TRAUMATIC wounds are a common presentation in small animal practice. Prolonged healing times of these injuries are expensive and distressing for the client and patient. The normal healing process is efficient and an understanding of the cellular physiology of the healing wound enables the surgeon to make objective decisions to manipulate the process to the patient's advantage; for example, performing a surgical reconstruction or skin graft may be less expensive in terms of dressings and time than allowing a wound to heal by second intention. Broadly, the aims of wound management are: a functional and cosmetic repair; relief of pain and distress to the animal; economic and time efficient procedures; and prompt decision making in the event of signs of delayed healing. This article covers some of the aspects of managing wounds in the early stages.
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