As your pooch moves through her golden years, you may notice calluses and sores on her elbows or hindquarters – or other bony points on her body with very little fur or fatty tissue to cushion her skin unforgiving surfaces, such as tile floors and cement patio, places where she likes to rest. These sores known as "bed sores" or pressure sores (decubital ulcers), develop on the skin from lying too long in the same position.
Bed sores develop where the skin over your dog's elbow, hip, or other bony body part meets the surface of the ground or floor, particularly when a dog spends great deals of time in the same position. Bedsores can begin as calluses – thickened areas of skin where the hair has been rubbed off – and they can also be hygromas – puffy, soft, fluid-filled pouches just under the skin's surface. Common spots for canine bed sores include the hocks, hips, elbows and the sides of the hind legs. These spots can turn into sores when they meet with force, trauma or friction, and often develop into weeping wounds that your pooch continuously licks.
The best way to manage bed sores is to keep them from recurring once you've discovered them and started treatment. Better yet, strive to prevent them altogether by providing your pup with a comfortable resting spot that has ample padding.To ward off pressure sores, put down soft blankets and pillows for your dog in her favorite resting spots, and if you notice that she tends to settle into a particular position or favors one side over the other, help her regularly shift her position.
Some breeds are more prone than others to developing pressure sores. Large dogs like Great Danes, mastiffs, Dobermans, Labrador retrievers and German shepherds are at risk, and so are short-haired dogs, including beagles and bulldogs. Dogs with slender builds, greyhounds, whippets, borzois and Afghan hounds are also more likely to develop pressure sores than dogs with more meat on their bones. Dogs in their golden years and injured pups who spend a great deal of time lying about during recovery are also at risk.
Pressure sores are easy to spot -- hairless patches of thick, gray or possibly reddish skin that can appear to have fluid-filled sacs just under the skin. If your dog licks the skin around a pressure sore, it may become raw and bleed. For pets with long hair or very thick coats, lift the fur to check for sores. To stave off infection in bedsores that have developed into open wounds, partner with your veterinarian to choose the best treatment.
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