Splint & Bandage Care
SPLINTS & BANDAGES
How does a splint differ from a bandage?
A splint incorporates some sort of hard or rigid material (metal, plastic, or wood ) within the bandage so that the area beneath the splint is immobilized. Splints may be straight or curved to the shape of the limb. After protecting the surface of the injured area with a dressing and some padding, your veterinarian will securely place the splint over the area to be protected and will apply more layers of bandage material. The thickness of the padding layer, and therefore the size of the splint, will depend on the location and type of injury.
How often does the bandage or splint need to be changed?
If the wound beneath the bandage is infected, the bandage will need to be changed as often as twice per day for the first few days, until the infection is under control.
Since the purpose of a splint is to help immobilize an injured body part, it is usually changed less frequently. In puppies that are growing rapidly, the splint may need to be changed weekly to allow it to be adjusted for proper fit. In adult dogs, a splint may be left in place for several weeks if there are no complications.
Your veterinarian will tell you how often the bandage or splint on your pet will need to be changed, depending on the specifics of your case.
How do I care for the bandage or splint?
General bandage and splint care includes keeping the bandage clean and dry, checking that the bandage does not slip or become too tight, and checking for any discharges or foul smell.
Check the bandage at least twice daily to ensure that it is clean and dry and that it is neither too tight nor too loose. If the toes are exposed below the bandage, check that they are free of discharges or bad smells, that they are neither hot nor cold, and that they have not become swollen or red. Any of these signs could indicate that the bandage is too tight or that the infection is spreading. For the same reasons, also check the area above the bandage to make sure that it is not swollen, red, chafed, or otherwise irritated. Finally, make sure that the bandage has not slipped up or down.
Do not allow your dog to lick or chew at the bandage. If your dog continues to bother the bandage, it may be necessary to use an Elizabethan collar to prevent access to it.