occurs, but they are very apt to return to their deformed condition immediately, and a small splint should be bound on at once. In dislocations of the knee, also, a bandage should be applied, so as to keep the joint slightly bent, and prevent the foot from being put to the ground.
The operations likely to be practised on the dog are somewhat numerous, but the only ones fit to be attempted by any but the professed veterinarian are bleeding, the insertion of a seton, and the closing of wounds by the ligature*