Traumatic injury refers to physical injuries of sudden onset and severity which require immediate medical attention. Common causes of traumatic injury in pets include being hit by a car, getting into a fight, being attacked by another animal, and especially in the case of small dogs and kittens, being dropped or having an object dropped on them.

Diagnostics are performed to help determine the type of injuries caused by the trauma and the patient’s current state of stability. These can include radiographs, blood pressure monitoring, ECG (heart rhythm) monitoring, blood work, and a quick ultrasound scan called a TFAST/AFAST.

Initial treatment for traumatic injury can include IV fluids to stabilize blood pressure, control of bleeding, analgesics, antibiotics, and in the case of head trauma medications to control seizures or brain swelling.

Depending on the types of injuries sustained, further treatments are often needed after the patient is stabilized. Casts/splints are needed in the case of broken bones and surgical repair of open wounds is sometimes called for. Continued hospitalization and medications are often needed in cases of severe trauma, especially head trauma.

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